Contrary to popular belief, boats are actually much safer than cars, which inexplicably sink every time you drive them on water. Take a proper water road ride with today’s Groupon: for $12, you get the Island Tour (90–120 minutes long) from Tidewater Tours (up to a $25 value for adults, with tax included), located on Dock Street at the Cedar Key City Marina. Children ages 12 and under get in for half price, and children ages 2 and under get in for free.
Tidewater Tours celebrates the colorful history and exotic wildlife of the Cedar Key area with its Island Tour. Nautical novices forgo gill implants and instead explore the outer islands of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge via a spacious Coast Guard-inspected vessel guided by a certified, knowledgeable captain. Tours include narration and a question-and-answer period. As the boat cruises along the waterways, passengers scan the tidal marshes for a maritime menagerie of water-savvy critters such as dolphins, sea turtles, and rare horse-size seahorses. Depending on the season, the tours also offer potential glimpses of a number of birds. Each Island Tour trip usually makes a stop on at least one of the remote islands, allowing passengers to stretch their sea legs and converse with volleyballs that have washed up on the shore.
The experienced guides at Tidewater Tours lead visitors throughout the Cedar Keys and Suwannee National Wildlife Refuges, giving them an up-close view of the tidal marsh eco-system and area wildlife. Their Suwannee River Tour explores the swampy environment of the famed waterway—immortalized in Florida's state song—and the Coastal Marsh tour takes passengers along a route that other boats rarely travel so they can spot migratory shorebirds with the help of Captain J. Michael O'Dell, a National Audubon Society member. And the Island Tour adventures to the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge islands, where dolphins, birds, and sea turtles can sometimes be seen, depending on the season and whether the animals are on their lunch breaks.
The captains helm the Megan June, whose shallow draft allows it to go where other boats can't, and the Princess Annie, a handicap-accessible vessel that can hold up to 34 passengers. And those who'd like to go off on their own explorations can rent a pontoon or skiff boat.
4 Dock St.
Cedar Key, Florida 32625Get Directions