Do you love kayaking and are looking for a fun outdoor adventure in Florida? Bioluminescent kayaking in Florida is a unique activity you can’t do everywhere.
But what exactly is bioluminescent kayaking? Bioluminescence is light that’s caused by a chemical reaction in a living organism. Basically, living organisms in the water create this vibrant and fascinating blue light. The organisms that produce this bioluminescence are usually fish, jellies, and plankton. It’s seriously cool, and when you view it on the water, you’ll be blown away!
What better way is there to view this natural phenomenon than by kayaking? This is the perfect date night activity or something to enjoy with friends and family.
If you are looking for the best bioluminescent kayaking in Florida, check out this guide.
What is bioluminescence in Florida?
Bioluminescence is the light that living organisms emit. A chemical reaction in their bodies causes the color. Along parts of the Florida coastline, you can see this magical natural phenomenon.
What makes bioluminescence blue?
Fireflies produce yellow bioluminescence, and in lanternfish, it’s a greenish color. So why is bioluminescence blue in Florida? Plankton is often the organisms that cause the waters to turn blue.
When is the best time to see the bioluminescence in Florida?
Between May and November is the best time to see bioluminescence in Florida. Though this attraction happens year-round, it’s this time that you’ll find blue bioluminescence.
This incredible electric blue plankton is particularly vibrant in July and August. The best time of the month to see this blue magic is when the moon is at its dimmest. The brighter the moon, the less vibrant the bioluminescence is.
Where are the best places in Florida to see the bioluminescence?
There are a plethora of places to see the bioluminescence. Along the Space Coast at places like Cocoa Beach, you’ll discover the blue light.
The Indian River Lagoon and Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge are also excellent places to visit. Another of the best places to view this phenomenon is at Banana River near Cape Canaveral.
Is it safe to swim in bioluminescent water in Florida?
It is best not to swim in bioluminescent waters. That’s why kayaking is recommended. Some algae can produce toxins that are harmful to humans. It’s best to view this wonder from your kayak.
While many bioluminescent kayak tours allow you to touch the algae, it’s not ideal for swimming in. We advocate that you seek guidance from your tour guide on swimming in the water. Meanwhile, some areas are safe to dip your hands, while others are not.
Best Places to Go Bioluminescent Kayaking in Florida
1. Indian River Lagoon
Searching for the best places to go bioluminescent kayaking? Then head to Indian River Lagoon along Florida’s Atlantic coast. The plankton that is found at Indian River Lagoon isn’t sporadic. Shoals of plankton gather in the water, creating a remarkable glow.
Start paddling at dusk, and you’ll find the lagoon begins to change. Visiting Indian River Lagoon is like attending one of those immersive art experiences. As you slide through the water on your kayak, different glow-in-dark patterns emerge.
Scientists believe that there are more than 100,000 dinoflagellates per liter of water at the lagoon. Dinoflagellates, to those who are not familiar, are types of algae! These algae are basically like underwater fireflies. They create this blue cold light mostly when they are disturbed.
The algae is not the only thing that turns blue at this lagoon. The algae attach itself to small fish, water droplets, and sea grass, turning everything blue.
It’s best to visit the Indian River Lagoon when it’s really dark and the moon isn’t so visible. Make sure you consult the lunar calendar so you maximize your bioluminescence kayaking experience.
2. Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge
Located along the Atlantic Ocean, Merritt Island is an excellent destination for bioluminescent kayaking. Merritt Island is close to some of the other bioluminescent destinations.
This wildlife refuge was established in 1965 and has been protecting local wildlife ever since. The refuge is 140,000 acres and is a popular daytime attraction. The habitats within the refuge include coastal dunes, marshes, scrub, and pine flatwood. We recommend visiting during the day as well as on your bioluminescent tour.
This wildlife refuge is on a barrier island and is home to thousands of species. It is strongly advised to book a tour to visit the bioluminescence on Merritt Island. There are a couple of reasons why booking a tour is better.
Some of the best bioluminescent spots are not super obvious. You may have trouble finding them. Secondly, NASA who owns the land, often restricts access to the surrounding waterways. Book a tour and save on any potential disappointment.
