Three kids and a mom packed up the car and traveled from Cape Coral to Marco Island. We track adventure, good times and lots of sightseeing when we head out on vacation. My kids are not about sleeping in, rather they are about taking in all the sights and attractions they can so they experience as much as possible.
Each child keeps a travel bucket list, and while it is more of a ‘wish list’ they are always updating their notebooks with things they have done versus things they want to do. This trip to Marco Island sure won big marks from Dolphins riding alongside our boat to tubing in Marco Island at fun speeds that thrilled teens.
Could an adventure get any better? Toss in a really cool water enthusiast, a great boat and mangroves all around and you have a perfect adventure just waiting to be tackled. Here’s our take on the best dolphin, shelling and tubing adventure in Marco Island as we lavishly live travel and adventure out loud!
Best Dolphin, Shelling and Tubing Adventure In Marco Island
In exchange for today’s post, I was provided a lovely dolphin, shelling, and tubing adventure in Marco Island from Breakwater Adventures as I seek out the best of the best for those traveling. All opinions, images, and thoughts are my own, based on our experience.
Are you seeking an adventure you can take your family on, where there is something for everyone and yet it is still an adventure of sorts? Perhaps you dislike swimming but want to get the best seashells around or maybe you are all about Dolphins and your kids love dolphins too?
Want to see a Manatee up close, so close that you can almost touch it? Do your kids love the water and want to speed through it as though they are skating on ice? Get ready for the best of all that in one tour that is all about family, multi-genre goodness and gaining a new appreciation for the open water! We have found the Best of adventure in dolphins, tubing and shelling on Marco Island
BREAKWATER ADVENTURES – Marco Island
As with any summer, I travel solo, with the kids and without my husband, because his busy season is summer. We were staying in Cape Coral, but I really wanted to give the kids an adventure to remember so I started looking for dolphin and shelling tours, and I simply have to tell you that I struck gold with this adventure.
You know that no matter where I go, the boys look for something a bit adventurous and I prefer to hang back a bit, well I found the perfect combination for the boys and myself and my daughter. I made mention that my husband was not with me, so for me, adventures either have to be with a highly reliable firm or there is no adventure.
What I found is Breakwater Adventures, a Captain named Alex (pictured above) and a 3-hour tour that will satisfy something for every adventurer from hardcore to passive! The morning was questionable and the weather got worse, so not sure Alex made the correct call here about getting out on the water!
We took off on a questionable morning, as the weather is truly unpredictable in the summer months. The water level is about 3-4 feet deep everywhere we traveled, so that is one thing you really might want to know.
Mangroves are everywhere
No matter where you look you will see mangroves and in the mangroves you will see a lot of wildlife action. From birds to other wildlife, it’s where it’s at! Keep your cameras ready and keep on loking, nature abounds!
We saw beautiful homes that were built into an island of Mangroves. jumping fish, some famous fish guy (yeah not really into fishing sorry about the lack of detail herer). Fishing in the water is legal and you will see people doing it (licensed). There are people boating, and jet skiing too. When you ride through these areas you can get lost easy, as everything begins to look the same.
Then we struck the gold: Dolphins, and Manatee, but wait, there’s so much more. Read on to learn about our adventure and one you too can take! Remember this, weather changes quickly in the summer so if it looks like there is a storm headed in, don’t get caught out on the water like we did. It’s really not worth it.
ROSEATE SPOONBILLS – PRETTY IN PINK
As an added bonus we got to enjoy these Roseate Spoonbills that are more rare than common, however. Now, they just so happen to be most common to the Marco Island and Florida Coastal Areas. They are gorgeous and super hard to photo!
Have your camera ready, zoom and don’t try to zoom up in the boat towards them, because they scare easy! Enjoy from a distance and watch the green of the mangroves turn pink as they all land. Once they take flight the green comes back!
Let’s just say Alex knows kids, teens and what they love. Alex slowed the boat down, suggested some tubing, and placed the tube on the water. The boys did not have to get into the water to get on the tube.
Rather Alex held it tight so they could get on and not get wet (if you don’t like the water this is important to know!) – then he released the tension rope and we took off. He explained to boys to go ‘Thumbs Up’ or ‘Thumbs Down’ to signal how fast they wanted to go or not go.
