Bioluminescent Kayaking Tours Near Orlando & Cocoa Beach
Get ready to spend a magical evening on this nighttime bioluminescence tour with BK Adventure. See the water light up as luminous sea life surrounds your kayak. Our bioluminescent kayaking tours are often called “the best thing to do in Florida for vacation.” See this natural nighttime spectacle as you paddle around the warm waters of the Indian River Lagoon.
Where is the best place to see Florida Bioluminescence?
The Indian River and the Banana River both have glowing algae. Both rivers are part of the Indian River Lagoon. We affectionately call this Florida’s “Bioluminescent Bay.”
- When to go:We do this tour year ’round. In warm weather, you will see glowing plankton. In colder months, you will see comb jellies. Some months you will see both!
- Tours depart nightly:In summer months there are 3-4 departures per night between 8:30 pm to midnight. In winter there is one departure every night. Book early for July/August weekends as tours often sell out.
- What type of kayak:This tour is in tandem kayak only due to restrictions of the number of boats allowed on the water in the areas we kayak.
Bioluminescence Moon Calendar 2023
Moonlight effects this tour and how brightly you will see glowing plankton. The less moonlight, the brighter the bio luminous sea creatures will appear. Please check the Moon Calendar before booking. Note that in July-August dinoflagellates appear so bright that almost any night is great! For more about Dark Skies, click here.
The glowing water or comb jelliescan be very hard to photograph. It can only be photographed in perfect conditions usually during July – Sep when there is a new moon (very dark). This is when it appears bright, bright blue. If you are not coming during that time, it may appear somewhat different, but it is still awesome! For more about viewing this phenomenon and what to expect read thedescription here.
Best Time of Year for Bioluminescence in Florida
November – May is glowing jellies season
Bioluminescent jellyfish are really just jellies (they do not sting). These prehistoric sea creatures, called Comb Jellies, have been on the planet for over 500 million years. As the waters of the Indian River Lagoon cool down, the Comb Jellies move in. Depending on how warm in gets, we start seeing glowing plankton as early as March.
May – November is dinoflagellates season
In the early days of summer the bright blue-green glowing algae begin to show, and by the height of summeritshines and sparklesbright when it is stirred with your kayak paddle, hand, or even the myriad ofMullet fish flying around. The glowing plankton are amazing bright in July and August. This is when our tours sell out nearly every night. So, be sure to book early if that is when you plan to go.
Peak season is June – October.
In other months, dinoflagellates will be present, but may be more like sparkles than glowing water.
For other Florida Bioluminescence Tours
Join us forClear Kayaking ToursandBioluminescent Raftingwith our 10 person raft! The rafts are great for kids and those who want someone to paddle for them.
BK Adventure tours are near Orlando, Cocoa Beach, Port Canaveral, Disney Area, and Ocala. These night tours have become one of the top things to do in Cocoa Beach and the Space Coast.
More aboutthe Indian River Lagoon
The Indian River Lagoon isan estuary that is fed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean making it a unique natural habitat. The high salt content in the water here makes it a perfect home for dinoflagellates which create a natural light to protect themselves. The lagoon is one of the most biodiverse eco-systems in North America, and has been the main source of research about bioluminescent dinoflagellates.
What is included
This tour is in a 2-person tandem kayak.
What you should bring
- Insect repellent
- Water bottle
How to prepare for your eco-tour
- Check for same day emails/updates
- Check directions – double check
- Wear quick-dry clothes
- Wear water/river shoes
- Bring insect spray
- Bring cash (tips optional)
- Call for questions
- Be ready for fun
Check tour condition
Check our Twitter updates to see how the bioluminescence has been lately on BK Adventure Tours.
Where to Meet – There are 2 launch sites for this tour. Please check email & messages the day of your tour for any changes in location.*
- For Wildlife Refuge Bio Tour (Titusville, FL)
Get directions to Haulover Canal here
Haulover Canal is a beautiful launch site on the Wildlife Refuge. We use this site for our Bioluminescence Kayaking tour, and other tours, like the Sunset Tour. * We rarely have to change the location of your tour, but sometimes we will suggest a location that has better conditions or access for whatever reason. Please remember that our kayaking launch sites are restricted by federal and local government agencies, and sometimes they require us to make last minute changes. The Wildlife Refuge must coordinate with NASA.
