Outdoor Adventures

Let's Go for a Dolphin-Watching Tour in Sarasota Bay

Bring the kids along for a thrilling, pirate-themed dolphin tour with Siesta Key Aqua Adventures.

By Allison Forsyth August 12, 2020

Image: Shutterstock

Sarasota Bay is home to many dolphins, and if you're wanting to spot some swimming and playing around, try a dolphin tour with Siesta Key Aqua Adventures. Among several tours to choose from, the most exciting and family-friendly is the tour to "Koko Island," a mysterious little island where kids can become pirates and embark on their own scavenger hunt. While your kids are having fun, you can enjoy a relaxing day on the water and spot some beautiful marine wildlife—and if you're lucky, a family of dolphins.


5253 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota


This two-hour tour departs at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Tours can be booked online, or you can call ahead if you don't see a time slot you prefer. Tour prices are listed on the website. Because you're on the water, the sea breeze will keep you from getting overheated, so any time of day on the water is the best time. Be sure to check the weather before heading out, though. Rainy season is still upon us.

What to Bring

Since you will be in the sun, be sure to bring sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. Wear clothes you have no problem getting wet, and water-friendly shoes. And if you're wanting to capture a dolphin-spotting moment, bring your phones and cameras along, but beware of potential splash zones.

What to Expect

Once you arrive at the boat, the captain and tour guide will give kids an explorer's map and a scavenger hunt checklist of things to look out for while on the water, along with an explanation of what you'll see and the stops you'll make. The journey begins with birdwatching along Philippi Creek, and then continues into the Intercostal Waterway to a secret dolphin-watching spot the tour calls "The Cove."

From there, you will cruise under historic Siesta Drive Bridge, where an abundance of wildlife can be found, from pelicans soaring overheard to fish jumping in the water below. Other destinations include Little Sarasota Bay and "Sea Urchin Island Sand bar," where kids will stop off to explore urchins, barnacles and crabs living below the water's surface.

Finally, you'll land at "Koko Island," a small island in the bay where passengers are able to hop off the boat and explore. This is the ultimate dolphin-viewing spot along the tour, and kids may find a pirate treasure surprise waiting for them.

To book a tour with Siesta Key Aqua Adventures, click here or call (941) 359-2782. 

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