11 Best St Pete Boat Tours: Fun Water Sports & Cruises

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By Erin
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Looking for the best St Pete Boat Tours? As a local and a boater, here are the current top cruises and boat tours in St Petersburg Florida (or nearby).

St Petersburg – Florida’s sunshine city, averages 361 days of sunshine throughout the year. It’s an ideal place for those looking to spend some quality time on the water.

There are so many exciting things you can do in Pinellas County with downtown St Pete, St Pete Beach, Tierra Verde, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Indian Rocks Beach and so many other options in short proximity. All areas are within a short drive away or easily accessible by Uber or Lyft.

Boat tours are a personal favorite to truly see the best of what St Petersburg has to offer!

Whether you’re a tourist or a local, boat tours are a great way to explore and enjoy your time in St Pete. 

In this article, I will take you through what are the best St Pete boat tours. I’ve listed the pros and cons of each boat tour, so you can make an informed choice. 

Read Next: 9 Highest Rated Tours in St Petersburg, FL in 2022

1. Shell Key Kayak Tours

St Pete Boat Tours are a fun way to explore the Gulf of Mexico. This is considered one of the absolute best boat tours in St Petersburg Florida.
Kayak Boat Tours St Petersburg FL

⭐️ Rated: 5 out of 5 (2,627 Reviews) | ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours

Shell Key Kayak Tours are as fun as they are, but this Kayak tour steps it up a notch by taking you in a transparent kayak. Yes, that’s right!

You’ll see beautiful fish swimming right under your transparent boat as you paddle your kayak over the water. It almost feels like you can touch them through the boat. You may even spot a bottlenose dolphin jumping across the water if you’re lucky. 

As an added bonus, you’ll also explore the nearby Shell Key island and see fascinating wildlife. It’s also a lot of fun collecting the shells from the island. 

Each Kayak comes with an experienced tour guide who ensures you don’t miss the best spots and will tell you interesting facts about the wildlife there. 

Useful Boat Tour Information

Equipment already providedX Not recommended for pregnant women 
Personalized experienceX Not suitable for large groups of people
Full refund on cancellation (at least 24 hours prior). X Food and drinks not provided

“The kayak trip was such a fun experience! It was a beautiful day. We got to see lots of birds, a dolphin, crabs, fish, jellyfish, etc and learn about the wildlife and history of the area.”

– Lindsay, (Boat Tours in St Petersburg Florida REVIEWS)

☑︎ Departure Location: 1 Collany Rd, Tierra Verde, FL 33715

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2. St Pete Dolphin Tour Cruise + Snorkeling at Shell Key Preserve

Shell Key Preserve with birds on teh shore. st. Petersburg boat tours
St Pete Boat Tours to Shell Key Preserve

⭐️ Rated: 5 out of 5 (856 Reviews) | ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours

This St Pete boat tour is an ideal combination of Dolphin watching and snorkeling alongside colorful fish. You’ll get to see fascinating wildlife, such as pelicans and manatees, for 2 hours at a stretch!

Similar to the Kayaking tour, this tour includes a stopover at Shell Key Island, where you can relax on the white sand beach or spend time collecting seashells.

The tour also provides you with the following:

  • Equipment for Snorkeling 
  • Bottled water & Ice
  • Boat seating

Useful Tips

  • Try going between 10 am -12 pm or between 2 pm-sunset since this is when most dolphins are active. 
  • After the tour, I recommend visiting Vista at the Top for drinks and a gorgeous panoramic view of the Boca Ciega Bay sunset. 
Flexible TimingsX Food is not provided 
Family Friendly
Reasonable price

☑︎ Departure Location: 200 Madonna Blvd, Tierra Verde, FL 33715

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3. Dolphin Racer Tour at St Pete

Dolphin tour St Pete
Dolphin Tours St Petersburg, FL

If you’re not in the mood for snorkeling and still wish to watch dolphins and wildlife, this tour is perfect for you. You’ll get to see multiple bottlenose dolphins up close. 

The Dolphin Racer Tour is a trip on a large speedboat where you’ll get to explore much more of the waters in a shorter time. 

An experienced tour guide is also present aboard to answer your questions and drop some packets of fascinating information your way. You’ll also see the gorgeous St Petersburg skyline.

Additional Dolphin Tour Information

  • Remember to wear light clothing and carry sunscreen to avoid sunburns 
  • Carry refreshments with you or a water bottle, as the tour doesn’t provide them on board. 
Significantly cheaper than other Dolphin watching toursX Food and Drinks not included
Family FriendlyX Usually a wait
Restroom on boardX Boat has no sun cover area

☑︎ Departure Location: 3400 Pasadena Ave S, South Pasadena, FL 33707

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4. St Petersburg Speed Boat Adventure 

sunset st pete beach pass-a-grille beach
After the speed boat tour, enjoy these views at Pass-a-Grille Beach.

⭐️ Rated: 5 out of 5 (388 Reviews) | ⏳ Tour Length: 1.5 hours

If you think you’ll like the Dolphin Racer, you’ll love this. Primarily because, In this boat tour, you are the captain of your ship (or boat, at least). 