Went with friends for the Bioluminescence tour kayaking 10pm. We had a blast. Guides were fun and knew a lot about the nature of the wildlife preserve. We saw dolphins ...
Went with friends for the Bioluminescence tour kayaking 10pm. We had a blast. Guides were fun and knew a lot about the nature of the wildlife preserve. We saw dolphins from the shore. At first glowing plankton were not out, but guide knew where to kayak and water started lighting as we paddled around. Tons of stars out. Can't say enough good stuff about BK and our guides (dillon? And jake).This was the best thing we did in Florida. Everyone should try this!
We had a great tour with leader Katy. She is professional, nice and kind-hearted. The team was pretty helpful during the trip, and their expertise and knowledge really help a ...
We had a great tour with leader Katy. She is professional, nice and kind-hearted. The team was pretty helpful during the trip, and their expertise and knowledge really help a lot during the tour. We did see many comb jellies and many other interesting things.
Our guide, avi, was fantastic. Answered every question. A lot better than expected, as I am a skeptic at heart. Manatees and other wildlife for the sunset trip and a ...
Our guide, avi, was fantastic. Answered every question. A lot better than expected, as I am a skeptic at heart. Manatees and other wildlife for the sunset trip and a very cool logar show for the evening trip out. Went on a dark and rainy night and the bio was really bright. Thank you for a great evening.
I do have to mention getting there is part of the adventure, and the staff was great at providing directions when needed.
Bioluminescence tour/BK Adventure/Clear Kayaks-it's Pixie Dust in the water! My family and I did this tour June 8....despite the rain at the start, we had a wonderful time....our guides were ...
Bioluminescence tour/BK Adventure/Clear Kayaks-it's Pixie Dust in the water! My family and I did this tour June 8....despite the rain at the start, we had a wonderful time....our guides were so great! Pay attention to the guides and do this tour folks!!!! For the person in the front of the kayak-look down toward the front of the boat and watch the jellyfish hit it and illuminate it as you glide through the water...it's sparkles in the water! Every time you paddle, it looks like pixie dust in the water, glowing with the movement of the paddle. By the end of the tour, the rain completely stopped and the stars came out, the view of the Space Center was crystal clear. Very cool, we all really enjoyed it! Thanks so much BK!
Our tours rarely cancel due to weather. If it is raining the day of the tour, chances are, with Florida weather, it will clear up by the time your tour starts. Sometimes we will hold the tour by 30 minutes for the weather to clear. In the case of lightning, high winds, or some other reason that we cannot paddle, we will re-schedule all guests to the very next tour available, or at a convenient time for you. Rainchecks are valid for 1 year.
We recommend you do the "Sunset Tour" if you have time. That way you get to see dolphins, and possibly manatees and all the amazing birds. Then, take a break, and go out for the Bioluminescent Kayak Tour later. It's just $20 more and it's an amazing tour!Click hereto book that.
For our single kayaks, the weight limit is 275 lbs. For the tandem kayaks it is 550 lbs. The night kayaking tours are done on tandem kayaks.
Some people are naturally athletic, and they pick up any kind of activity easily. If that's you, pick either launch location. If you are a beginner, or not sure about kayaking abilities, or have small children, you may want to choose theHaulover Canal kayaking location. You may also want to ask about our new rafting options where you join others in the raft for an easy paddle in a big boat.
We like to think so, butwe cannot guarantee it.Here are the best conditions: hot weather, right after a rain storm, dark night. Sometimes the night is dark even when the moon is supposed to be bright. Sometimes a barely visible moon occurs on such a clear night, that even the slightest shine makes it seem bright. So, there are many factors that make the bioluminescence more/less visible. The BEST TIMEfor glowing algae (dinoflagellates) brightness is usuallyJuly to October.But we see it all year round, and inNovember, we see amazing flashing comb jellies!So, don't miss out because your vacation does not fall during the summer months.
This depends on your launch site: either Kelly Park is near Port Canaveral right off of Hwy. 528 (about 45 mins from Orlando), or in peak-season also, Haulover Canal in Titusville, Florida (1 hr; 15 mins from Orlando). Kelly Park near Cocoa Beach is the closer launch site to Miami.
Lots of people who love kayaking with their dog have asked about this tour. We do not recommend this one for dogs, as it is a night kayaking tour. Maybe chose the manatee tour or the monkey tour instead of bioluminescent kayaking if you want to have a great experience with your favorite pooch!
