Discovery, exploration, and adventure aboard The Dolphin Explorer!

Get to know our local dolphins on our Marco Island dolphin cruise – both fun and educational! Launched February 1, 2006, the 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project is a long-term study of the abundance, distribution, movement, association patterns, and behavior of bottlenose dolphins of Southwest Florida.

The Project is the only on-going study of wild dolphins in SW Florida and the only one in the United States that engages and is supported by the general public.

Using ‘photo-identification,’ our dolphins are recognized by their dorsal fins which act as their ‘fingerprints.’

You have the opportunity to participate in locating, counting, and confirming of individual dolphin sightings on our exciting Marco Island eco-tour. For more about the study, visit our dolphin survey results.

Rated 5 Stars on TripAdvisor

Highlight of our trip!

DEC 2019 We cant wait to do this again! From beginning to end, great experience, wonderful and knowledgeable team, beautiful trip and the experience of being up close with the amazing playful dolphins...perfect!!!

– Trip Advisor
Family had great and educational time on the Dolphin Explorer

DEC 2019 The Dolphin Explorer trip was highly recommended and it did not fail to impress us. The crew was extremely knowledgeable about dolphins and how to find them in the gulf and nearby waterways. We learned so much about dolphins and other animals in the area. Loved it.

– Trip Advisor
Fantastic enthusiastic crew! 3 hour trip

NOV 2019 This is really a great boat trip. The crew are really knowledgeable and are able to spot dolphins accurately. We saw at least 30 dolphins which was great fun. You can spot lots of birds including ospreys on the trip. They let customers disembark on a island for shelling. This is one of the best boat trips we have been on.

– Trip Advisor
Wonderful time

OCT 2019 The knowledgeable crew and staff made the excursion one of the best trips I've had in a while. We were able to see 13 dolphins and 2 manatee in 3 hrs. The boat has plenty of room to move around, plenty of water to stay cool too. Definitely on my list to do again next time in Marco.

– Trip Advisor
Close up dolphin viewing

NOV 2019 As regular visitors to Marco it can be a challenge to find things to do on this small quiet island. My brother-in-law heard a speech by one of the Explorer naturalists last year which put this on our radar screen. They've got a bright and shiny deck-style boat that's pretty large and can hold up to 49. As we were taking the morning 3-hour tour (9 am) on a Friday in November, there were only 14 of us booked including our group of six and only two little kids. (Note: while the boat is nice and big with bench seating around the perimeter, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much with a big crowd). The boat is mostly shaded with a large awning over 90% of the structure. Right away we started seeing dolphins and what was even more interesting was how close the dolphins come to the boat. They seem to like looking at us as much as we do them. They also followed the boat for quite a while, playing in our wake. An added bonus is that the company has chronicled the births of dolphins around Marco for 13 years so they can pretty much identify the dolphins (they all have names) by their dorsal fins. They have books for passengers to use in the identification process. Free bottled water is provided (as much as you want) and they have a small marine toilet on board as well for comfort. After watching the dolphins in a couple of different spots, they set you ashore on one of the island's remote beaches where you can go shelling - they even give you a bag to keep. They even take your group's photo on the beach and print out pictures for you for free as well which is a nice souvenir of your day. This was a nice activity and I'd definitely recommend it to people visiting the area.

– Trip Advisor
Dolphin Tour

NOV 2019 My wife and I went on this tour on Nov 1. What a great tour. We were with naturalist Bob and Captain Eddie. We were able to identify 14 dolphin and saw over twenty. We even received 3 beautiful pictures of dolphin and manatee. We also observed unusual behavior by a young manatee and actually called wildlife services and they came out and took the wounded animal. WHAT A GREAT DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

– Trip Advisor
A Great trip for all ages

OCT 2019 I went out with 2 girlfriends as a test run for grandkids coming to visit. Michael and Kent did a wonderful job entertaining as well as educating us about dolphins as well as the birds we saw. It’s always nice to be out on the water. The boat itself was very comfortable and easy to move around since things happened on both sides of the boat. The stop on Tigertail beach was fantastic if you were looking to do some shelling. We pulled right up onto the beach which made exiting the boat pretty simple. At the end of our trip we were given printed photos of our group as well as some of the dolphins/birds we saw. I would highly recommend this experience for anyone who wants to get a closer look at our Florida wildlife from the water. We did not make a reservation but during Season it would be a good idea

– Trip Advisor
Excellent Experience!

