Catching a glimpse of the enchanting wildlife that calls Florida home is a magical feeling that carries a different sense of wonder than viewing animals at the zoo — even when they’re free-range. Thankfully, the Sunshine State has no shortage of coastline to explore, which gives us plenty of chances to view marine life. In Tarpon Springs, you can take a two-hour trip with Odyssey Cruises down the Anclote River into the Gulf of Mexico to view dolphins and other marine animals for just $15.99.
This interactive tour is full of history and natural wonder. You’ll learn all about the past of Tarpon Springs and the famous Sponge Docks from the captain, all while keeping an eye out for wild dolphins, manatee, sea turtles, and other local wildlife.
You can even sip on beer, wine, and margaritas offered onboard while you cruise past the restored historic Anclote Keys Light on Anclote Key. Guests are welcome to bring their own food, but no outside drinks or coolers.
As is to be expected when dealing with wild animals, no two tours are alike. While dolphins are the main attraction, there’s no telling what you may end up seeing.
Tours tend to sell out fast, so be sure to purchase your ticket in advance online.
If you’re worried about the boat ride itself being a little too wild, you can rest assured that the dual-hull design provides a very smooth ride. The Anclote River and the Intercoastal are very calm, and the tour hasn’t had any records of seasickness yet.
The tour sees wild dolphins 95% of the time, and since they are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the interaction is very respectful.
They do not touch, chase, or feed the dolphins or any other animals they encounter. They have however been known to rescue marine life that is in danger and in need of outside assistance.
The shelling trip does not include dolphin viewing, but guests have found incredible keepsakes on their hunts.
If you want to go dolphin viewing but also hunt for shells, they also offer a dolphin island adventure cruise for $18.99 which stops on Anclote Key to hunt for these beached beauties.
Whether you're wanting to wander where the wild dolphins are or hunt for sandy treasures, Odyssey Cruises offers the best of both worlds with their day cruise tours.
Dolphin Adventure Island Cruise
Price: $15.99 for the dolphin cruise, or $18.99 for the dolphin island cruise.
Address: 776 Dodecanese Blvd., Tarpon Springs, FL
Why You Need To Go: Admire dolphins, manatee, sea turtles, and other marine life as you cruise through the stunning Anclote River. Beautiful nature views on the cheap, and they even let you bring food onboard as well as offer cold adult beverages for purchase.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.