Did you know Florida has a bioluminescent bay that has more glowing plankton than almost anywhere else? And due to its easy access, it is one of the best places in the world to do bioluminescent kayaking.
True! Unlike the famous bay in Puerto Rico which requires a 2-hour boat ride, and a 1-hour drive, you can see just as bright glowing algae on Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. This is a great alternative for travelers who want to see this natural phenomenon right here in the continental USA.
We take you on bioluminescent kayaking night tours and rafting adventures throughout the year. They are easy to book online, and or call to book the same day. This is a Florida Must-Do Tour! Read on!
Bioluminescence looks different throughout the year. The photos you see of it must be taken at the height of the season, in perfect conditions (mid – late summer, new moon). It is harder to see when a full moon is shining on the water. On your tour, the bioluminescence may range from sparks and greenish light in the water, to flashing comb jellies in winter. If you want to paddle in bioluminescence that looks like the photos, it is best to come in the height of the season. That is when the plankton shines a bright, bright blue. The Indian River Lagoon in Florida has the most documented research on dinoflagellates (glowing algae), and there is no light pollution on the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge which makes it one of the best places in the world to see this phenomenon. Bioluminescence is always amazing to see, but please note that it can only be photographed in the perfect conditions. BK Adventure does not guarantee any type of wildlife at any time as that would be impossible to do, but we do try to keep you updated in conditions. Please see our trip logs here.
Bioluminescent Plankton (Dinoflagellates) – This type of bioluminescence covers the water so it glows an other-worldly blue or green color when your paddle, hands or kayak disturb it. If you pick it up and play with it, it will create sparkles on your hands and arms. Your guide will show you how to kayak at night. It is important to go with a guide who knows the area, as the best times to go are on low moon shine nights.
Glowing Comb Jellies – These are NOT jellyfish as the name might suggest. They are jelly-like sea creatures that glow in the water. Some kayakers actually like this bioluminescent kayaking tour more than the popular dinoflagellate tours. On this tour, your BK Adventure guide brings a net and some containers so you can hold the glowing comb jellies. Remember, they are not jellyfish, so they do not sting. They are fun! This is a great experience for kids. For children under 6, or those who cannot kayak, we recommend the rafting tour.
Summer May – Nov – The water heats up and the bioluminescent plankton (dinoflagellates) start to glow. This is a perfect time for kayaking as the nights cool down and you are out of the sun, but the water stays warm. You will see the river light up with sparks of bio as you paddle through the water. This is especially amazing in our Clear Kayaks!
Autumn/Winter Nov – Mar – This is Comb Jelly weather. In certain areas where we kayak, the water will cool down and bring out the glowing comb jellies! We start this early in October as part of our Sunset Tour. For the month of October, you can do both types of Bioluminescent Tours in Florida. Some areas will have Comb Jellies, and other areas will still be warm enough to see the plankton that covers the water.