This tour allows you to rent out the F-13 mini speedboat and experience the thrill along the waves. Some basic boating experience is recommended.

And the best part? You will have the ability to spend quality time as a couple or family and pick your local destination.

However, you have to follow an experienced guide on a separate boat that’ll narrate your tour through a two-way communication system. You can also inform your guide in case of any issues or emergencies, which are extremely rare.

Additional Speed Boat Tour Information

  • While cruising, steer your boat near Fort De Soto Park for gorgeous views.
  • Afterward, head to the Paradise Grille at Pass-a-Grille Beach for an amazing St Pete Beach sunset with live music.
Professional guideX Some prior driving experience needed
Ideal for avoiding crowdsX Not suitable for large groups
Great for couples

“Great guide, and so much fun blasting around Tampa Bay. We wanted to go back out again! …From the area, but love to do the tourist thing once in awhile. Definitely do this again!”

– Jay (Speed Boat Tour in St Pete Beach REVIEWS)

☑︎ Departure Location: 1901 Pass a Grille Way, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

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5. Sailing Sunset Cruise Treasure Island

sailing sunset cruise with orange sunset
Sunset Cruise is a romantic way to see the area.

⭐️ Rated: 5 out of 5 (88 Reviews) | ⏳ Tour Length: 2.5 hours

If you want to treat your significant other in a uniquely romantic setting and spend quality time with them while you’re in St Pete, this needs to be your next date idea. 

This sunset tour is one of the best things a couple can do together! Whether you’re going out for a nice anniversary dinner or a romantic date night, this tour is exceptional. The sunset views you get are worth every buck!

You may even spot some dolphins jumping across the horizon. Dolphin sightings are pretty common, but either way you’ll have a lovely time sharing this unique sunset sailing experience together.

Blankets are providedX Refreshments not included
Restrooms on the boat
Perfect for couples

“Very friendly crew who gave us lots of details about what we were seeing. The boat is amazing, and the sailing very smooth. Awesome sunset views.”

– Colin, (Sailing Sunset Cruise REVIEWS)

☑︎ Departure Address: 400 Treasure Island Causeway, Treasure Island, FL 33706

🍷Pro Tip: Grab your own adult beverage and some light snacks, and you’re all set for this tour.

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6. Tiki Boat Tours St Pete

 St Pete Tiki Boat Tours
Tiki Tours in St Petersburg launch from downtown.

⭐️ Rated: 4.5 out of 5 (12 Reviews) | ⏳ Tour Length: 1.5 hours

Tiki boats are the perfect way to get your vacation mode on. In case you don’t know, Tiki boats are a crowd favorite here at St Pete since they come with a bar. It’s a half boat and half bar!

Let the coast guard sail you around as you enjoy your favorite cocktail with your friends. 

These boats also come equipped with Bluetooth speakers to connect your Spotify and dance along to the beats. The beach hut top also gives the perfect island vacation feel and it keeps too much direct sunlight away.

The best part is that the tour doesn’t break your wallet either.

Additional Tiki Boat Tour Information

  • Although the boat has a bar; you can also carry your own beverages.
  • Don’t forget your camera; you’ll want to capture these moments.
Personalized partying experience X Limited number of people on board
Year-round fun 
Affordable, budget-friendly
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7. Parasailing Johns Pass

Parasailing Johns Pass - landing photo with bright orange and yellow sunset.
Parasailing Madeira Beach

⭐️ Rated: 5 out of 5 (186 Reviews) | ⏳ Tour Length: 1 hour

If you’re anything like me and love a little adventure, you definitely need to add Parasailing to your list. Get ready to have your adrenaline rushing as you fly above the water. The views from up there are breathtaking as well. 

St Pete beach and Madeira beach offer to parasail, so it’s truly up to you where you choose to take the boat from. And, while you’re close by, do check out the top things you can do in Madeira Beach.

Additional Paragliding Tour Information

  • It’s a short boat tour, so there is no need to pack refreshments
  • Each person gets about 10-12 minutes of parasailing
Flexible start timesX Additional fee for late arrivals 
Equipment included (up to safety standards)X Parasailing is not ideal if you have a fear of heights
GoPro and pictures available (at an added cost)
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8. Sunset Dinner Cruise St Petersburg

Sunset Dinner Cruise St Petersburg, Florida
Sunset Cruise St Pete Beach

⭐️ Rated: 4.5 out of 5 (104 Reviews) | ⏳ Tour Length: 2.5 hours

Looking to experience a St Pete sunset without the beach sand mess? Book a romantic evening sunset dinner cruise. 

Whether you’re traveling with family or a significant other, this yacht cruise provides the perfect entertainment. It has a top deck and an indoor temperature-controlled restaurant, so you don’t need to wait for the ideal weather to enjoy this cruise.

Depending on your package you can purchase dinner or drinks at an additional charge. The portions are large and most enjoy the dinner onboard. If you are a foodie, you may opt to skip dinner and eat at one of the nearby restaurants in St Pete Beach.