If your kids really don’t want to get into the water to get on, knowing that Alex will hold this until you load is a good point. However, that said, if you don’t hold on you can fall off or if you hit a smaller wake. Be prepared!
Look at them go!
The real fun started when Alex went ahead and Thumbs Upped it himself, they were flying over the wake and all over the place, laughing, and smiling from start to finish. In the end, their arms were tired from hanging on and they had a blast!
What if you could be stopped on a private island and shell? That’s exactly what we did, Alex pulled the boat right up to the island, we got out and we shelled. It was amazing. Pulling up, we were not sure what we were doing.
Once we got off, there were oodles of shells. Take your bag, or your shoe, and fill them up. Every shell is prettier than the next and perfect. It’s odd being in the middle of the water on your own little island. You just are in the midst of everything yet nothing. The condos and homes are behind you and crest the shoreline but you are not on it. Crazy adventure right? We were actually super close to the Dome Houses that have withstood the test of time and water abuse.
You have to imagine how many fresh shells are washed in here when the tide comes in and out and covers the island, so there is always new inventory. What makes this experience incredible is that the islands we are on, are sometimes under water and sometimes not, making perfect shelling conditions right?
You can see there were other boats around in the distance, but it does not matter because there are plenty of shelling areas for everyone. Enjoy this moment, and the water is warm, so play in it!
Want to take a swim? Here’s where you can, and yes the water is warm and refreshing! Don’t forget to take those photos!
South of Marco Island, only by boat, sits Kice Island and Cape Romano where you will see the famed Domed Houses. If you don’t know what these are, Alex will give you a brief history on them and if your kids are like mine, they will start Googling for more info and the conversation is still ongoing until this day!
These are pretty incredible to see and learn about and imagine how they were versus how they are! While they can not be lived in for obvious reasons, look how well their shape has held up under the saltwater conditions… They are standing strong.
What I want to make mention of is that they have never moved but the water has carried on into them and now they are no longer used (quite obvious but just saying)
The dolphins are everywhere in large numbers and smaller groups and they love the wake of the boats, so they just tend to follow along. We were lucky enough to have this visitor appear and I was quick on the snapping end.
Keep your eyes moving because where theres one there are more! We even experienced a few at a time. We were stopped just looking between mangroves and one swam right up alongside the boat, it was the oddest thing ever, but very cool.
Here they come, so watch to see, we are just motoring along and….
The Dolphins were my favorite part of the trip and the kids (teens) loved it even more. Your best seat in the house for this attraction is at the very back of the boat because they ride in the wake as I mentioned, so watch and enjoy.
The manatees are tougher to capture on a photo as they were not quite as many as I had expected and they were closer to the docks than they were in the midst of the mangroves. Luckily, this one appeared!
Coloration of the skin makes it appear more as a rock, or a mound, unless you really know what you are looking for. ButThe colorationne, woot!
The Manatees can be a bit more elusive depending where they are, as they ‘blend’ with the bottom of the sand, but no fear, Alex found those too. We found the way out and really close in, so they are everywhere and Alex knows their ‘hotspots’
Trips to the islands, and especially Marco Island would not be complete without a canal tour and the siting of Iguanas. These creatures give me the ‘willies’ and they are everywhere, running rampant, but totally cool to see. If you blink your eyes, it is like they multiply when you open your eyes back up!
Also, as we drove between the homes in the canal areas we experienced more of these loving little creatures than I ever need to see again. One home had so many of them, they were running on the inside of a ‘holed up’ screen pation just hanging on all of it on the interior. Seriously it was disgusting! No worries if you are looking for a great photo capture, there are thousands of them, so snap on!
Visiting Marco Island is not just about the adventure but for some of us, it is about ogling at the incredible homes that span all along the border, because they are incredible! Big and beautiful with great boat docks, they are truly something to behold.
Do note the sky behind, it followed up and kept us out far beyond our expected time. Looming storms when boating are nothing to mess with.
THINGS YOU NEED TO PACK
Book your trip with Breakwater Adventures, and pack sunscreen, sunglasses, a towel (for swimming and tubing). Don’t forget a hat! Taking the 3-hour adventure will create hunger, so bring refreshments and food!
Lavishly live the Best Dolphin, Shelling and Tubing Adventure In Marco Island. You get to do it all in a small time frame and then you have that to knock off the bucket list and memories that you will love!