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Take a boat trip to Anclote Island to discover it’s hidden nature

Anclote Island: An Enchanting Destination

Situated near Florida’s west coast lies Anclote Island. This captivating area is only accessible by boat and is filled with breathtaking wonders. Read on to learn of all the marvels Anclote Island promises to offer.

A Historic Lighthouse

Spanning over 400 acres, the island is home to a few highlights. One of the most notable is the Anclote Key Lighthouse. This structure was built in 1887 and is known for its unique skeletal exterior attached to a vibrant black lantern. It was modeled after the Cape San Blas Lighthouse in Port St. Joe, which helped guide ships traveling from the Dry Tortugas to New Orleans.

The lighthouse was in operation until 1984 and has since been restored. Occasionally, tours are available of its interior. A local tour guide will take guests up its winding staircase where they’ll get panoramic views of the coast and learn more about the structure’s intriguing history.

The Alluring Anclote River

Surrounding the island is the Anclote River. The waterway, which is bordered by thick mangroves and sawgrass marshes, spans over 29 miles long and flows toward the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a popular spot for divers and fishers thanks to its bounty of sponges and shrimp. It’s also a favorite place for locals to go boating, or take a boat tour out of Tarpon Springs.

During the 1500s, Spaniards directed their ships down the river and discovered what they called the “Spanish Well” – a dazzling spring located at the edge of it. Many believe pirates also visited the river and dumped treasure into its water. Numerous legends claim thousands of pounds of gold and jewels are hidden throughout it.

The further out you go into the Anclote River, the more likely you’ll come into contact with shipwrecks and abandoned vessels. These range from a World War II airplane to a 1907 cargo ship.

An Abundance of Wildlife

Anclote Island is also filled with a variety of wildlife, most of which are extremely rare and can be found nowhere else in the world. Besides the hundreds of loggerhead and sea turtles that roam the shoreline, visitors will also find over 43 different bird species nesting in its bird sanctuary. Some might catch a glimpse of ospreys, cranes, piping plovers, oystercatchers, eagles, and black skimmers.

While beachcombing, you might see dolphins playing out at sea. You’ll also find a vast amount of shells and sponges washed up to shore you can collect. If you go snorkeling, you’re sure to find redfish and sheepshead weaving through the gulf’s thick seagrass. During the nighttime, hikers will find the island’s small streams eerily glowing due to phosphorescent algae.


Anclote Island might only be accessible by boat, but that doesn’t stop visitors year-round from taking a trip to experience its unique charm. Dolphin adventures, nature cruises, sunset cruises, and island sightseeing are all available tours that Odyssey Cruises offer. From its historic structures to impressive wildlife, Anclote Island has a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Tag along on an Odyssey Cruise to marvel at the beauty that is the Anclote Island. For more information, please visit

Check out our F.A.Q.s for questions about our cruises. Click Here

Wanting to see dolphins in the sea? Try Odyssey Cruises dolphin tours

9 Places in Florida To See Dolphins

There are very few animals with such an association with Florida as dolphins(besides the gator, of course). There are countless places throughout the state to observe these beautiful mammals as well as have a chance to interact with them. From aquariums, oceans, and dolphin boat tours, continue reading to find nine magical places throughout Florida to view dolphins.

Key West

Fury Water Adventure: Get a chance to view dolphins in their natural habitat — in the Florida Keys. This tour is given by knowledgeable guides who list fun facts as you get the opportunity to observe dolphins in the wild. This tour also includes a snorkeling opportunity!

Dancing Dolphin Spirit Charters: This tour is excellent for kids of all ages. On this tour, you’ll be able to get a tow on a “dolphin massage board” and get the chance to get up close and personal with the dolphins!


Theater of the Sea: This tour is a once in a lifetime experience. Hop aboard the “bottomless boat” and get to know dolphins up close and personal. Watch from above, as dolphins play in the water below the boat.


Florida Aquarium: Take a look at the dolphins kept in captivity, or even take a voyage into Tampa Bay to get a closer look. The aquarium offers a 1.5-hour boat tour showcasing not only dolphins but many other native animals as well.


Clearwater Marine Aquarium: This aquarium brings tourists from all over the globe. Notorious for their permanent patient Winter the dolphin. Take a tour through the establishment; see all the dolphins they rehabilitate or hop on any one of their offered boat tours even to get a chance to swim with dolphins in the wild.


Seaworld: Seaworld provides an array of informative shows throughout business hours. Visit the nursery to learn how a mother dolphin and her calf interact or even take a walking tour through the park. There’s also a slide in their water park Aquatica, that takes you through dolphin bay where you can see the dolphins play below you as you zoom by.

Dolphin Cove: Just across the street from Seaworld, lies a beautiful day resort. Each day, dolphin cove admits only a certain amount of customers to come and experience the magic. Guests are allowed to snorkel on the beach and even get 30 minutes to swim with the dolphins. While swimming, get your picture kissing a dolphin and even get a fin-tow. An experience you’ll surely never forget!

Panama City Beach

Gulf World Marine Park: This marine park offers many different shows throughout the day. They even provide a “trainer for the day” class where guests get to have hands-on experience with the dolphins and learn what it takes to be a marine animal caregiver.

Tarpon Springs

Odyssey Cruises: Hop aboard the largest sightseeing boat in Tarpon Springs! A leisurely cruise will bring you all throughout Tarpon Springs and even into the Gulf of Mexico! On this tour, a knowledgeable captain will bring you around to see the islands to potentially spot not only dolphins but sea turtles and manatees as well! This tour also gives you a chance to visit Anclote island and take a walking tour of the historic lighthouse!

With so many options to choose from, it can feel like quite an onus of a decision. While all of these locations have their own appeals and merits, one such place listed here stands out above the rest. Odyssey Cruises based out of Tarpon Springs provides a genuinely fun and engaging experience that makes it feel as though you’re right in the thick of adventure — from the amenities and freedoms offered aboard your ride, to traveling and visiting the Gulf of Mexico and the alluring Anclote Island — you’ll leave wishing you could have spent longer aboard an Odyssey boat tour. For more information, turn to In no time at all, you’ll be feeling like a fish out of water, wanting to return back to Tarpon Springs.

Check out our F.A.Q.s for questions about our cruises. Click Here