OCTOBER 2019 A fantastic experience on the Dolphin Explorer. Captain Michael & naturalist Bob we’re so knowledgeable about the dolphin and Marco Island wildlife and made the trip a great experience. We managed to see 18 different dolphin & many species of bird. A not to be missed opportunity, I would highly recommend this. Thank you Michael & Bob, you were terrific.

– Trip Advisor
Dolphins everywhere!

OCTOBER 2019 Captain Mike and Keith were so knowledgeable about the Dolphins, a wonderful experience to see so many and some with their babies, and learn more about these amazing animals. Highly recommend this experience.

– Trip Advisor
Amazing Cannot miss experience!

OCTOBER 2019 My daughter and I took the tour for her 8th birthday and had the most amazing experience! Captain Eddie was great and Mr. Bob was our naturalist and was so funny and knowledgeable. We saw So many dolphins - it was beyond our wildest dreams. While I think we probably lucked out with the massive volume of time we got with the dolphins, I trust that most charters get a great opportunity to see these amazing mammals of the sea! We even got a manatee sighting and Captain Eddie was very careful and took his time to make sure we got to enjoy them. Mr. Bob was amazing and treated everyone so special, but he went out of his way to make my daughter feel so very special for her birthday. She said it was the best birthday ever and it was really something very special! If you have a special moment to enjoy or just want a nice outing to see a lot of great views you wouldn’t see just driving around the typical tour spots don’t miss this opportunity to spend with great and very knowledgeable folks - and ENJOY!!!!

– Trip Advisor
Great trip. Lots to see

OCTOBER 2019 This was a wonderful dolphin tour. Our guide Kenneth and the boat captain Michael were very knowledgeable. They told us about all the dolphin in the area and gave us a book showing the local dolphins by name. They explained how you could recognize the different dolphin by their dorsal fin. It was fun for adults and kids alike.

– Trip Advisor
Delightful dolphins

OCTOBER 2019 Fabulous trip. Multiple dolphin sightings at a number of locations. On board staff are qualified naturalists and very informative. Shelling time on great beach yielded bag of beautiful shells. Will repeat on next trip to Marco Island.

– Trip Advisor
Fabulous way to spend 3 hours!

AUGUST 2019 Informative, extremely well managed & thoroughly enjoyable 3 hours spent with Captain Michael & Bob learning all about the dolphins. Plenty of sightings along with manatees and various birds. Excursion took 3 hours with 30 mins for shelling. Shelling bags, plentiful iced water and restroom facilities all provided on this new boat along with souvenir personal photos. Tour is suitable for children and adults of all ages & we had a great time. Thank you!

– Trip Advisor
Great excursion!

AUGUST 2019 At Dolphin Explorer reception, greeted nicely then on time taken to new, comfortable and spacious pontoon boat with “head”. Both Captain Michael and Master Naturalist Bob were exceptional guides and hosts making sure we had the best experience keeping us steady, informed and hydrated with water. Then off to find dolphins which we did spotting at least 12. Master Bob gave excellent information and was an exceptional presenter for children to become involved as young scientist but also for everyone to learn and share in his excitement about dolphins. We identified dolphins, birds and spotted a new baby too. What an educational adventurer. Our three-hour tour was wonderful.

– Trip Advisor
Perfect boat trip among the dolphin and manatee!

AUGUST 2019 We are a family of five from the UK with three mid teen kids 14-16. We all had a wonderful trip and experience on the Dolphin Explorer last week with captain Eddie and marine biologist Bob. We saw 19 of the resident dolphins plus several manatee. The trip was not simply dolphin spotting but an educational experience as Bob provides, in a very easy yet knowledgeable way, much insight and information about the dolphins and their offspring that live off Marco Island. Great photo opportunities including dolphins playing and surfing in our wake and a lovely stop on a quiet beach for a paddle and shell collecting. Suitable for all ages. Thank guys!