Because of wildlife and environmental protection we have a limited number of kayaks we can launch at one time. So, we use 2 person tandem kayaks in order to get all of our guests out to see the bioluminescence on the dates they want. That does not mean you will be in a large group. Only 8 boats go out with 2 guide boats at one time.
Because of the limited availability of our equipment, they tend to book up quickly. Please call us if there is a time/day you would like that is not available for online booking. We may be able to get you on.
Where is the best place to see Bioluminescence near Cocoa Beach? In the summer months both the Banana River and the Indian River glow bright with bioluminescence. Many people refer to this as the “Bioluminescent Bay” of Florida.What months can you see bioluminescence at Cocoa Beach? ›
Peak bioluminescence season is between July and September, and the best time to book one of these tours is during the New Moon -although it's still unforgettable no matter what phase the moon is in.Where is the best place for bioluminescence kayaking? ›
There are a few places to experience Florida's glowing water. The most common place to visit and for sure the place with the most guided bioluminescent kayaking tours is Titusville. Located between Daytona Beach and Cocoa Beach, Titusville is home to NASA, Cape Canaveral and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.Does bioluminescence happen every day? ›
However, bioluminescence is notoriously hard to predict and can happen at any time. Most places that often see this chemical reaction concur that it happens in the middle to the late summer for the majority of the time.Where can I see bioluminescence in Florida for free? ›
- Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge near Titusville.
- Indian River Lagoon near Titusville.
- Banana River near Cape Canaveral.
- Kiwanis Island near Cocoa Beach.
Join a small group and gently paddle between Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island, watching as the water illuminates with millions of tiny plankton. Learn about this unique phenomenon from your guide and how the is the only bioluminescent bay in the continental US.What time of day is best to see bioluminescence? ›
While we typically see the bioluminescence nightly, the optimal time to go is on the days before or after a new moon when there is little to no moon visible. This way, there is no moonlight reflecting on the water disrupting your view of the bioluminescence.What time of year is bioluminescent kayaking best? ›
Summer months are usually the best time of the year to watch the glowing plankton. For best experience, you should consider going anytime between mid-May and early-October. Also, try to schedule your night kayaking excursion about 5 days after a full moon.Where is the best place in Florida for bioluminescence? ›
- #1 Thousand Island Nature Preserve home to the Banana River Aquatic Preserve. ...
- #2 Kiwanis Island Park in Merritt Island.
Turns out the mysterious light shines from a company called Ward Photonics, which is developing and testing a weight-loss device that uses simple red light to trick fat cells in the body.
This beach town is known for its clear blue waters, white sand, long coastline, tons of water activities, and exciting tourist attractions. Cocoa Beach is a fun destination for a winter vacation as you can escape the crowds of the summer season.What time of year is best to see bioluminescence in Florida? ›
May through November is the best time to see bioluminescence dinoflagellates in Florida. In the early days of summer, they begin to show and by the peak of summer, these creatures sparkle bright whenever stirred with your hand or paddle. The shining plankton is especially stunning in July and August.What do I need for bioluminescent kayaking? ›
Wear warm clothes (pants and long-sleeved shirts) and carry a change of clothes in a waterproof bag. Bring a bug spray or insect repellant as well. You may have seen pictures of bioluminescence online before coming on the tour, but you should be ready to witness a different version in-person.Where are the 5 bioluminescent bays? ›
There are five bioluminescent bays in the world and three of them are in Puerto Rico. Mosquito Bay, Laguna Grande and La Parguera. The other two are located in Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica and Halong Bay in Vietnam. A bioluminescent bay or bio bay is a body of water that glows.What are the risks of bioluminescence? ›
Looking at bioluminescence can be the most beautiful experience. However, it may be a warning sign because many bioluminescent dinoflagellate species are toxic. They can be poisonous to fish that swim around them. If you come in contact with such bioluminescent algae, they can be harmful to you too.What happens if you touch bioluminescence? ›
Bioluminescent algae can have severe effects on human health and should not be touched. Do not swim in waters containing algal blooms, no matter how beautiful they are. Direct contact could lead to skin infections or even death.Where and when is the best place to see bioluminescence? ›
Some of the most impressive bioluminescence sights in the country can be found on a San Diego sea night beach at night. The area is regularly blessed with Red Tides, a phenomenon caused by algal blooms, where the waves regularly turn a deep red by day and stunning neon blue at night.Is Cocoa Beach full of seaweed? ›
Too much weed on the beach can be a bad thing, especially in surfing meccas such as Cocoa Beach, where Sargassum seaweed snarls boards, snags surf fishing lines, and is a bane to all others who prefer weed-free wading.What beach Can you see the bioluminescence? ›
Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego, CA
Torrey Pines State Beach is a coastal bioluminescent beach located in the San Diego, California. The waves here give a vivid blue glow as they crash ashore. And it is visible only after nightfall. Tip: Pick a dark spot at nightfall to witness the spectacular neon light.
