St Petersburg, Florida is not only famous for its beautiful beaches and sunshine, but it is also a popular spot for wildlife enthusiasts, particularly those who love to watch whales. If you are planning a trip to St Petersburg and want to experience the thrill of watching these majestic creatures up close, then you’re in luck because we have put together a list of the best whale watching spots in the area. Get ready to be amazed by these gentle giants as we explore the best ways to watch whales in St Petersburg.
The 3 Best Whale Watching in St Petersburg
The 3 Best Whale Watching in St Petersburg
1. Dolphin Cruise to Shell Key
Look for dolphins while cruising around Boca Ciega Bay in St. Pete Beach in the Tampa Bay Area. Enjoy a cruise into the Gulf of Mexico and explore Shell Key, a wildlife preserve. You can swim, snorkel, or collect shells on the beach while spotting dolphins, manatees, rays, and a variety of seabirds, depending on the season. This family-friendly tour offers both late morning and afternoon departures, and includes bottled water and snorkeling equipment. The meeting point is at the Tierra Verde Marina Resort, and parking is available. Food and gratuities are not included in the tour package. Join us for a memorable experience!
2. Egmont Key Tour
The Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge is a serene secluded island in Tampa Bay that offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of St. Pete’s Beaches. With this half-day tour, you can hop on a sailboat and make your way to the island for a relaxing day out. Wander miles of white sand beaches, explore the Fort Dade ruins and historic lighthouse, and keep your eye out for dolphin sightings while boating. Snorkeling equipment is included, so you can take a closer look at the marine life. Don’t forget to bring your own food and drink for a quiet island lunch. The tour ends back at the meeting point at 400 2nd Ave NE. Confirmation will be received at the time of booking. The tour is not wheelchair accessible but is near public transportation. Come sail under the stunning Sunshine Skyway Bridge and discover the beauty of Egmont Key.
3. Dolphin Watching Nature Cruise and Eco Tour
Embark on an unforgettable dolphin watching and eco tour in St. Petersburg. Departing from Hubbard’s Marina at John’s Pass, this activity includes a check-in and boarding process that starts 30-45 minutes in advance. During the tour, you can expect to see playful dolphins in their natural habitat. Additionally, the tour includes restrooms, snacks, and the availability of gratuities. Parking fees are also covered, but note that the tour is not wheelchair accessible. Most travelers can participate and the maximum capacity for this tour is 76 people. The tour ends back at the meeting point at 170 Boardwalk Pl E Madeira Beach. Cancellations can be made 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
The Ultimate Guide to Whale Watching in St Petersburg, Florida: FAQs
If you’re planning a visit to St Petersburg, Florida, whale watching is definitely a must-try activity. The city’s location on the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay provides a perfect opportunity to see these majestic creatures up close.With that said, here are some frequently asked questions about whale watching in St Petersburg, Florida:
What species of whales can be seen in St Petersburg, Florida?
The most common whale species found in St Petersburg are humpback whales, minke whales, and pilot whales. However, there are also chances of seeing other species such as fin whales, sperm whales, and even killer whales in rare instances.
When is the best time for whale watching in St Petersburg?
Whale watching in St Petersburg is available year-round, but the best time to spot these magnificent creatures is from November to April, when they migrate to warmer waters for breeding and calving. During these months, you’re more likely to find humpback whales in the area.
What types of boat tours are available for whale watching in St Petersburg?
There are various types of boat tours that you can take for whale watching in St Petersburg, ranging from private charters to group excursions. Some of the most popular options include:
- Dolphin and whale watching tours
- Private boat charters
- Sunset whale watching trips
- Fishing and whale watching combo tours
How long does a whale watching tour last?
Whale watching tours in St Petersburg usually last between 2-4 hours, depending on the tour package that you choose. However, private charters can also be arranged for longer durations.
What should I wear for a whale watching tour?
It’s recommended that you wear comfortable clothing and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. Since whale watching tours are usually on the water, it can get windy and chilly, so it’s best to bring a jacket or sweater.
Do I need to bring my own binoculars?
Most whale watching tour operators in St Petersburg provide binoculars for guests to use. However, if you have your own binoculars, it’s always a good idea to bring them along.
