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Swim With The Dolphins in Florida Gulf Coast!


You may have heard about "swimming with the dolphins along Florida's Gulf Coast and thought that sounds really great, but how do you do it? Where? When? Is it expensive?

It's actually much easier and not expensive! Here's what you need to know! Dolphins are intelligent and social marine mammals that are known for their playful and acrobatic behaviors. There are over 40 species of dolphins, ranging in size from just over 3 feet to more than 30 feet in length. They are found in oceans and seas around the world, and are often spotted swimming in groups or pods. Swimming with dolphins has become a popular tourist activity in many Florida coastal areas and even in inland lagoons. We only list reputable organizations that prioritize the welfare of the dolphins, such as those that offer dolphin encounters in the wild or in well-maintained and spacious enclosures. Dolphins are fascinating and charismatic animals that have captured the imagination of humans for centuries. Swimming with dolphins can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows you to get up close and personal with these intelligent creatures.

What actually are dolphins, anyway?

You probably already heard them called "sea cows", but you better not try to milk one! Not because there are dangerous, quite the contrary! Here are some facts about dolphins:

  • Dolphins are mammals, not fish.Where to swim with dolphins in Florida
  • Dolphins are highly intelligent.
  • Dolphins are usually gentle, but they do have their own personalities and moods.
  • Dolphin adults can be 13 feet long and weigh 1300 pounds. ( 4.0 metres /s 590 kilograms )
  • Dolphins inhabit the shallow, marshy coastal areas and rivers of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the Amazon basin, and West Africa.

What does it mean, to "swim with the dolphins"?

Here's how it works:

  • You usually get between and introduction and training
  • Each facility is different: some allow swimming with the dolphins, others it isp[oolside, some you interact from a small boat.
  • If the water is cold, you put on a wet suit (72 degrees Fahrenheit may sound warm, but even the experienced guides say you'll get cold after 10 minutes of that. Unless of course, you are as big as a dolphin...)

What's it like?

Each experience is different. Read the descriptions below and follow the links to their website.

What about dangers, like sharks and alligators?

  • Sharks can't get into an aquarium, pool or sealed lagoon
  • Alligators are reptiles. They need warm fresh water. No alligators.

Important tips:

  • Shop around, tour boat company prices vary!

How to select a dolphin tour guide company

These companies are everywhere in Florida, even inland in the Orlando area..

Contact info and prices

Prices typical run from about $30 per person to $120/person. It depends on the size of your group, the amenities and varies from one tour company to another.


  • Fort Walton Beach  Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park -
    1010 Miracle Strip Parkway SE Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548.
    Phone: 850-243-9046. Email: 2023 price: Price: $42.00. For ages: 5 and up. Duration: ~5 minutes
    Get up close and personal with our dolphin pod during this exhilarating experience. Experience a training session with one of our dolphins with one of our very own Marine Mammal Trainers! You will have the opportunity to feed, touch, and learn about the dolphins we have here at the Gulfarium. You will also learn about the dolphins that live right here in the Gulf of Mexico and why it is so important to protect this species.
  • Gulf World Marine Park
    15412 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, FL.
    Phone: 850-234-5271
    2023 cost (General Admission Ticket): $29 for adults (12+) – $19 for children (5-11) – $24.99 for seniors (55).
    In addition to swimming with dolphins, the aquarium has sea lions, sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and countless fish.
    You will receive training and lessons about dolphins then swim with them. There are also shows featuring dolphins and sea lions.
    Open: from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm.

Southeast Florida

  •  Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder
    31 Corrine PI, Key Largo, FL.
    Phone: 305-451-1993.
    2023 cost: see their website for the ticket price.
    From children from as young as 7 years up you may swim with dolphins and sea lions in either the manmade dolphin lagoon or the natural lagoon. 
    Open from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm.
  •  Miami Seaquarium
    4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL.  
    Phone: (305) 361-5705.
    2023 cost: $49 – $55 .
    The Miami Seaquarium also has penguins, whales, manatees, rays, sea turtles, and much more.
    It is one of the few places where you ride the dolphins!
    Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm.

