While Tampa Bay’s most popular aquatic activity is fishing, we cannot forget about all of the other wonderful experiences awaiting you when you set sail on the open waters. From eco-tours that explore Florida’s naturally rich ecosystems, to dolphin and manatee tours, to Egmont Key and Beer Can Island, there is so much more to Tampa Bay that is waiting for you to experience.
Poseidon Charters offers fully customizable excursions that can take you on a journey through the mangroves, around the gorgeous coastline, and out into the open waters of the bay. The nature-enthusiast in your group will love taking an eco-tour of the area aboard our comfortable boats with our knowledgeable captains. You can expect to experience the beauty of Florida’s wildlife throughout the bay’s natural estuaries. Home to more than two dozen species of nesting herons, egrets, gulls, and more, these colonies are sure to amaze. Tampa Bay is also the proud home of the largest brown pelican rookeries in Florida.
For those in your party more interested in what’s to see in the water than in the air, the dolphin and manatee families of the bay are sure to impress. The dolphin population native to Tampa Bay and the surrounding area has been found to include members from four generations - some of the dolphins are over 50 years old! During the spring and summer, mother dolphins can be found with their calves in the shallow waters of the bay, feeding on pinfish, pigfish, and striped mullet. In the fall and winter, dolphins enjoy hanging out closer to the shoreline, making this time of year the most optimal for seeing these aquatic mammals in their natural habitat. Additionally, this time of year is great for experiencing the bay’s manatee population! These hefty herbivores spend most of the spring and summer lounging offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, but as soon as the days start getting shorter, they head into the bay to find warmer water in the springs and power plant outfalls. Be on the lookout for the tell-tale sign of a manatee - its whiskery snout breaks the surface for air in between bites of delicious seagrass.
When you are out and about on your excursion, you will not want to miss the opportunity to stop at Tampa’s Bay famous Egmont Key and Beer Can Island. Egmont Key is a secluded island just outside of the mouth of Tampa Bay. Home of Egmont Key State Park and National Wildlife Refuge, this island is accessible only by boat and features a lighthouse that was built in 1858. Egmont Key’s unique natural and cultural history began during the Third Seminole War. It was later occupied by the Union Navy during the Civil War and is the site of Fort Dade, which was built in 1898 in response to the threat of the Spanish-American War. This fort stayed active until approximately 1923. Today, you can find remnants of the fort walls scattered throughout the landscape and peeking up through the sand of the beaches. Egmont Key is a great place to explore and relax - take a stroll through its maintained walking trails and historic site markers or enjoy watching the wildlife while you stretch out on the beach or splash around in the shallow water.
Additionally, Pine Key (aka Beer Can Island, as it's known to the locals) is another great island to stop by during your cruise through the bay. This 11-acre island is a local attraction that features a tiki bar, tent camping sites, and even some fun water sports (coming soon). If you’re looking for a spot where our captain can pull the boat right up on the beach and turn up the music, Beer Can Island is a must-see!
Another notable attraction in Tampa Bay is taking a sunset cruise. Besides having some of the best sunsets on the gulf, the bay’s aquatic wildlife is also very active at dusk. Dolphins love to play and jump in the boat’s wake as the sunset reflects in brilliant oranges, yellows, and pinks on the water’s surface. Additionally, the Tampa Bay skyline and skyway bridge light up spectacturely at night. The bridge hosts over 1,800 colored LED lights across 1.7 miles of it’s brilliant architecture, making it a striking sight that can be seen for miles.
We are confident in saying that there is something for everyone to enjoy in Tampa Bay year round. From exploring the rich wildlife of our air, land, and seas, to taking in the gorgeous views of our skyline at sunset, we hope to see you out on the water with us soon.