Mosquito Bay is considered the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world! These bays are located on the East, West and South-West sides of Puerto Rico. The bioluminescent waters are created from dinoflagellate plankton in all three of these bays.
Dinoflagellates are plankton that photosynthesize to build energy to illuminate bioluminescent light and they are microscopic. The best time to see dinoflagellates glow is in the hottest months of summer (July and August). During these months, they will make a neon blue of anything that touches them in the water.Can you predict bioluminescence? ›
Even the experts can't accurately forecast bioluminescence. “We can't predict when they are going to occur or long they will last,” research biologist Michael Latz told the Los Angeles Times last year.How long does bioluminescence water last? ›
The length of time the bioluminescent algae in San Diego stick around depends on how long the nutrients they like to munch on last, which, depending on their source, can be anywhere from a week to a month or more.What color kayak is most visible? ›
According to nautical safety experts, the most visible color is yellow, followed by orange and reddish tones, white, light green.Is it better to kayak in the morning or afternoon? ›
Kayaking in the morning is usually better than in the afternoon as winds can pick up in the afternoon making kayaking more difficult. For the first half of your trip, head into the wind, if possible. That way when you're tired later on, you can then kayak downwind and get a little boost.What color should a kayak display at night? ›
The minimum requirement for kayaks and canoes (whether paddling or adrift) conforms with U.S. Coast Guard Rules for a "vessel under oars" requiring "an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision."What months are bioluminescence in Florida? ›
May through November is the best time to see bioluminescence dinoflagellates in Florida. In the early days of summer, they begin to show and by the peak of summer, these creatures sparkle bright whenever stirred with your hand or paddle. The shining plankton is especially stunning in July and August.What time of year is best for bioluminescence? ›
Summer months are usually the best time of the year to watch the glowing plankton. For best experience, you should consider going anytime between mid-May and early-October.What months can you see bioluminescence? ›
When Can I See Bioluminescence? Bioluminescence is a year-long phenomenon. In the summer months (June – September) and into Fall, we see a bioluminescence produced by a plankton called dinoflagellates. In the winter months, we see a bioluminescence produced by comb jellies.What do I need to bring to bioluminescence? ›
Wear warm clothes (pants and long-sleeved shirts) and carry a change of clothes in a waterproof bag. Bring a bug spray or insect repellant as well. You may have seen pictures of bioluminescence online before coming on the tour, but you should be ready to witness a different version in-person.
Is It Safe to Swim in Bioluminescent Water? Some bioluminescent algae produce toxins that are harmful to marine wildlife, humans, and anything that comes in contact with them, so it may not be safe to touch the algae or swim in bioluminescent water.Are there sharks in the bioluminescent bay? ›
Yes, there are sharks in Bioluminescent Bay. Small blacktiped and lemon sharks are known to be roaming around the area.Which color is most bioluminescent light in the ocean? ›
Bioluminescence is most commonly blue-green, probably because the short wavelengths of blue and green light travel longer distances in the sea. Other animals emit red light, which helps them see things in the deep sea where all the red light has been filtered out.Can you see bioluminescence from the shore in Florida? ›
While Bioluminescence in Florida is rare, it does exist. You can mainly find the plankton and their magical lights on Florida's Space Coast. If you're not directly located near the East Coast near Central Florida, you will be in for a drive.Is bioluminescence hot or cold? ›
Bioluminescence is a "cold light." Cold light means less than 20% of the light generates thermal radiation, or heat. Most bioluminescent organisms are found in the ocean. These bioluminescent marine species include fish, bacteria, and jellies.