Boating & Watersports
S’up? SUP, of course. Not to mention kayaking, sightseeing boat tours by, speed boat rides, family-friendly pirate ship excursions, and romantic sunset cruises It’s no exaggeration to say that St. Pete/Clearwater is a boating and watersports paradise.
With the Gulf of Mexico, the Intracoastal Waterway, Tampa Bay, Boca Ciega Bay and others as scenic backdrops for your adventure on the water, you can’t go wrong. Bonus: Beautiful weather year-round means getting out on the water here is a breeze.
Get Out on the Water!
Blue skies, calm waters and time off from work... you've found the perfect ingredients for a great vacation day. Watch our water sports videos to explore some great options.
Nature & Sightseeing Tours by Boat
Love being on the water and seeing wildlife, but not an experienced boater? No worries. Guided nature tours by boat will help you see local birds and animals. Learn about the dolphin population in Clearwater Bay on a dolphin and wildlife boat tour from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and see how scientists collect data to help protect local sea life. If you're near the St. Pete Pier, the Tampa Bay Discovery Center also offers nature tours. If you’re a seashell collector, head south to Pass-a-Grille Beach to catch a boat tour to Shell Key Preserve where you can spend a few peaceful hours on an unspoiled barrier island.
Catch the ferry to Egmont Key State Park to explore the remains of Spanish American War-era Fort Dade in this pristine wildlife refuge set in the mouth of Tampa Bay. The captain will point out wildlife such as dolphins, manatees and ospreys during the short ferry ride. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, rays and crabs as you swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear water around the island.
Drive north to Tarpon Springs to take a boat tour around this Greek enclave, with narration about the town’s historic sponge trade. Afterwards, stop in for a meal at one of the many Greek restaurants along the sponge docks.
St. Pete/Clearwater’s fiery sunsets are legendary – and you just can’t beat a front-row seat on the water. Head to Hubbard’s Marina at John’s Pass to join a sunset sail into the Gulf and toast the end of a perfect vacation day. You can even catch a ride on a floating tiki at sunset from John's Pass - a truly awesome experience! Sail out of Clearwater Beach Marina on the Schooner Clearwater for a relaxing, romantic sunset cruise. Feel like having a night out on the town – on a boat? Reserve a spot on the StarLite Majesty for a dinner cruise on the 115-foot yacht that sails out of either Clearwater Beach or St. Pete Beach.
Ahoy, matey! If you have little ones in tow, they'll love one of our pirate cruises.
Family Fun on the Water
Set sail on the Pirate Ship Royal Conquest out of John’s Pass or Captain Memo’s Original Pirate Cruise from Clearwater Marina. These pirate-themed ships offer all the treasure hunts, face painting, water gun battles and pirate stories your kids can handle.
For little daredevils and hard-to-please teenagers, the Sea Screamer is an awesome choice, billing itself as “the world’s largest speedboat.” Hold onto your hat as this sleek 72-foot boat speeds along the beaches, and watch for the dolphins that leap in the boat’s wake.
Rent a Boat
If you want the freedom to roam on your own, renting a small powerboat can made for a perfect day on the water. You can go island hopping among tiny islands and sandbars, stopping to put out anchor and swim, or dock at a waterfront restaurant for some fresh seafood.
Kayaking, Canoeing and Paddleboarding
Our waters are shallow and calm - perfect for exploring by kayak, canoe or paddleboard. Check out the Pinellas County Blueways paddling trail, which is divided into sections and includes points of interest along the way. Paddle a kayak through dense mangrove tunnels at Weedon Island Preserve on the shore of Tampa Bay (tip: look for mangrove crabs and roseate spoonbills). Rent a kayak on the Dunedin Causeway to paddle over to pristine Caladesi Island State Park (or take the ferry over, then rent a kayak once you land at the marina there) – you’ll have access to gorgeous beaches as well as a three-mile mangrove trail. In Tierra Verde, take a guided tour in a clear kayak from Get Up and Go Kayaking. In Madeira Beach, try an LED-lit glass-bottom kayak tour from Sharkey’s Glass Bottom Tours for an unforgettable nighttime experience.
SUP or stand-up paddleboarding has become super-popular, and you can rent a board almost anywhere you can rent a kayak or other water sports equipment in the area.
Jet Ski and Waverunner Rentals
For those with a need for speed, renting a Jet Ski or Waverunner is an exciting way to explore the area. Zoom over the flat waters of Tampa Bay or the gentle swells of the Gulf, catching air from crest to crest. Try Sand Key Power Sports, just south of Clearwater Beach, or Mad Beach Boat Rentals near Madeira Beach - or look for Jet Ski and WaveRunner rentals at your hotel or a marina near you.
Windsurfing and Kiteboarding
Windsurfing and its crazier cousin, kiteboarding, aren’t easy sports to just jump into, but the thrills are amazing. Sign up for a lesson with Elite Watersports in South St. Pete or North Beach Windsurfing in St. Pete Beach or to get the hang of these adrenaline-inducing watersports. The protected areas near the Sunshine Skyway causeway offer the perfect combination of flat water and steady breezes – this is a great place to watch the kiteboarding action on a windy day, whether or not you want to try this adventure sport.
You can snorkel right off any of our beaches and expect to see small fish and crabs; our conditions are generally ideal, with clear, warm waters. One of the best places to snorkel is off Egmont Key – you can even take a snorkeling tour to find the best spots. Honeymoon and Caladesi islands are state parks with beautiful beaches - both are good places to snorkel.