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Dolphin Watching in Madeira Beach, Florida

Hubbard's Marina Dolphin Watch - Madeira Beach, Florida

A trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast would not be complete without catching a glimpse of a few dolphins. Taking a cruise is your best option for viewing these beautiful mammals up close.

Hubbard’s Marina, located on John’s Pass in beautiful Madeira Beach, is the perfect place for your first dolphin cruise. Laid-back, friendly hour and a half cruises are offered daily year round. The chance to view wildlife in their natural habitat is a much different experience than viewing them at a zoo. All of the dolphins in the pictures are Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins.

A dolphin spotting on Hubbard's Marina dolphin cruise -Madeira Beach, Florida

The dolphins are very fast, so it was difficult to get quality pictures. Also, the dolphins never jumped out of the water,  hence, the majority of the time we were only able to get a quick glimpse of a fin.

Plenty of dolphin fin sightings along the way!

Dolphin - Madeira Beach, Florida cruise

Dolphin - Madeira Beach, Florida cruise

Dolphin - Madeira Beach, Florida cruise

Dolphin spotted by a boat - Madeira Beach, Florida cruise

Dolphin spotting - Madeira Beach, Florida cruise

Dolphin spotting in Madeira Beach, Florida

An up close view of the fin

Up close view of a dolphin's fin - Madeira Beach, Florida

As you can see, the dolphin is out of the water a bit more in this picture. This is one of the rare instances where we could see a bit of the dolphin’s face.

Dolphin - Madeira Beach, Florida

A few other great dolphin sightings 

Great dolphin view - Madeira Beach, Florida cruise

Great dolphin view - Madeira Beach, Florida cruise

Dolphin spotted near a boat - Madeira Beach, Florida cruise

Staff is well-trained in the best places to find dolphins. They will alert you right away to the first sign of a dolphin. Plus anyone on the boat will point one out as soon as they are discovered. This gives you plenty of time to get out of your seat and get your camera ready!

You do not have to worry about leaving unhappy as sightings are guaranteed! I was surprised by the number of sightings. To be quite honest, I would have been happy to have seen just one. We were lucky enough to see several groups of dolphins swimming along.

Dolphins often travel together

2 dolphins spotted in Madeira Beach, Florida

2 dolphins spotted in Madeira Beach, Florida

2 dolphins traveling together in Madeira Beach, Florida

2 dolphins together - Madeira Beach, Florida

3 dolphins spotted in Madeira Beach, Florida

3 dolphins spotted in Madeira Beach, Florida

On 2 occasions, we were able to get really nice up-close views!

Up close views of 2 dolphins - Madeira Beach, Florida

Up close views of 2 dolphins on a cruise in Madeira Beach, Florida

Not only did we see plenty of dolphins, we also came across dozens of snowy egrets and pelicans. My favorite part of the  cruise was the journey around Dogleg Key Bird Sanctuary, a beautiful mangrove island. As you can see in the photos below, beautiful pelicans and snowy egrets populate the island.

Dogleg Key Bird Sanctuary - Madeira Beach, Florida

Pelicans and snowy egrets on DogLeg key Bird Sanctuary - Florida

Snowy Egrets in the trees - DogLeg Key Bird Sanctuary - Florida

Pelican and snowy egrets - DogLeg Key Bird Sanctuary - Florida

Beautiful birds of Florida's DogLeg Key Bird Sanctuary

Along the way, you are treated to gorgeous views of parks, islands, and mult-million dollar waterfront homes.

Gorgeous views - Madeira Beach, Florida Hubbard's Marina cruise

Bird sitting still on a post - Madeira Beach, Florida Hubbard's Marina cruise

Sand bar party - Madeira Beach, Florida Hubbard's Marina cruise

Sandbar party and 2 dolphin fins - Madeira Beach, Florida Hubbard's Marina cruise

Gorgeous homes lining the coast - Hubbard's Marina cruise in Madeira Beach, Florida

Gorgeous colorful homes lining the coast - Hubbard's Marina cruise in Madeira Beach, Florida

Gorgeous colorful homes - Hubbard's Marina cruise in Madeira Beach, Florida

Colorful homes lining the coast - Hubbard's marina cruise - Madeira Beach, Florida

The small admission ticket is worth it for the cruise alone. A cruise is a great way to enjoy the day in Florida without suffering in the sun. Although it was a hot day, the temps began to cool down as soon as we started moving and the breeze made the cruise much more comfortable. The boat is covered so you do not have to worry about the sun beating down on you the entire ride.

We picked a great day for the cruise as there were only a handful of other passengers on board. This made it really easy to get up out of our seats to view the dolphins. I enjoyed this cruise over others due to the casual, relaxed atmosphere. Overall, Hubbard’s Marina Dolphin Cruise was a great opportunity to simultaneously enjoy the sunny Florida weather while observing wildlife in their natural habitat.

Beer, wine, bottled water, and a small selection of snacks are available for purchase.

Unique Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Facts

*They can live up to 50 years.
*They are both docile and agile.
*Males tend to roam alone.
*There is a $25,000 fee for feeding or bothering a dolphin.

After your cruise…

Be sure to take a walk around John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk. This area is just beautiful – one of the best tourist shopping/dining destinations I have encountered in the area thus far.

John's Pass Village and Boardwalk - Madeira Beach, Florida

There are plenty of interesting shops, places to pick up souvenirs, a handful of waterfront restaurants (from casual chains like Bubba Gump Shrimp and Hooters to local choices like Scully’s), and of course gorgeous views! In addition to the Dolphin Cruise, Hubbard’s Bay also offers sunset cruises.

Johns Pass Village and Boardwalk - Madeira Beach, Florida

Take a walk over to Madeira Beach, located right next to John’s Pass. This great little beach is clean and well-maintained. Smooth white sand and clear, warm water. Not too many crowds around even on a Saturday afternoon.

Madeira Beach, Florida

The beach was peaceful and much less noisy than others in the area. Great place to relax! Plenty of restaurants and shops on John’s Pass after your day spent on the beach.

Madeira Beach cabanas

Address: The cruise departs at Hubbard’s Marina (170 Johns Pass Boardwalk, Madeira Beach, FL 33708)

Parking: There is a large parking lot which only charges $1 per 30 minutes (daily max is $20). We happily drove right into the garage as opposed to circling around finding parking meters at most other beaches.

Prices: Adult tickets are $20.86. Children 11 and under are 49.70. Under 11 is free.

Cruise departure times: 11am, 1pm, 3pm & 5pm (spring and summer), 1pm &3pm (fall and winter). To make a reservation: Call (727) 393-1947.

Tips:
*Bring with a camera, preferably one with a high shutter speed. There are plenty of beautiful pictures to take, not only of the dolphins, but also beautiful landscapes.

*Sign up for the Hubbard’s Marina email club for discounts and a free pint glass.

Pelicans lined up at Hubbard's Marina - Madeira Beach, Florida



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