Have you ever heard of bioluminescent kayaking?
Have you ever wanted to do this?
Is Florida a good place to try it out?
If you’re thinking of trying bioluminescent boating Florida is a good place to get started. There are two types of bioluminescence present on the Space Coast of Florida, which is located on the eastern Atlantic coast of the state.
One of these types is caused by dinoflagellates, which are glowing plankton. The other is caused by comb jellies, which are jelly-like (but are not jellyfish) and also glow. These two different types of glows happen at different types of the year, and you may see one or the other—or both—depending on when you plan your visit.
In this article, we’ll give you all the basic information you need to know in order to plan a bioluminescent kayaking trip in Florida. If you’ve never done this activity before, you’ll need to ensure you’re well educated and informed about the experience before you plan your trip.
And even if you are an experienced kayaker, understand that this is a touring type of experience and not one that’s intended for thrills. If you’re looking for rapids, you may need to look elsewhere. However, if you’re in search of an experience you and your friends or family won’t soon forget, bioluminescent boating may be the way to go.
Check out the information below to learn more about this opportunity!
All About Florida Bioluminescence Kayaking
Check out this section to learn some of the basics and help you better understand how to book your bioluminescent boating tour the next time you visit the coast of Florida.
WHERE can you experience the glowing waters in Florida?
- Bioluminescent tours take place on Florida’s Space Coast. This is only about an hour drive from Orlando, so it’s not too difficult to reach if you’re visiting Florida for vacation.
- Titusville is one of the prime locations for this type of tour, and Cocoa Beach is another prominent option. Both of these areas tend to focus on the Indian River Lagoon, which is an excellent viewing location for comb jellies and for dinoflagellate plankton.
- Some kayaking companies offer glow-in-the-dark watercrafts for guests to enjoy at times of the year or in locations where natural bioluminescence may not be present.
WHEN is the best time of year to plan your bioluminescent boating trip?
- If you want to see the dinoflagellate plankton, you should plan your trip during late summer or very early autumn. June through October is the best time of year for this trip.
- On the other hand, if you want to see the glowing comb jellies, you should plan your trip from November through May. The cooler waters during this time of the year invite comb jellies closer to the surface and make it easier for guests to see them.
- The light of a full moon makes it harder to see the glow, so a darker night is ideal.
What are some of the companies that provide Florida bioluminescence watercraft tours?
- BK Adventure: This is the most well-known bioluminescence touring companies in Florida. This company provides tours on the Space Coast year-round.
- Get Up and Go Kayaking: Located in Titusville and in Fort Pierce, this company only offers official bioluminescent tours during the summer. However, you can rent a clear glow-in-the-dark boat fitted with LED lights for a nighttime tour in Fort Pierce. Sometimes, comb jellies are visible here.
- A Day Away Paddlecraft Tours: This company provides 90-minute tours in Titusville and Merritt Island. Comb jelly tours are available in the winter months and dinoflagellate tours are available in the summer months.
Is it possible to take the bioluminescence boating tour without a guide?
- It is possible to rent a watercraft from some of the companies listed above and take it out on your own for an unguided trip. However, paddlers must be experienced before doing this, and most companies require a group of at least four before taking a self-guided tour.
- Some companies will not allow this type of tour experience at all, as it can be dangerous for the paddler as well as for the environment. If you’re new to kayaking or new to bioluminescent boating, you are better off working with a guide who can help you find the best viewing locations.
Why do people enjoy the glowing bioluminescent water kayaking experience in Florida?
- There are many reasons to try boating in bioluminescent areas. One of the most popular reasons is simply to see a sight that you may not get to see anywhere else. Florida is one of the only locations in the United States where this type of kayaking experience is possible, and there aren’t even that many in the world.
- This can also be an educational experience for parents who bring children along for the trip.
- Finally, since tours are usually guided, you’re likely to see at least a little bit of glowing on most trips.
- Florida is a great place to visit for vacation at any time of the year, and since at least one type of glowing tour is usually available year-round, you can’t go wrong with booking a trip like this.
- These trips are family-friendly and encourage beginners to join them while learning a little bit about the process of boating at the same time.
- These are safe, guided trips that are easy for everyone to sit back and enjoy.
- These tours are usually affordable and located in tourist-friendly locations where you can often find deals on lodging, food, and more.
- It’s not always a certainty that you’ll see any glow on a given night, and it’s entirely up to the weather conditions, temperature, and water conditions too.
- Florida is prone to lots of lightning, which can be very severe. If there’s a lot of lightning in the area, tours will be postponed or canceled altogether for safety purposes.
- If you plan to go for dinoflagellate plankton tours from June through October, bear in mind that this is also hurricane season, and there may be extreme weather conditions during your trip.
Experience Bioluminescent Kayaking in Florida Today
Now that you’ve learned the basics, you may want to know a little bit more about what to expect. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your Florida boating excursion:
- Visit during peak season if you can. At least one type of bioluminescence should be visible year-round, but it may not be nearly as impressive at certain times of the year as others.
- Book a clear or see-through boat. Going on one of these tours without a clear paddlecraft won’t give you the same stunning visuals you’re looking for.
- Bring extra clothes and bug spray. You may get wet and need to change after your tour, and you will definitely encounter bugs—even during winter.
- Always practice proper gator safety. Do not purposefully get close to alligators, and don’t trap or corner them. Never feed alligators.
Keep these tips in mind to make your trip even more memorable, safe, and fun!
5 Tips to Enjoy Bioluminescence in Florida
- Visit the Indian River Lagoon, which is home to some of the brightest bioluminescent displays in Florida.
- Go on a night kayaking tour. This is one of the best ways to experience bioluminescence up close and personal.
- Look for bioluminescent organisms during the day. Some species are easier to spot during daylight hours.
- Be sure to bring a camera with you! Capturing photos of bioluminescence can be tricky, but it's worth it for the amazing shots you'll get.
- Check out local events and festivals that celebrate bioluminescence. These are great opportunities to learn more about this natural phenomenon.
ALSO: Visit a nearby beach at night and look for glowing plankton in the waves!