– Trip Advisor
Great Trip!!

AUGUST 2019 We saw dolphins, manatees, birds, dolphins, dolphins, and dolphins Oh My! Kids had a great time. Fun activities for the kids to make them feel like explorers

– Trip Advisor
Beautiful, Educational and Fun!

July 2019 We caught an afternoon tour and enjoyed the best part of 3 hours observing, engaging with and learning about the wildlife of the local area. We had a group of 10 people so were spoiled by our access to the hosts and their wealth of knowledge. Some groups can be up to 40 or so in size so I would check locally when you are there what the quiet tours are likely to be. Id say you can book very near to the time you want to take the tour, or you certainly can in July time. The wildlife principally comprised of Dolphins who were engaging and playful. We were told almost every single tour gets dolphins around it so you should have success if this is your goal. We certainly did, several times for 10-20 mins each time, so I can believe the success they claim

– Trip Advisor
Captain Bob is AWESOME!

JULY 2019 This trip is an absolute must if you are anywhere near the Naples area of Miami saw so many dolphins all of which we were told the life story of by the amazing Captain Bob and Captain Mike truly a trip of a lifetime - shell picking of the beach made the trip extra special if I could give this trip five stars I would.

– Trip Advisor
A Brilliant Trip

JULY 2019 A group of six of us - grandparents, parents and teens. We joined the Dolphin Explorer yesterday and had the most wonderful afternoon seeing dolphins and also a rare treat of some manatee. A spectacular trip on a boat which had great sun shelter and plenty of water available. (There was also a nice clean loo!). Our guide and captain were brilliant - so much knowledge. Plenty of space on the boat for everyone to see. Our stop off to swim and collect shells was very relaxed. We were given printed photos of the dolphins and manatee that we had seen as well as a photo of our group. Lovely little touches that made a difference. Thanks we had a wonderful time and would do it again.

– Trip Advisor
FAMILY HOLIDAY

JULY 2019 This was a trip for my wife’s Birthday during our family holiday to Marco Island, Bob and Eddie were great and were very knowledgeable. We managed to see over 18 different Dolphins including some young. Apart from the weather, bit cloudy and wet( not Bob and Eddie’s fault) all 8 of us had a really great time. Totally recommend this trip

– Trip Advisor
Great morning, learning,exploring nd discovering

JUNE 2019 Go for a great boat ride on their new super wide spacious boat with Capt Eddie and Bob. You will learn how to identify the dolphins in the area. They have the dolphins documented and study them by their dorsal fin markings. It’s a lot of fun. Children are provided a clip board and a fun activity to track all wildlife. At the end, it’s discussed and kids receive a patch as a keepsake. There is a head on board, plenty of shaded areas and water bottles available for all. Bring your towel, wear your bathing suit, sunglasses, flip flops and and adventurous attitude for a great morning on Marco Island .

– Trip Advisor
Wonderful!

JUNE 2019 This was our second year in a row touring with The Dolphin Explorer. They are very knowledgeable of the Dolphins, Water Ways and Birds. They have the children get involved with their own books to keep track of all Dolphins and Birds that are spotted. They take a pit stop on a secluded island to go shelling! At the end, you get a photo of your group and of the Dolphins. I would highly recommend this tour when you visit Marco Island!

– Trip Advisor
Amazing !

JUNE 2019 We loved our cruise . This was our 3rd time out with Dolphin Explorers and we’ll be back. The kids loved being a part of the cruise and study of the dolphins. I enjoyed all of the knowledge that Kent and the Captain had of the dolphins and water.

– Trip Advisor
Totally worth it!

JUNE 2019 My wife and I are always looking for something to do with our 2 children which can be tricky with a 16 and 14 year old, but this the perfect choice. Mike, the captain, and Kent, the naturalist, were the two gentlemen who took care of us today. They were super friendly and very knowledgeable. We saw more than our share of dolphins, various birds and had a cool shelling experience on the beach. Well worth it and would do it again in a heartbeat.

