Good Time Charters books a variety of sight seeing tours by water, out of Snook Bight Yacht Club & Marina on Fort Myers Beach. This is another BYOF (bring your own food) cruise. Want to see dolphins, manatees and other Florida wildlife? These wildlife and eco tours mostly stay in Estero Bay and often include shelling and swimming. Sunset tours are another popular offering, with guides who give great stories of the importance of the back bay waters and their mangrove islands, from centuries ago to current times. Besides bigger boat tours, you can book kayak adventures and paddleboard tours that get you into the mangrove forests and to secluded beaches for eco explorations. You can even create your own tour if you arrange it in advance.
Recommended for Dinner Cruises because: This 90-foot luxury yacht sets sail through the calm waters of San Carlos Bay offering dinner, brunch and Champagne cruises among others.
Gina's expert tip: If you are in town for the 4th of July, book the firework boat tour
Sunset Cuises offers a more intimate look at the water, ecosystems and marine life in Southwest Florida. This is one of the few boat cruises that travels up the Caloosahatchee River to bird rookeries and to explore mangroves. The 40-foot Cruise Yacht offers a sun deck, a lounge area and plenty of space for your coolers, perfect for 4-6 people. Food is not served on day cruises or sunset cruises but passengers can pack as much of their favorite foods and beverages as they desire. Whether it is for a sunset or bird watching and beaching, Sunset Cruises will hook you up.
Recommended for Dinner Cruises because: This boat cruise stays on the inland waterways and is perfect for passengers who interested in wildlife and ecosystems.
Gina's expert tip: Private charters are available
The 40 foot catamaran stays in the Estero Bay or "back bay" as locals call it, offering numerous types of tours to educate and entertain the entire family. The 1 1/2 hour sunset tour provides great photo ops and is an affordable $25 for adults and $15 for kids under twelve. There are also dolphin tours and a new excursion to historic Mound Key. No food is served on this cruise but you are welcomed to bring a picnic of your choice. There are numerous dining options before or after boarding the boat at the Fish Tale Marina, on the south part of Fort Myers Beach.
Recommended for Dinner Cruises because: This Catamaran cruises the "back bay" for beautiful sunsets, allowing you to pack whatever food and wine you want for the journey
Gina's expert tip: This area around this marina is typically a hot spot for Dolphin sitings.
Adventures in Paradise has been providing boat cruises in the Fort Myers area for about three decades. Setting sail from Royal Shell Port Sanibel Marina, it's one of the last stops before heading over the causeway to Sanibel Island. Soft drinks and water are served on board but other than that, you are on your own for food. The good news is that Adventures offers a Shelling and Lunch Excursion that takes you to Barnacles Phil's Restaurant on North Captiva; a dining spot only accessible by boat. Other boating offerings include dolphin and wildlife cruises as well as a sunset cruise. On these, feel free to pack food and drink to enjoy on your own. Or dine at the beautiful Lighthouse Restaurant back at the dock.
Recommended for Dinner Cruises because: Adventures in Paradise is one of the oldest, reliable boat tour companies in the area that provides a variety of cruising options.
Gina's expert tip: Pack as much food and drink as you wish, however, there are no tables onboard for spreading out.
Join pirates including Captain Jack, Peg Leg Meg and Pick Pocket Pete, aboard the Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise in Estero Bay. Your adventure begins at Salty Sam's Marina, just before the big bridge to Fort Myers Beach, where you can dine at Parrot Key or Bootleggers. The 65-foot Spanish Galleon-style ship sells snack food and has a full a bar; after all what respectable pirate takes to the seas without rum? The ship sails at different times starting at 9am and going until 8pm depending on the time of week and year. While it's mostly family friendly, there is a 90-minute adult cruise on Friday nights for $20. Otherwise ticket prices range from $24.95-$40 depending on age and ticket upgrades. Those upgrades include pirate paraphernalia such as eye patches, swords, water pistols, hats and more. It's a fun and festive way to see the Fort Myers waterways.
Recommended for Dinner Cruises because: This cruise provides the views, the booze and the swashbuckling fun for the young and old.
Gina's expert tip: The ride is even more fun if you dress in your own pirate costume.
