Sanibel Island and Fort Myers offer visitors some of the most amazing up close and personal wildlife watching opportunities in the continental United States. When you are planning a Florida boating trip, there are many opportunities to see wildlife you can’t find anywhere else. Follow our tips to find some of Florida’s most fascinating creatures on your Southwest Florida boating trip.
Search for Florida Manatees
Look for this ultimate Florida sea creature when you come to Florida: The Florida manatee. It’s a rite of passage to spot one on a Florida vacation. Known as the Sunshine State’s giant sea cow, these gentle giants are herbivorous animals with tiny flippers that search for food in shallow plant beds.
Stay clear from them in your boats and watch them rise to the surface for a breath of air before heading under water again to look for food or some sleep. Read our manatee guide to learn more about this fascinating Florida creature.
Find Some Sand Dollars
Before you chastise us for recommending shelling in a blog about finding wildlife, remember that many sand dollars and starfish are very much alive when you find them in the Gulf of Mexico. Searching for the elusive sand dollar and starfish during a shelling excursion with the kids is fun and a great educational opportunity for you and your family.
Keep an Eye Out for Dolphins
You can be enjoying a sunset cruise or in the middle of a fishing trip when you will see a dolphin, then two, or more jump out of the water to surprise you. Enjoy your dolphin moments because they will happen when you least expect them. Dolphins are likely to jump in the wake next to moving boats and can also be seen in the distance while you are walking along the shoreline.
Use these Sanibel Island kayaking spots and tips to catch glimpses of dolphins from the water.
Find Birds at a Wildlife Refuge
Even on a Florida boating trip, you will find birds flying overhead near the shoreline that you can enjoy and observe.
Once back on the mainland, take a wildlife drive at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge to spot hundreds of species of birds that visit beautiful Southwest Florida throughout the year. Read our guide for the best bird watching spots on Sanibel Island.
Florida is home to a large alligator population both in the water and on dry land. On Florida boating trips, you are most likely to spot the heads of alligators or gators basking in the sun on tree logs or brush in The Intracoastal Waterway.
On dry land, you can spot alligators lounging in the sun on the banks at The Bailey Tract. Be on the lookout for snakes, lizards, frogs, tadpoles and other amphibians too.
Sharing the Water with Sharks
If you’re planning a Florida boating trip, you’re likely to see a shark now and then in the Gulf of Mexico. Shark activity is at its peak in Florida from April through October because the water is warmer and there’s more fish available for feeding.
Stay safe by following these tips for sharing the water with sharks.
Schedule a Florida Boating Charter Excursion
When you go saltwater fishing in Southwest Florida, the types of saltwater fish you can find in the Gulf of Mexico are too many to count. The best way to explore the fishing opportunities available to you is to book a fishing charter through Port Sanibel Marina. Bill Hammond of Endless Summer Charters is prepared to take you and your friends on an unforgettable fishing experience.
Read our guide to the ultimate Southwest Florida charter boat fishing experience to learn more. This is also the time of year to do some tarpon fishing.
Rent a Boat
When you are searching for a Florida boating experience to view all the wildlife mentioned above, rent a boat at Port Sanibel Marina. We have fishing partners that will find you the perfect spot to find fish. We also have wildlife, shelling and sunset tours to make your Florida experience a great one. Give us a call today at (239) 437-1660 to schedule your watersport activities today.