A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to take a sunset and bioluminescence kayak tour with BK Adventure. I have been kayaking and paddleboarding a number of times, and have even done a couple of Florida bioluminescence kayaking tours. However, this tour was unlike any other thanks to the location and the tour guides.
Anyone who is a fan of nature will highly enjoy this kayaking tour just like we did! What makes it so unique is that it goes out of Canaveral National Seashore, which is a national park home to hundreds of different wildlife species. The first half of the tour treated us to dolphin, manatee and bird sightings, whereas the second was full of vibrant bioluminescent views.
This is such a fun way to experience the Space Coast and I have a new appreciation for this area after taking the tour! I will explain everything you need to know about the kayaking tour below, and why I think it’s great for locals and tourists alike!
Full Disclosure: BK Adventure offered Andrew and I a free tour because of my blog, but all opinions expressed here are my own.
Details of the Tour
The BK Adventure sunset and bioluminescence tour is a three hour experience at Canaveral National Seashore. This is located north of Titusville and is a little over an hour drive from Melbourne or Orlando. If you happen to be on a Cocoa Beach vacation, it should only take about half an hour.
You can choose either a single kayak or a double kayak and they will give you some paddling tips if you haven’t gone before. Then you are off for the sunset portion. This half was a lot paddling as you went from the main beach, to the manatee cove and then all the way over to Bird Island and back. It is a good chance to get used to paddling though!
Right before it gets dark, you head back to shore to break before the bioluminescence portion. They give you about half an hour as well as recommend bringing a snack and a drink. Once it’s fully dark, you get back in the water for a more relaxing paddle with lots of stops to appreciate the bioluminescence glow. We were amazed by how bright it was and could have paddled around there forever. The tour is advertised to be three hours but it ended close to four after starting.
Our BK Adventure Kayaking Tour Experience
Andrew and I know our way around kayak. However, since we had never been up this way, we were excited to see some new things on this Florida bioluminescence kayaking tour! We had an easy time finding the place, though the drive took a little longer than I thought, so definitely leave early. Our group had about six couples and we had two tour guides, Rachel and JD. They gave extra help to anyone who needed it getting started with kayaking.
Almost immediately, we saw tons of different birds, including a bunch of giant pelicans. We also got a great view of the Kennedy Space Center VAB. Then we went to manatee cove, where we could make out a few manatees in the water! They only really stick their noses out but it’s still a cool sight!
We paddled against the current towards bird island after that and it was a bit strenuous at times, even for us experienced paddlers. JD stayed back with the slower groups and both tour guides made sure no one got stuck. This is when we saw a few dolphin fins, so I was more focused on that then the paddling!
Bird Island was also cool to see, as there were hundreds of birds flying around! The guides also took our picture at this peak sunset time. I was definitely ready for a break after this. We brought beer and some cheese and crackers. Because of the mosquitos, we had to eat it in the car. Make sure to bring lots of bug spray when you go and expect to still get some bites anyway!
The best part of this tour was the bioluminescence. I saw way more here than the other two Florida bioluminescence kayaking tours I have done before! Part of it has to do with the location, and it’s a lot darker out here with super bright stars. However, it also depends what time of month you go with the closer to new moon time being for the better. It’s pretty hard to get a picture of, so leave your cameras in the car for this part and just appreciate the moment. We spent a little over an hour paddling around and taking it all in.
We were tired when we finished, but mainly in awe of the wonderful experience. I have to give a big shoutout to Rachel and JD who were very helpful and entertaining. We felt safe the entire time and had a blast during it.
When to take a Florida Bioluminescence Kayaking Tour
If seeing bioluminescence is your goal, the best time of year to take this tour is in the summer during a new moon. A full moon makes it much harder to see any bioluminescent activity, so try and go as close to a new moon as possible, especially if you aren’t going in the summer.
The good thing about this tour is that even if you don’t see much bioluminescence, the sunset portion is still an awesome experience all times of year. I still recommend taking it in the warmer months of the year, because it can get quite cool at night in this area.
If you are on vacation in Orlando or Cocoa Beach, then I highly encourage you to take some time out of the trip and do this tour. Merritt Island is one of the few places in the world where this phenomenon occurs, thanks to the dinoflagellate plankton that live here. With the way climate change is going, you might as well experience this phenomenon now because you never know if it will still be there in the future.
Other BK Adventure Tours
I think the Sunset and Bioluminescence Tour is the best option BK Adventure has. However, it is $75 per person and three hours long. If you don’t have the time or the budget for that, there are other options.
You can take an hour and a half long bioluminescence only tour most nights for $55. For the ultimate viewing experience, you can even upgrade to a clear kayak! And if you have little kids who can’t paddle, they offer a family raft option.
During the day time, there is a river kayaking tour option in Geneva, Florida which is closer to Orlando. This is a great place to see manatees, turtles and even gators! You also have the option of doing a tour in Titusville in the day for $48 per person.
For those who want to stay on land, BK Adventure offers both a fat tire bike tour in Cape Canaveral and a Mountain Bike Hike in Orlando. These are both exhilarating ways to check out a nature trail. They are also in the higher price range of $75 to $95 per person.
Know Before You Go: BK Adventure Sunset and Bioluminescence Kayaking
We had an amazing time our sunset and bioluminescence kayaking tour! Before we had gone out in Satellite Beach and not seen much bioluminescent activity. I definitely think it is worth it to go to a more secluded spot like this one. The sunset portion was the cherry on top to really make this an amazing experience. If you are ever in the area, don’t hesitate to try this tour for yourself! Here are some tips for anyone who is interested.
- BK Adventure offers nine different tour options, mainly in Titusville, ranging from $48 to $150 per person.
- Make sure to bring sunscreen, bug spray, a towel, a flashlight, water, and some snacks.
- You do not need any past kayaking experience to participate.
- If you want to bring your phone for pictures, I recommend getting a waterproof lanyard.
- Lifevests are required and provided. You do not have to wear a bathing suit under your clothes, but you will get wet.
- The best time of year to see bioluminescence is July through November during a new moon. However, it can be unpredictable, so understand, you may not see it regardless of when you go.
- To find out more about hiking the nearby Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, check out this guide here.
Have you ever seen bioluminescence? I didn’t realize how amazing it could be until I went on this tour! If you are looking for more Florida things to do, check out my Ultimate Florida Bucket List or for local attractions, my Cocoa Beach Things to Do Guide.