Orlando area

  • Aquatica Orlando
    5800 Water Play Way, Orlando, FL.
    Phone: (407) 513-4600.
    2023 cost: $89 for adults (10+) – $59.95 for children (3-9) 
    Your don't actually swim with the dolphins, you slide through a tube through the middle of an aquarium that contains dolphins and other sea mammals. 
    It opens daily from 10.30 am to 5 pm.
  • Discovery Cove Florida
    6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, Florida.
    Phone: (407) 513-4600.
    2023 cost: Check their website.
    A ticket to swim with the dolphins also includes other activities offered at the resort. 
    Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. but you are expected to arrive between 7 am to 8.30 am.
  • Walt Disney World Resort, Epcot,
    200 Epcot Center Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL.
    2023 cost: From $200 per adult depending on the season
     At Walt Disney Resort, you get a 3-hour swimming session with dolphins. You also get a photo-op. It's a 2 hour experience, during which you interact with dolphins in waist-deep water for approximately 30 minutes.
    You also view backstage areas and learn about Disney's dolphin care program. Also, learn about training and research and participate in conversations about global issues affecting ocean life. Advance reservations are highly recommended, as availability is limited.Make reservations online or via the My Disney Experience app.
  • SeaWorld Orlando
    7007 Sea World Drive, Orlando, Florida.
    Phone: 407-545-5550.
    2023 cost: $50 and up, See their website
    SeaWorld Orlando is a marine  theme park which is one of the most visited amusement parks in the country.  
    Dolphin Cove is a giant aquarium where you can have 15-minute session with the dolphins. You are allowed to touch them and a 5 minutes one-on-one interaction with dolphins. 
    Open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, and Saturday to Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm.Dolphin Research Center on maps.


  • Dolphin Connection
    61 Hawks Cay Boulevard, Duck Key, FL.
    Phone: (305) 289-9975.
    2023 cost: Check their website for the ticket price. Open to children of all ages, even infants, to interact with dolphins. 
    Open daily from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm.
  • Dolphin Research Center
    58901 Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, FL.
    Phone: (305) 289-0002.
    2023 cost: $210 for dolphin encounter.
    This is a non-profit research and education facility in Marathon with sea lions and dolphins. In the Dolphin Encounter program you can swim, shake hands, and touch dolphins.
    Open daily from 9 am to 4.30 pm.

  • Key West Fury Water Adventures -
    631 Greene St, Key West, FL. Phone: 866-841-3357.

  • Theater of the Sea
    84721 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL.
    Phone: 305.664.2431
    2023 cost: Swimms with dolphons, sharks, sea lions, mantarays from $75 to $225
    General admission  $44.95 for adults (11+) – $22.95 for children (3-10) (prices are exclusive of tax)
    A 20 to 30 minute swim with sea lions, nurse sharks, stingrays and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.
    Theater of the Sea also has the Dorsal Tow program in which visitors hang on to the dolphins fin and ride around the lagoon in a small boat.
    Open daily from 9.30 am to 5 pm.

Gulf Coast - Tampa area

  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium
    249 Windward Passage, Clearwater, Florida.
    Phone: 727-441-1790.
    2023 cost: $35.95 for adults (13+) – $26.95 for children (3-12) – $33.95 for seniors (60+).
    You interact with dolphins from poolside but do not actually get in the water and swim with them.
    Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

Northeast Florida, Atlantic coast

  • Marineland Dolphin Adventure
    9600 N Ocean Shore Boulevard, St. Augustine, FL.
    Phone: 407.563.4701.
    2023 cost: $21.99 for adults (12+) – $14.99 for children (5-11) – $20.99 for seniors (60+)
    Adults and children who can swim can choose from three options:
    1. Royal Swim, a dolphin will push you above the water from your feet, a dorsal tow, handshake, kiss, and caresses. 
    2. Dolphin Encounter - a one-on-one encounter with dolphins. 
    3. Swim Adventure - a belly ride with the dolphins
    The Marineland Dolphin Adventure is part of the Georgia Aquarium project in Atlanta.
    Open daily from 9 am to 4.30 pm.

