Top 7 Bioluminescence Kayaking Tours In Orlando

Bioluminescent body of water at night
by Vacation Central Florida

Orlando, a vibrant city in the heart of Florida, offers more than just theme parks and lively nightlife. It's also home to one of Earth's most stunning natural phenomena — bioluminescence. Embarking on a bioluminescence kayaking tour is known to be the most unforgettable experience in Orlando. Paddling through the waters under the night sky, surrounded by the magical glow of bioluminescent organisms, is an adventure like no other. To help you plan your next Florida adventure, we've compiled a list of Orlando's top bioluminescence kayaking tours.

Bioluminescence is a natural phenomenon occurring when certain organisms emit light through a biochemical reaction. Primarily found in marine life, such as fish, jellyfish, plankton, and some insects and microorganisms, these organisms create light using luciferin, a light-emitting molecule, and luciferase, an enzyme. This reaction with oxygen produces light without heat, resulting in the mesmerizing glow associated with bioluminescence. This natural light display serves various purposes, including attracting prey, confusing predators, communication, and mating. It is a captivating sight to behold, especially in the dark waters during nighttime kayaking tours.

Here are the top 7 bioluminescence kayaking tours in Orlando and its surrounding areas:

1. Indian River Lagoon

In the Indian River Lagoon Tour, you will witness the water come alive with glittering dinoflagellates as you paddle through mangrove tunnels and shallow flats. This tour takes place just near the Cocoa Beach bioluminescence. In the hot summer months, the bioluminescence is active in the Indian River Lagoon, and you will see glowing algae.

2. Florida Banana River Lagoon Bioluminescence Kayaking Tour

Explore the enchanting bioluminescence of the Banana River Lagoon. This tour is particularly captivating during new moon phases when the darkness intensifies the spectacle. The minimal moonlight allows you to see the glowing of the bioluminescent creatures more clearly. During the cold months, you will get bioluminescence from comb jellies. During the hot months, you will get it from the glowing plankton.

3. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Kayak through the bioluminescent wonders of the Haulover Canal. The Merritt Island Wild life Refuge tour is a 90-minute tour that allows you to paddle through the protected wetlands. You will see countless glowing plankton as you paddle amidst the lush mangrove forests. This area has no pollution, and you will quickly see the natural wonders. If you are coming from the Cocoa Beach resorts, renting a car is advisable since most Lyft and Uber drivers won't drive into this place. The tour guide will keep you safe after dark and take you to the best spots to see bioluminescence.

4. Cocoa Beach Night Time Bioluminescence Tour

If you would love to paddle in the coastal waters of Indian River Lagoon in the dark, consider the Cocoa Beach Night Time Bioluminescence Tour. There are single and 2-person kayaks, so don't worry if you are a couple. You will also get a life jacket, flashlight, bottled water, glow stick and headlamp. The tour usually goes for 1.5 hours, starting from twilight. The good thing is that there are no alligators.

5. Monkeys and Manatees Paddle Boarding and Clear Kayaking at Silver Springs

Would you like to explore the best springs in Florida? Then consider paddleboarding at Silver Springs with mokeys and manatees. This tour is just 80 miles from Orlando. You will have an option to use a transparent kayak. This allows you to see the beautiful ecosystem in the clear waters.

6. Haulover Canal Sunset Kayaking with Bioluminescence

The Sunset Kayaking with Bioluminescence Tour starts at Haulover Canal. The tour lasts 3 hours at a low cost of $75 per person. As the name suggests, this sunset tour starts around 6:30 pm. This lets you see other bird varieties, including Falcons, common Pelicans, Egrets, Heron, and Anhinga.

You will see wildlife in the water, such as alligators, manatees, and bottle-nose dolphins. The tour lasts for two sessions. You will take a 45-minute break after the first session and then go to the most awaited session: Bioluminescence. When you paddle or scoop by hand, you will see the phenomenon where water sparkles and glows.

7. Bioluminescent Jellyfish Tour

The Bioluminescent Jellyfish Tour also starts at Haulover Canal. Unlike the Sunset Kayaking, this tour costs $50 per person and takes 90 minutes. This tour aims to show you the bioluminescent comb jelly. During the tour, you will have an opportunity to catch your comb jelly. Don't worry; comb jellies don't sting. The guide will give you a net and a jar and, of course, show you tips for catching comb jellies.

Here are some frequently asked questions about bioluminescent kayaking tours in Orlando:

  • Can you see bioluminescence without a kayak? Yes.
  • What month is bioluminescence in Florida? May-November.
  • Is there bioluminescence in Orlando? Yes.
  • Can you drink alcohol while kayaking in Florida? No.
  • Do you need a tag for a kayak in Florida? Yes.

Add Bioluminescent Tours in Orlando to your Itinerary

Bioluminescent kayaking in Orlando is truly a magical experience. The prime months from June to September promise a mesmerizing light show, while the cooler months hold the subtle charm of glowing comb jellies. Whether you're a resident or a visitor, this is one adventure you want to take advantage of.

May your experience on these tours illuminate the waters beneath you and your sense of wonder and connection to the natural world. If you plan to explore these places and see the phenomenon, don't worry about where to stay. There are many Florida vacation homes near bioluminescent tours in Orlando and you can book directly with VacationCentral Florida. We have a premier host rating of 4.8+ out of 5 stars and over 4K positive reviews.