– Trip Advisor
Fun and Educational!

JUNE 2019 This is a great family tour!! The naturalist interacts with kids very well and treats them like scientists and students!! We got to see a lot of dolphins and the amount of time shelling was just perfect. I would highly recommend this to anyone with kids under 12!!!!

– Trip Advisor
Dolphins and Shells!

JUNE 2019 Great experience! We saw many dolphins, manatees and other wildlife. We also learned a lot of interesting information and facts. Tranquil boat ride with a lot of activity for the kids. We also stopped at an island for shelling. The best shells I have ever found!

– Trip Advisor
Worth the cost!

JUNE 2019 We went on the Eco-tour with a group of 12. Ages 6-45. We all had a great time and BONUS, we learned a ton. This was my second time on the tour. This time was on a new BIG, covered boat (which is great with the FL sun). Part is uncovered so you can be in the sun if you want. We saw at least 10 dolphin and a manatee. Guides were great and full of stories and information. Highly recommend!

– Trip Advisor
Always something to see for young and old!

MAY 2019 We went on the Eco-tour with a group of 12. Ages 6-45. We all had a great time and BONUS, we learned a ton. This was my second time on the tour. This time was on a new BIG, covered boat (which is great with the FL sun). Part is uncovered so you can be in the sun if you want. We saw at least 10 dolphin and a manatee. Guides were great and full of stories and information. Highly recommend!

– Trip Advisor
Wonderful Fun and Educational Experience

MAY 2019 We have taken the Dolphin Explorer over 6 times and each time it is one of the best activities we do on Marco Island. Bob and Captain Mike are terrific and each viisit we have seen multiple dolphins, both babies , mothers and " teenage " dolphins. The crew and naturalists on the Dolphin Explore have extensive knowledge about the doiphins and wildlife in the area. It is a great treat when the dolphins decide to play in the wake of the boat. Ww will be back again .

– Trip Advisor
BEST day ever!

MAY 2019 We had a great day Bob was fantastic not only with his knowledge but encouraging the children to be dolphin explorers, so much so my daughter now wants to become a marine biologist (she's 9!) I can not reccomend this trip highly enough, captain Eddie was determined for us to find dolphins and that we did. We came across a dolphin family reunion and Eddie managed to get the dolphins to play with the boat we had around 8 dolphins playing in the boats wake which was just awesome to see. We then landed at the barrier island which was beautiful and we found lots of beautiful shells including a sand dollar. I think it's modestly price for the experience you have

– Trip Advisor
The Best Experience out there !

MAY 2019 If there is one experience to do in Marco this is it. Bob is the most knowledgeable out there. Mike was a great captain! We saw dolphins, manatees, birds, and more. The new boat is amazing! So roomy and a lot of shade. You learn so much about the dolphins and really feel special on this tour. I recommend this to everyone. It is fun and educational.

– Trip Advisor
5- STAR Family Outing

MAY 2019 Bob the naturalist and Captain Mike couldn’t have been better hosts. Bob has an intimate knowledge of area dolphins & shorebirds, & he engaged both children and adults alike in appreciating Marco’s wildlife. Captain Mike provided safety info before the trip and piloted the comfortable boat like a pro.

– Trip Advisor
A FANTASTIC family experience!

MAY 2019 My husband, our three children (11, 12, & 14), and I went on the 3-hour dolphin explorer tour, and the experience was wonderful! We saw 12 dolphins, a bald eagle, a lot of different birds, a manatee, and (almost) a sea turtle (it dove underwater - some folks got to see it swimming there and others missed it). My family was thrilled about seeing all of the different animals, and Bob, the very knowledgeable naturalist, thoughtfully engaged each person on the boat to answer questions, describe the animals we were seeing and how he identified them. The captain, the new tour boat, the knowledgable and kind naturalist, beautiful sunny day, as well as the cooperating animals made it a trip that we will always remember!

– Trip Advisor