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Naples Pier is a great place to spot dolphins. Whether it be early morning or late night, there are always a ton of people waiting to spot a little piece of Florida wildlife. Lauren Kummer via Wochit

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If you're looking to experience some of the wonderful sights of dolphins, you've come to the right place.

Right in the Gulf of Mexico are pods of dolphins making their way up and down the coast daily. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the most common dolphin in Southwest Florida is the bottlenose dolphin, which can live up to 50 years.

The best time to spot dolphins is right around sunset, according to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

Many tourists come here in hopes of seeing one of the most captivating creatures of the ocean. Lucky for you, Southwest Florida offers many things to do like boat cruises, dolphin tours or even beaches that show off this beautiful animal. Make sure to check out the websites for each of these locations and activities to get more information and full descriptions.

Naples Pier

Naples Pier is a great place to spot dolphins. Whether it be early morning or late night, there are always a ton of people waiting to spot a little piece of Florida wildlife. Don't be afraid to ask questions to the many locals who hang out on the Pier. The Pier does get busy so make sure to get there early to get a good spot. The Pier also has a snack shack for you to purchase food and drinks. There are also restroom facilities and rinsing stations. (25 12th Ave S, Naples, FL, 34102 | 239-213-3062 | www.naplesgov.com)

Naples Princess Sunset Cruise


Naples Princess sunset cruises offer a tour through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico in Naples Bay. The tour consists of a narrated trip viewing the beautiful homes of Port Royal and Royal Harbor. While on the boat, there is an opportunity to possibly see a pod of dolphins swimming through the waves. The boat offers two cash bars and the option for dinner or hors d’oeuvres during the cruise. The duration of all cruises is two hours and gives you the opportunity to see the beautiful sunset while on the water. (550 Port O Call Way, Naples, FL, 34102 | 239-649-2275 | www.naplesprincesscruises.com)

Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

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Wiggins Pass is a beach that offers locals and tourists the ability to see dolphins while staying on land. According to a Yelp review, early morning is probably the best time to see dolphins while also getting the chance to see a beautiful sunrise. This beach is a state park that gives you the opportunity to see some beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico. The park is dog-friendly if you'd like to bring your pup but they must be leashed and they're not allowed on the beach. Lauren Kummer via Wochit


Wiggins Pass is a beach that offers locals and tourists the ability to see dolphins while staying on land. This beach is a state park that gives you the opportunity to see some beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico. The park is dog-friendly if you'd like to bring your pup but they must be leashed and they're not allowed on the beach. Wiggins Pass has picnic tables for people to use and restroom facilities for your convenience. (1135 Gulf Shore Dr., Naples, FL, 34108 | 239-597-6196 | www.floridastateparks.org)

Pure Florida

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Pure Florida offers a dolphin watching cruise right in the heart of Naples. This cruise leaves out of Tin City and takes you on a ride through the Naples Bay and Gordon River. Dolphins can survive in both saltwater and brackish water (mixture of saltwater and fresh water), so there is a good chance you’ll see them swim alongside the boat as you exit the bay. Lauren Kummer via Wochit


Pure Florida offers a dolphin watching cruise right in the heart of Naples. This cruise leaves out of Tin City and takes you on a ride through the Naples Bay and Gordon River. Dolphins can survive in both saltwater and brackish water (mixture of saltwater and fresh water), so there is a good chance you’ll see them swim alongside the boat as you exit the bay. Bottlenose dolphins are the most common type of dolphin that you will see during this trip. You may even see other kinds of Florida wildlife during the trip. (Tin City Shops, 1200 5th Ave S, Naples, FL, 34102 | 239-263-4949 | www.purenaples.com)

Naples Water Tours

Naples Water Tours offers many different kinds of dolphin cruises that gives you the chance to choose what is best for you, your family and your friends. This tour gives you the opportunity to get “up close and personal” with the wild dolphins around Naples. They offer cruises at different times during the day with a variety of time lengths to choose from. The boat takes you through a river full of mangroves, and then out into Gordon Bay to see Naples Bay and Port Royal. (1000 10th Avenue S, Naples, FL, 34102 | 239-263-8687 | www.napleswatertours.com)

Vanderbilt Beach

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Vanderbilt Beach is another beach that will allow you to see dolphins while relaxing in the sand. While sitting on the beach, you will see gorgeous views of the Gulf of Mexico. Lauren Kummer via Wochit


Vanderbilt Beach is another beach that will allow you to see dolphins while relaxing in the sand. While sitting on the beach, you will see gorgeous views of the Gulf of Mexico. There are also many opportunities to see them swimming through the water throughout the day and into the evening. Take a walk down the beach to see other Florida wildlife during your time there. Stay into the evening to see a beautiful sunset. (Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, FL, 34108 | 239-252-4000 | www.colliergov.net)

Keewaydin Island

Keewaydin Island is located in between Naples and Marco Island. You have to take a boat to get there, so whether you rent one or purchase a ticket for the Keewaydin Express, you'll be guaranteed to see some dolphins along the way. This island is in a secluded area so renting a boat is a nice way to spend a day on the water with your friends and family. There aren't any facilities on the island but there are many food and drink stands for your convenience. (Keewaydin Island, Naples, FL | 239-530-5940 | www.rookerybay.org)

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The Dolphin Explorer

The Dolphin Explorer gives tourists and locals the opportunity to get up close to a dolphin. The catamaran offers an open concept for its passengers with both sunny and shaded seating. You'll be sure to get some good pictures with the open concept around the entire boat. The captain is a Master Naturalist and wildlife photographer so it should be easy for you to get some great pictures of the dolphins. The layout of the boat helps to attract the dolphins so that they swim alongside the waves of the boat. (Marco River Marina, 951 Bald Eagle Dr., Marco Island, FL, 34145 | 239-642-6899 | www.dolphin-study.com)

Estero Bay Express

The Estero Bay Express is a 40 foot boat that brings its passengers through the beautiful waters of Estero Bay. This express is located close to Fort Myers Beach and has daily tours for customers to enjoy. The Estero Bay Express offers a narrated tour of the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve on Fort Myers Beach. With the knowledge of the captain you'll be sure to see some other Florida wildlife other than the dolphins swimming through the waters next to the boat. (Fish Tale Marina, 7225 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, FL, 33931 | 239-463-3600 | www.esterobayexpress.com)

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Sweet Liberty Catamaran

Sweet Liberty Catamaran is the largest and longest running catamaran tour in Southwest Florida. Although not guaranteed, you're likely to see an afternoon dolphin show while aboard the boat. The captain will narrate your way through the waters of some of the expensive Naples neighborhoods and give you the opportunity to relax aboard the boat. Sweet Liberty offers many different cruises so head to their website for a full description of each cruise. (Crayton Cove, 880 12th Ave South, Naples, FL, 34102 | 239-793-3525 | www.sweetliberty.com)

Where are some of your favorite places to see dolphins around Southwest Florida? We would love for you to share pictures and videos with us from your experiences. You can share them directly to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/naplesnews.

  • Dolphins at the Naples Pier
    Dolphins at the Naples Pier
  • Dolphins at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
    Dolphins at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
  • Dolphins at Vanderbilt Beach
    Dolphins at Vanderbilt Beach
  • Dolphins Tours with Pure Florida
    Dolphins Tours with Pure Florida
  • Naples man swims with pod of dolphins in the Gulf
    Naples man swims with pod of dolphins in the Gulf
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