What if I get seasick?
If you’re prone to seasickness, it’s best to take precautions before going on a whale watching tour. Some suggested remedies include taking motion sickness medication prior to the tour, avoiding heavy or greasy meals beforehand, and sitting or standing near the center of the boat where there is the least amount of movement.
What else can I expect to see during a whale watching tour in St Petersburg?
Aside from whales, there are plenty of other marine animals that you can spot during a whale watching tour in St Petersburg. Dolphins, sea turtles, manatees, and various species of birds are just a few examples.
What happens if we don’t see any whales?
While it’s rare to not see any whales during a whale watching tour in St Petersburg, some tour operators offer a “whale sighting guarantee” or will give you a complimentary tour if you don’t see any whales on your first trip.
How close can we get to the whales?
There are strict guidelines set by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on how close boats can get to whales. In general, boats must keep a minimum of 100 yards (300 feet) away from humpback whales and 50 yards (150 feet) away from other whale species. This is to protect both the whales and the passengers on the boat.
Do I need to make a reservation ahead of time?
Yes, it’s highly recommended to make a reservation ahead of time for a whale watching tour in St Petersburg. Tour operators can fill up quickly, especially during peak season, and making a reservation ensures that you have a spot secured for your desired date and time.In conclusion, whale watching in St Petersburg, Florida is an exciting and memorable experience that you won’t want to miss. By considering these frequently asked questions, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and how to prepare for your next whale watching adventure.
How to do Whale Watching in St Petersburg: A Detailed Guide
There are few experiences like whale watching in St. Petersburg. With its stunning waters and beautiful coastline, seeing these majestic creatures up close is an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned whale watcher or a first-time adventurer, St. Petersburg has something to offer. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan a successful trip.
Step 1: Choose Your Tour Company
The first step is finding a reputable company that offers whale watching tours in St. Petersburg. Some of the most popular and reputable companies include Dolphin Landings Charter Boat Center, Tampa Bay Fun Boat, and Suncoast Watersports.
Be sure to do your research and read reviews to find a company that fits your needs and budget. Some companies offer tours that are shorter or longer, while others specialize in different areas or have different prices. Researching ahead of time can ensure that you book the right tour for you.
Step 2: Plan Your Trip
Once you’ve chosen your tour company, it’s time to plan your trip. This includes deciding when to go and what to bring.
Whale watching season varies depending on the time of year. Typically, the best time to go is from December through April, as this is when the migratory pattern of whales brings them to the Gulf of Mexico. During these months, tours are abundant, and the chances of seeing whales are high.
It’s important to bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as sunscreen and a hat. Additionally, be sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, as you may be on the water for several hours.
Step 3: Follow Safety Guidelines
Before boarding your whale watching tour, be sure to follow all safety guidelines set forth by the tour company. This may include wearing a life jacket, remaining seated while on the boat, and avoiding leaning over the rails.
Whale watching, while awe-inspiring, can also be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. By following the guidelines set by your tour company, you can ensure a safe and memorable experience.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Adventure
Once on the boat, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the experience. Depending on the tour you chose, you may travel a few miles offshore or out to the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
As you scan the horizon, keep your eyes peeled for spouts of water or tails breaching the water’s surface. While there is no guarantee you will see whales, your chances are greatly increased during prime whale watching season.
Many tours also offer guided narration, teaching you about the different species of whales you may see, as well as their habits and habitats. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn from the knowledgeable experts on board.
Step 5: Photograph Your Experience
Finally, be sure to capture your experience with photographs! Most tours allow you to bring cameras or smartphones aboard, offering some amazing photo opportunities.
When taking photographs, be respectful of the whales’ space and understand that getting too close can be dangerous for both you and the animals. Always listen to your tour guide’s instructions regarding photography and whale watching etiquette.
Book Your Tour Now
Whale watching in St. Petersburg is a mind-blowing experience that you’ll never forget. By choosing a reputable company, planning your trip, following safety guidelines, enjoying your adventure, and taking photographs, you can ensure a successful and safe experience.
Remember, be respectful of the whales and their environment, and always listen to your tour guide’s instructions. Have fun and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
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