3. Space Coast – Cocoa Beach, Titusville, and Port & Cape Canaveral
The Space Coast has some of the best bioluminescent kayaking in Florida. By day, you’ll discover the stunning beaches, and by night, you can gaze at the electric blue waters.
Cocoa Beach is a super popular spot for bioluminescent tours. The natural beauty of the surrounding area only enhances the color explosion.
You can also head to Titusville for a bioluminescent color show. There are three main areas where people launch their kayaks from. There’s the Haulover Canal South and North and Beacon 42. Take a guided tour at Titusville, and you will not be disappointed. The guides in the area are super knowledgeable. You will come away having learned everything about the science of this fascinating phenomenon.
As well as bioluminescent fun, there are also manatees and alligators in the area! At night time, you may be lucky enough to see dolphins frolic in the water. Of course, in the bioluminescent glow, they create spectacular blue waves.
Cape Canaveral is an excellent blue magic spot to kayak. Cape Canaveral is home to the Kennedy Space Center. It is also a super quiet area to launch your kayak from. If you want bioluminescent magic all to yourself, this is the place.
Recommended Bioluminescent kayaking in Florida Tours
1. A Day Away Kayak Tours
Are you searching for a bioluminescent kayaking tour in Florida? A Day Away Kayak Tours creates the perfect adventure for you to explore. No matter if you’re a kayaking expert or a bioluminescent first-timer like we were, they’ve got you covered.
This company offers both day and night tours, but for bioluminescence, it must be at night. They offer five different bioluminescence tours in total, all with unique features. This is their most popular bioluminescence tour.
First, there’s the Dinoflagellate Bioluminescence Tour in Titusville and Merritt Island. The tour lasts one hour and 30 minutes and should be undertaken between May and early November. You’ll be able to see your kayak paddle create a glistening blue trail. This microscopic dinoflagellate has been nicknamed “dino bio” by the guides.
Another awesome tour option is the Clear Kayak Bioluminescence Tour. The clear-bottom kayak creates a truly immersive tour experience. Watch as blue swirls flurry under your kayak and past your paddles.
Why not combine bioluminescence with a beautiful Florida sunset? The Sunset Bioluminescence Tour offers just that with the added excitement of dolphins, manatees, and gators. This sunset tour takes place in the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. As Merritt Island is a bit of a tricky spot to investigate alone, this tour is great. Make sure you remember to bring bug spray as this tour is in and out of mangroves.
2. BK Adventure
BK Adventure is a super popular and highly recommended bioluminescence kayaking tour company. They have nine diverse tours to choose from, all with unique perks. As well as kayaking, they also offer bioluminescent rafting and paddle tour trips. Click here to book now.
Their Sunset-Bio in Clear Kayaks at Cocoa Beach is an enjoyable excursion. Starting at Kiwanis Island Park, you can explore the waters surrounding Cocoa Beach. The magical sunset and bioluminescent colors dance on the Banana River. One of the best things about this tour is seeing the water light up. The transition from day to fluorescent blue sparkles is quite astonishing to see. You also have a good chance of seeing manatees and dolphins. This tour is the perfect romantic date night idea. It is also on many people’s Florida bucket list.
One of the best parts of a kayak tour with BK Adventure is the eco-tour guides. They are really knowledgeable about the area, wildlife, and the science behind bioluminescence. Any questions you have, the staff at BK Adventure can answer.
BK Adventure also has a super handy moon calendar so you can plan your visit. Choosing a tour date when the moon is less bright is an excellent idea. These lower moonlight days book up super quickly, so be sure to plan ahead.
3. Get up and go kayaking
Another excellent bioluminescent tour company is Get Up and Go Kayaking. They offer enthralling tours around the bioluminescent hot spots. They focus their tours mainly on the natural spring area around Florida.
Their Bioluminescent Tour guides you for 1.5 hours around the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. All the tours are in their 100% clear kayaks. The group sizes of their tours are a maximum of ten people, with two guides. This guide-to-participant ratio makes for a more intimate trip. You can then ask the knowledgeable guides a ton of questions.
They are super proud of being the first kayaking bioluminescent company in Florida. Whether you watch your paddles, dolphins, or your hands in the water, blue magic will materialize.