Dolphin and whale watching tours in Siesta Key are an exciting and family fun activity full of photo opportunities. There are a number of local companies that offer dolphin and whale watching boat tours, and you also have a good chance of seeing them when participating in a number of other family friendly watersports like jet skiing, fishing or kayaking.
The whale and dolphin watching boat tours are the best way to guarantee that you’ll get to see dolphins or manatees, as the tour captains know the best areas where dolphins congregate and how to draw them to the boat. There are also guided jet ski and kayaking tours for dolphin and whale watching if you’re looking for other things to do, and many tours can be customized based on what type of family fun adventure you would like to go on. A detailed list of local tour providers can be found at the end of this article.
Best time of year to see manatees in Sarasota
The best time of year to see manatees in Siesta Key is during the winter and early spring when this fascinating marine mammal is spotted in the largest numbers in Sarasota. Manatees move to warmer water in Sarasota as a result of the winter temperature drop and can be spotted in shallow, slow-moving estuaries, bays and coastal ecosystems.
So, if you book any of the local manatee tours mentioned above during the winter or early spring, you’ll have an excellent chance of spotting one. Some of the kayak tours can be an excellent way to view them up close without disturbing them in what is sure to be a fascinating experience.
If you visit during other times of the year, a sure bet to see one is to head over to Mote Marine Aquarium at 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236 where you can see one of the local star resident manatees like Buffett or Hugh. Mote Marine Aquarium is an important rehabilitation center for these endangered animals and also hosts over 100 other species of incredible marine life.
Best time of year to see dolphins in Sarasota
No matter what time of year you visit Siesta Key, you have an excellent chance of seeing playful, highly intelligent and friendly bottlenose dolphins, as they frequent the bays and shallow warm waters near the coastline. This is true for much of the state of Florida; dolphins can be found throughout most of the coastline.
In the early morning they can sometimes be spotted in greater numbers while they are feeding. Because of the frequency of dolphin sightings in the waters around Siesta Key, many tour providers are confident enough to guarantee a dolphin sighting.
Why Book an Eco-Tour?
See Local Widlife Up Close
While on your dolphin watching tour you’ll have a good chance of seeing a wide range of other animals including manatees, seagulls, pelicans, osprey, eagles, sharks, sting rays, and several species of fish. The crystal clear waters around Siesta Key are perfect for ocean wildlife viewing, and if there are any dolphins or manatees in the nearby water you will be sure to spot them.
Get an Education
The Siesta Key area and Sarasota Bay is one of the top locations for dolphin research in the world because of the large local population of dolphins. The guided tours will also offer you an education about dolphins and other local species, and the efforts that are currently being made to protect them. Some tours will even feature marine biologists and other specialists who will be available to answer your questions about marine mammals. You will also find the captains on your tour to be very knowledgeable about the local marine wildlife.
Great Vacation Photo Opportunities
Dolphins are certainly playful creatures, and when they are nearby you’ll see them jumping in and out of the water and frolicking around. If you are lucky you might catch a mother with her pup. It is great family fun as children love seeing the dolphins play about. Be sure to bring your camera on the tour to take plenty of photos to remember your adventure! Your captain can also let you know when you might expect to see dolphins or other wildlife so that you can be ready for photos.
Don’t forget about our famous sunsets! Siesta Key has some of the most beautiful sunsets anywhere with a breathtaking array of colors including blues, greens, oranges, golds, pinks, reds, and blues as well as regular clear skies. If you’re looking for some truly incredible photos, consider booking a sunset dolphin watching tour.
These tours allow you to capture the beauty of Siesta Key sunsets while capturing some great photos of dolphins and other local wildlife. Beer or wine is also allowed on many of these tours; you can usually bring your own or purchase it from the tour company. It’s the perfect idea for a relaxing evening while you are with your loved ones or family.
Local Cruise Providers
If you’re interested in checking out these incredible adventure opportunities, start by reviewing our dolphin tour and sunset cruise partners on our Adventure Tiki page. You’ll find information on more than just eco-tours, but local companies to rent paddleboards, book fishing expeditions and so much more.
Here is an additional list of great Siesta Key boat charter providers.
Siesta Key Watersports
Address: 1536 Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota, FL 34231
Phone: (941) 921-3030
Siesta Key Watersports features a highly popular dolphin tour through the waters around Siesta Key and into Lido Key. The captain takes guests to crystal clear waters to spot dolphin pods around Sarasota in some of the highest population locations. Other types of wildlife that can be seen on these tours include stingrays, manatees (especially during the winter), eagle rays, pelicans, osprey, eagles, and more.
Siesta Key Marina
Address: 1265 Old Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242
The Siesta Key Marina offers its own series of tours including sea life, dolphin, and sunset tours on a custom built 50 passenger boat. The boat is designed to navigate the local waters directly around Siesta Key, making it a convenient option for those staying in our resort rentals. Dolphin tours are a two hour tour of the surrounding waters in order to spot them. Coolers with ice are provided and beverages and snacks can be purchased. Sunset dolphin tours are available as well, and a variety of other wildlife can be seen on these tours, from manatees, to shorebirds, rays and more.
Le Barge Tropical Cruises
Address: 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 366-6116
Le Barge Tropical Cruises has been operating in Sarasota for over 30 years and offers an array of tours including a Dolphin and Manatee Watch Cruise which is two hours in length. A Mote Marine Aquarium trained biologist acts as a narrator and educator on the tour during which guests learn about the hunting behavior, social hierarchy and physical adaptions of dolphins. If you want certainty – this tour provider also guarantees a dolphin or manatee sighting or the tour is free!
Key Life Charters
USCG licensed Master-Captain Mike does his best to ensure your entire group has a fun day on the open sea at Key Life Charters. Choose from several tour options including sightseeing, wildlife viewing and dolphin watching. Snacks, ice, water and gear are included in the price of each charter tour, and there are stops made along the water for delicious local food at waterfront restaurants if you so desire. 2 hour to full day/8 hour tours are available, virtually guaranteeing a dolphin sighting.
Kokomo Charters offers private, captained charters on the latest luxury Sea Ray boats with dolphin, sightseeing, sunset, sunrise and other charters. You can choose your preferred boat, and a variety of pricing options are available. Service is provided from Siesta Key to Longboat Key, Venice, FL, Sarasota and Lido Key. You can customize your dolphin tour experience to a large extent here, and it’s worth a call to compare pricing and features.
Where to Stay on a Siesta Key Vacation
To ask any questions about dolphin or manatee watching in Siesta Key or to book lodging for your next trip here, contact Tropical Breeze Resort now at (941)-349-1125.