With live music and dancing, you’re sure to have a night full of entertainment. You can even take a nice romantic walk on the deck and appreciate the city views. 

Additional Sunset Cruise Information

  • You can purchase dinner onboard the cruise as well 
  • I recommend dressing up and making this into a proper date night. It’ll surely be one for the books.
Family-friendlyX Meals & drinks are an extra fee
Live music, entertainment 
Bar & drinks

“…We didn’t know what to expect but enjoyed it all. From the dear seasoned couples celebrating their anniversary to the young kiddos, we all were able to enjoy an amazing night. Dancing, food, and delightful company.”

– Melinda, (Yacht Sunset Cruise St Pete Beach REVIEWS)

🎆 Pro Tip: My favorite time of year to do the dinner cruise is during fireworks or during the boat parade to see the Christmas lights. No matter when you go, don’t be surprised if you see dolphins and other forms of wildlife.

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9. Shared Sunset Cruise on a Pontoon Boat

St Pete Sunset in Tierra Verde at Vista at the Top with views of a mariana
Before or after the sunset cruise, Vista at Top is across the street for drinks.

⭐️ Rated: 5 out of 5 (304 Reviews) | ⏳ Tour Length: 1 to 1.5 hours

This shared sunset cruise provides the perfect opportunity to intermingle with other tourists/locals in St Peterburg.

You can even hop on this shared cruise alone and interact with the other passengers as you enjoy the sun setting over the bay area.

The sunset cruise is usually 60 to 90 minutes long. Sit back on a 25-foot pontoon boat with cushioned seating, cup holders, and lounge tables to relax.

Additional Sunset Cruise Information

  • If you wish to have dinner onboard, inform the staff beforehand (for an additional charge).
Blankets provided X Food not included
Family-friendly, good for all ages
Free cancellation up to 24 hours prior

We enjoyed seeing dolphins & birds. Also learned some history about St Petersburg. They boat ride was very peaceful.

– Paula, (Pontoon Boat Tour Tierra Verde REVIEWS)

Departure: 200 Madonna Blvd, Tierra Verde, FL 33715

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10. Glass Bottom Kayak LED Illuminated Night Tours

Glass Bottom Kayak Led Illuminated Night Tours couple kayaking
Kayak Tours St Pete Beach

⭐️ Rated: 4.5 out of 5 (180 Reviews) | ⏳ Tour Length: 1 hour 15 minutes

For all the night owls, don’t worry; I haven’t forgotten about you. Although the water may seem more intimidating at night. However, if the dark does not scare you, this boat tour is a must! 

The tour takes out groups of kayaks at night to explore the waters near St Pete Beach. 

A professional kayaker leads you on these gorgeous LED Illuminated glass-bottom kayaks.

They’ll also guide you through the waters and tell fascinating facts about the ecosystem and nearby locations.  This is considered one of the best tours for water sports in St Petersburg.

Additional Kayak Tour Information

  • Make a stopover at the mangrove island to watch some nighttime birds
  • Take some instaworthy pictures with the lit-up Pinellas Bayway Bridge as your backdrop
Safety equipment provided X Food and Water not included
Fish food is provided to feed the hundreds of fish

“…The glass bottom kayaks were great, and we even got to see quite a bit of fish. Would recommend it to anyone looking for something to do with friends or even solo…”

– Josh, (Kayak boat tours St Petersburg FL REVIEWS)
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11. 4-Hour St Pete Boat Tour to Egmont Key + Snorkeling

Egmont Key
Boat Tours St Pete to Egmont Key

⭐️ Rated: 5 out of 5 (43 Reviews) | ⏳ Tour Length: 4 hours

Calling all history buffs, you will love this 4-hour trip to Egmont Key and the ruins at Ft. Dade. See the best of Old Florida with historical buildings, pristine white sand beaches, and dolphins.

Relax in either the shaded air-conditioned cabin or on deck as this boat tour takes you by some of the most iconic locations in St Pete.

Additional Boat Tour Information

  • Two hours of exploring the old ruins of Ft. Dade on Egmont Key
  • Gorgeous views of the downtown St Pete skyline and the Skyway Bridge
Bottled water providedX Pricier than other St Pete boat tours
Air-conditioned cabin
Plenty of time to explore Egmont Key 
Snorkel equipment provided

“The beach was amazing. The boat ride there was smooth with a friendly captain and crew. You have the option to sit inside and it’s A/C or enjoy the sea breeze up deck.”

– Brad, (Boat Tour St Petersburg FL REVIEWS)
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Final Thoughts on Boat Tours St Pete

According to public ratings and personal experience, these are the best watersports in St Petersburg. However, this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg regarding the wide variety of activities that Florida’s sunshine city offers.

Here are top-rated tours in St Petersburg and hotels to help better plan your trip.

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Authored By: Erin
Welcome to Erin’s Travel Tips, a Florida Travel Website. I specialize in unique family travel destinations, outdoor getaways in Florida and beyond! I’m a proud Floridian who loves a good cup of coffee, boating, and of course, traveling with my family to some of the most interesting places in the world.

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