Witnessing Florida’s wildlife in their natural habitat is an amazing experience, and with so many eco-friendly tours and hikes around, it’s easier than ever to get a glimpse of the Sunshine State’s wild side. Sea turtle season is generally from May to October, which means in a few more months we might even get the chance to watch them hatch — and these are some of the best Florida beach tours to catch these cuties on.
If you do happen to encounter nesting or hatching turtles, it’s important to remember that only trained and permitted volunteers are allowed to handle them and that onlookers should always retain a respectful distance and never try to touch 'em, no matter how cute.
Loggerhead Marine Life Center
Price: Hatchling Release $18, Guided Turtle Walks $20
Address: 14200 US-1, Juno Beach, FL
When: Hatchling Release Tours daily in August at 8 p.m., Guided Turtle Walks in June & July, Wednesday through Saturday at 9 p.m.
Why You Need To Go: The Loggerhead Marine Life Center offers both Turtle Walks and Hatchling Releases during the summer months. The Turtle Walk tour takes you through the center’s outdoor Sea Turtle Hospital to view their current patients, and out on the beach to witness a nesting female. The Hatchling Release brings guests to the beach to see the baby turtles being released into the ocean by LMC staff.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
Address: 9700 S Highway A1A, Vero Beach, FL
When: June and July, Friday through Tuesday 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Why You Need To Go: Park rangers from the Sebastian Inlet State Park conduct guided educational tours where you could catch a female loggerhead laying her eggs, concealing her nest, and making her way back to the ocean when she’s finished.
Florida Power and Light Company
When: June & July, Fridays & Saturdays
Address: Inwater Research Group Inc. 4160 NE Hyline Dr. Jensen Beach, FL
Why You Need To Go: While it might not be your first guess as a host of a turtle walk, the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant is committed to their role as an environmental steward. You can join them for turtle walks during the summer months. Tours are limited to 50 guests and require registration to attend.
Hobe Sound Nature Center
When: May through July, Thursdays & Fridays at 8 p.m.
Address: 13640 U.S. Highway One, Hobe Sound, FL
Why You Need To Go: This is one of the only tours that offer waitlists for turtle walks, so if you’re eager to claim a spot before the season starts, check this one out. Guests will first meet at the Nature Center and wait under a covered pavilion while staff locates turtles for you to walk to.
Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge
When: Select days in June & July, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Address: 3315 Highway A1A, Melbourne Beach, FL
Why You Need To Go: The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge offers both Turtle Walks and Turtle Digs. The Walks are led by a permitted guide and gives you the chance to see nesting loggerhead turtles. The Digs allow you to watch a live excavation of a nest that has been dug up to learn about survival rates. Occasionally, baby turtles will be found on the digs and released into the ocean.
Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale
Price: $21 with registration required.
When: Select dates in June & July.
Address: 401 SW Second Street Fort Lauderdale, FL
Why You Need To Go: Your moonlight discovery adventure begins at the museum with a presentation about turtles and continues on the beach where guides lead you to the nesting grounds. While there’s never a guarantee that you’ll encounter turtles, you're most likely to see them is during the summer months.
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.