Swimming With The Dolphins in FloridaCamping tips

There are many camping areas in the nearby Withlacoochee State Forest. And since the winter months are the best time to swim with the dolphins, the campgrounds should not be full!

Camping and cabin reservations can be made using one of the following methods:Florida Parks Map

book a cabin or campsite at one of our Florida State Parks. Just visit the new Florida State Parks Campground Reservations site or call toll free at 1-800-326-3521 or TDD 888-433-0287 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern time.​​ You can buy day passes there, too.
• Online -
• Call center - 800-326-3521 or TDD 888-433-0287 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time.
• At a park - Visitors can contact the park directly to make reservations for primitive sites, primitive group camps and developed group camps.

Most state parks are open 8 a.m. to sundown, 365 days a year. Visitors may make campsite or cabin reservations before 1 p.m. on the same day until 11 months in advance.

Cabin reservations may be made from one day up to 11 months in advance of your arrival date.

Reservations can be made beyond 11 months only when the reservation period starts within the 11-month period and ends outside that period. The result is reservations could extend 11 months and 14 days in the future.

Campgrounds near Swimming With The Dolphins in Florida in Florida

  • Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort -
    4510 North Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830. Phone: (407) 824-2900.
    Yes, you can camp on the park at Universal Orlando. They have several options, including Fully-Equipped Campsites for tents to 45-foot and bigger RVs. There is a limit of 10 Guests per site, so leave cousin Randy at the trailer...
    They have a swimming pool, illuminated at night, with a waterslide and a whirlpool spa. They also offer archery, horseback riding and canoeing . They have a pet-friendly policy
    When we looked in September 2021, they were booked up until May 2022, except for a few last minute dates, and the average price was $106 (tent site) up to about $200 for premium RV sites, all plus tax and fees. Book 6 months to a year in advance!
    This campground is about 10 minutes from Walt Universal Orlando Resort, 24 minutes to Universal Orlando and 17 minutes to SeaWorld.
  • Thousand Trails Orlando RV Camping -
    2110 Thousand Trails Blvd, Clermont, FL 34714. Reservations (Member): 1-800-388-7788. Reservations (Non-member): 1-888-481-6348. Ranger Station: 352-394-7575.
    Open Year Round. Number of Sites: 1017. 255-acre RV campground. This campground is about 20 minutes from Walt Universal Orlando Resort, 40 minutes to Universal Orlando and 33 minutes to SeaWorld.
  • Tropical Palms -
    2650 Holiday Trail, Kissimmee, FL 34746. Open Year Round Call: (877) 570-2267.
    343 sites. Our resort offers spacious private cottages and RV site rentals set on 69 beautiful sun-kissed acres in Kissimmee, Florida. We are 4 miles from Walt Universal Orlando Resort, 11 miles from the Orange County Convention Center, and within walking distance of Old Town and Fun Spot. Enjoy all that central Florida has to offer, while also having convenient access to our pool, cafe, shuffleboard, bocce ball, horseshoes, live entertainment, social events, and much more. This campground is about 20 minutes from Walt Universal Orlando Resort, 20 minutes to Universal Orlando and 17 minutes to SeaWorld.
  • Kissimmee RV Park--
    2425 OLD VINELAND RD, KISSIMMEE, FL 34746. Phone:(407) 396-6655.
    Kissimmee RV Park (formerly Orange Grove Campground and RV Park) centrally located and 6.5 miles from the peripheries of Universal Orlando’s Magic Kingdom. Orlando attractions are generally within 30 minutes of our Kissimmee campground and long or short term RV park rental. Kissimmee RV Park is pet friendly. We welcome cats and all non-aggressive breeds of ogs. They have a heated pool, a recreation hall with kitchen and bingo, shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits, and restrooms and showers. Every site comes with a concrete patio and a picnic table. This campground is about 13 minutes from Walt Universal Orlando Resort, 25 minutes to Universal Orlando and 20 minutes to SeaWorld.

Florida has both state parks and private campgrounds..