This cruise launches from numerous waterfront locations including Cape Harbour in Cape Coral and the Pink Shell Resort on Fort Myers Beach. Banana Bay Tour Company is popular for its lunch cruise to Picnic Island in San Carlos Bay. If a sunset cruise is what you are looking for, pack a cooler full of your favorite food and drink or enjoy the light snacks found onboard. Otherwise, be sure to take advantage of the great dining options at the dock in both spots. The catered lunch cruises give great info on dolphins, the local eco-systems and allow for swimming and shelling on Picnic Island. On the way back you'll tour Mangrove Creek Forest and may even see some Manatees. Check the website for the evolving list of options and pick up locations.
Recommended for Dinner Cruises because: Take an affordable and educational lunch cruise that also gives you the opportunity to swim in the waters surrounding Picnic Island.
Gina's expert tip: The only food and drink rule aboard this boat is no red wine.
The Fort Myers Princess is a modern, 75-foot, double-decker boat that offers party cruises, dolphin and sunset tours and special events. Located at Snug Harbour Marina, underneath the big bridge leading to Fort Myers Beach, the Princess has a full bar and offers light snacks for purchase. Enjoy the signature "Princess Punch." If you really want a full belly after your two-hour Sunset Cruise, plan to dine at Nervous Nellies, also located at the Marina. This boat gets you into the Gulf of Mexico quicker than most because of it's close proximity to the tip of Estero Island and the scenery is spectacular.
Recommended for Dinner Cruises because: The trip into the Gulf of Mexico for sunset doesn't take long aboard the Princess. It's spacious, with a full bar offering light snacks.
Gina's expert tip: The boat has great space to accommodate a special event or party.
How does this sound to wash all your cares away; cruising on beautiful blue water, learning of its lure, watching a brilliant sunset, listening to music, drinking cold beverages and eating snacks you probably shouldn't. That's one of the many options Captiva Cruises offers for th "Sunset Serenade Cruise." The boats for the various cruises leave from both McCarthy's Marina and South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island. Regardless of where you depart, plan on a $5 parking fee. There is a bar onboard some of the vessels as well as snacks. For lunch, reserve a seat for a sailing excursion to beautiful Cabbage Key or the exclusive Useppa Island. Captiva Cruises is always adding new excursions. Schedules vary depending on the time of year so be sure to call for reservations.
Recommended for Dinner Cruises because: Not only do you get amazing views on this cruise, you get live music and a bar to help celebrate the sunset.
Gina's expert tip: The cruises sail from two different Marina's on Captiva Island so double check your location.
If you're looking for dinner cruises in Fort Myers with some nostalgia, JC Boat Cruises is a fantastic option. This 600-passenger paddle-wheeler departs from the historic downtown Fort Myers yacht basin for a relaxing three and four-hour voyages on the Caloosahatchee River. Besides dinner cruises, the boat offers lunch excursions and full day trips through the Franklin Locks, into Lake Okeechobee. The all you can eat buffet is sure to fill you up and the cocktails are affordable. There is even music and a dance floor for weekend dinner and dancing excursions, a fun way to work off that dessert. For romance, check out the upper deck and its fantastic views of the stars. Prices start at $48.
Recommended for Dinner Cruises because: JC Boat Cruises is an entertaining river-boat excursion that includes a full bar and a dance floor to burn off your dessert!
Gina's expert tip: Arrive early to find parking as there is construction downtown
There's not a better place to be at sunset than on the water with a cool beverage and an expertly prepared meal in front of you. The Sanibel Princess offers not only sunset dinner cruises but also brunch outings on both Saturday and Sunday. Board the boat at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort and Spa, just before the Sanibel Causeway, and enjoy a two hour cruise in the waters of the scenic San Carlos Bay. For $65 you'll enjoy an extensive buffet that includes cheeses, fresh greens, lots of sides, savory entrees and decadent desserts. Sunset dining is available Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, but it never hurts to call ahead for any seasonal changes in schedule and pricing.
Recommended for Dinner Cruises because: A true dinner cruise that offers beautiful views of the sunset over San Carlos Bay.
Gina's expert tip: An impressive way to host private parties and special celebrations.