These are just some of the boat tours on the Space Coast that navigate the Indian River Lagoon, the Banana River and the St. Johns River.
INDIAN RIVER QUEEN
90 Delannoy Ave.
Enjoy a trip on a paddle wheel sightseeing boat. Watching the large red wheel go around will seem like a time trip back to the days when paddle wheel boats were common in the 1800s and early 1900s. It features a lower, middle and upper deck and transports around 85 passengers at a time [more on private charters for special events]. Weekly public tour cruises and monthly dinner cruises or lunch cruises are available, as are private event charters.
485 N. Washington Ave.
Clear-bottomed kayaks, rafts or paddleboards allow sightseers to fully experience the trails, waves and sparkles of light created by tiny creatures that glow under the water’s surface. Bioluminescence, as it is called, is best experienced when the moon isn’t very bright. This will be a tour you’ll never forget.
499 Ramp Road
Wildlife galore is featured in this narrated motorized catamaran tour of the Banana River and the Thousand Islands Nature Preserve. Wraparound seating makes it easy to spot birds, dolphins and other marine creatures. There are two tours a day, each lasting two hours. Bring a camera.
CAMP HOLLY AIRBOAT RIDES
& FISH CAMP
6901 U.S. 192
Airboat rides take off from the site of a historical fish camp location. Its 35- to 40-minute tours on the St. Johns River are first come-first serve. When it isn’t hunting season, Eco night tours are available. The captain’s headlamps light the way so you can see glowing gator eyes, among other things. Indian artifact tours go to a place where Indians in the early 1900s traded with rangers and frontiersmen.
GOOD NATURED RIVER TOURS
6075 N. U.S.1
[dock at Grills Riverside]
See the Indian River Lagoon and Banana River with 45-foot pontoon boat tours to find wildlife and some of the beautiful and exclusive real estate along the river’s edge along with the iconic landmark Dragon Point. The captain narrates the daytime tours and will tell you the history of the lagoon and point out its many features. It offers daily wildlife cruises and seasonal [April-October] sunset cruises, which aren’t narrated. Beer and wine are allowed on the sunset cruises.
SPACE COAST RIVER TOURS
2550 N. Banana River Drive
The Blue Dolphin, a 44-foot pontoon boat, seats 49 people and is handicapped-accessible. Covered by a retractable roof, it has open sides. Two-hour tours leave Kelly Park on the Banana River and go north to the Barge Canal. From there, you can experience going through the Canaveral locks to the port to see all kinds of boats from cruise ships to shrimp boats. It also features certain holiday tours and rocket launch tours.
SAIL COCOA BEACH
290 Marine Harbor Drive
Catamaran sailboat for up to 32 people and a 35-foot human powered pedal boat. The catamaran sails twice a day, one is a sunset sailing and the second is for watching dolphins and wildlife, with private charters and sailing lessons available. View rocket launches when they happen. The pedal boat is operated by all the passengers lined up inside pedaling it together — similar to bike pedals. That spins a small paddle wheel to move the boat. There’s a gas engine for just-in-case.
A Treasure Coast resident since the early 1980s, Susan has worked for the Jensen Beach Mirror and The News Tribune. A bicycling enthusiast, she thinks nothing of riding 20 or 30 miles. A graduate of Columbia University and New York University, Susan is a big fan of eagles.