Have you ever heard of bioluminescent kayaking? Once you learn what a cool experience it is, you’ll understand why this awesome adventure definitely belongs on your bucket list.
Picture this. A beautiful, clear, warm summer night in Florida. You and your travel buddies are on the adventure of a lifetime, kayaking through a tranquil lagoon.
And each time your paddle cuts through the water, a bewitching phenomenon occurs. Something that looks like magic. What is it?
Bioluminescent plankton. That’s right, you can experience this natural wonder right in The Sunshine State!
Want to know more? Keep reading to learn why bioluminescent kayaking belongs on your bucket list and for all the information you need. Let’s get started.
How Bioluminescence Works
When you first witness bioluminescence with your own eyes, it may appear to be a miracle. And indeed, it is a miracle of natural science. Here’s how it works.
Bioluminescence is the production of light caused by a chemical reaction within a living organism. This reaction occurs because of the chemicals luciferase, photoprotein, and luciferin. Luciferin is the one that is one that produces the light, due to a rearrangement of its molecules.
In Florida’s lagoons, two creatures are responsible for bioluminescent sightings. Dinoflagellates, or bioluminescent marine plankton, are the first. They are commonly nicknamed “sea sparkle”.
The second is comb jellyfish. These jellies are ancient organisms who naturally experience bioluminescence when disturbed.
When to Go Bioluminescent Kayaking
Because bioluminescence requires darkness in order to be enjoyed, nighttime tours are a must. But when is the best time of year to see this natural light show?
Summer months are your best bet for seeing these plankton in action. Anytime between mid-May and the beginning of October will give you the best experience.
Furthermore, try to plan your nighttime kayaking excursion around five days after a full moon. This time of the month will provide you with the absolute perfect lighting for your adventure.
How to Prepare for Your Tour
What should you bring to get the most out of your bioluminescent kayaking trip? Let’s break it down.
Leave the Technology at Home
If you’re a lover of traveling with technology, think of this tour as an opportunity to take a breather. Because on your excursion, you will most likely get wet.
Also, this natural phenomenon is virtually impossible to photograph. So, soak it in by enjoying the moment with loved ones!
Bring Bug Spray
Especially after heavy rainfall, mosquitos may be present on your tour. Make sure to protect yourself and your family from insect bites by packing and using bug repellent spray.
What should you wear on your kayaking excursion? We recommend comfortable long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. This will help to further protect you from insects and keep you warm.
What to Pack
When packing a small bag or backpack for your adventure, don’t forget the essentials. Include a water bottle, snacks, and a dry change of clothes for maximum comfort.
How Much Does It Cost?
Generally speaking, a bioluminescent kayaking tour will cost around $40-$50. But the price depends on the tour company, the time of year, and the day of the week (weekends are often pricier).
You may not have access to a restroom for up to two hours, depending on the length of your chosen tour. Plan ahead to make sure you know where you will be able to use the facilities- and make sure that you take advantage!
What Happens During a Tour?
Curious what a bioluminescence tour is like? Let’s dive in.
Safety is taken very seriously on these kayaking tours. You will be provided with a kayak, paddle, life vest, safety whistle, and glow stick.
Takeoff Begins at Dusk
Your tour will begin around dusk. This way, you’ll have enough light to begin your journey, and by the time you arrive at your destination, it will be dark enough for you to enjoy the brilliance of the bioluminescent plankton in full. And, don’t worry, the journey through the gentle lagoon will be an easy one, suitable for most ages.
How Big Are Tour Groups?
Tours are usually done in groups of around ten people, with both single and double kayaks. Each group will have its own knowledgeable leader.
Other Creatures to Look out for
While you’re out on the water, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for other amazing creatures in the water. From mullet fish (who jump out of the water and create their own special show) to dolphins, there are tons of beauties to look out for.
Where to See Bioluminescence in Florida
If you’re interested in going for a Florida bioluminescent kayak excursion, you’re in luck. There are multiple locations where you can see this natural wonder. Keep reading to learn about the best locations.
Indian River Lagoon Bioluminescence
The Indian River Lagoon was created by the flow from two rivers, the Banana River and the Indian River. You may also hear the Indian River Lagoon referred to as the “bio bay” of Florida.
In warmer months, you can see the famous glow of bioluminescent plankton. And in colder months, you’ll see the natural beauty of comb jellyfish!
Mosquito Lagoon Kayaking
Mosquito Lagoon is also connected to the Indian River Lagoon system but is its own body of water. Its well-known for its nature tours, inhabiting manatee, dolphins, gorgeous birds, and many species of fish. As well as, of course, bioluminescent plankton!
How to Choose the Right Tour for You
The coast of Florida has quite a stretch of bioluminescent lagoons and tour companies to choose from. Research the options that are closest to your home or hotel, and what sights they offer at the time of year when you’re planning your trip.
As you can see, bioluminescent kayaking in Florida is a must-add to your bucket list. It’s enchanting, breathtaking, and downright magical.
Just remember to plan ahead and do your research to find the best tour for you and your travel buddies. And that these tours are best enjoyed by living in the moment!
Looking for more great advice? Check out more travel tips here. And have fun!