As intelligent marine mammals imbued with real personality, dolphins offer a wonderful experience that is a cut above just swimming with fish. Unfortunately, local law in Destin prohibits swimming with the many pods of dolphins that can be found in the local waters. Ergo, no tour operator offers swimming with the dolphins, and your only legal opportunity to do so in the wild will happen by accident. There is a marine park in the Destin area, however, that has a dolphin swimming program, and there are some tours that offer something a little more than just dolphin watching.
The Gulfarium is a Destin-area marine theme park, and it has a dolphin encounter program. This is the best option for a family with small children, or for someone who simply isn't a strong swimmer. Dolphin swimming in an environment like that of the Gulfarium is a more controlled encounter, and poses none of the difficulties of snorkeling in the open ocean. Sessions last for roughly half an hour, and involve standing in the shallow end and allowing the dolphins to come to you. Children must be at least 7 years of age and 4 feet tall to participate. Reservations at least one day in advance are required by the park.
1010 Miracle Strip Parkway, SE
Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548
(800) 247-8575 ext. 24
Waverunning with Dolphins
For those who find seeing dolphins from a boat unsatisfactory, there is the possibility of renting a waverunner jet ski and seeing them that way. It is certainly much more independent, and has the potential to get you a lot closer to the dolphins. Those younger than 22 years of age must have a Florida boating license or pass a 25-question boating safety test to rent a waverunner.
2 Harbor Blvd
Destin, Florida 32541-2310
A dolphin-watching tour option that does involve some swimming is Destin's Sea Blaster. This boat runs combined dolphin-watching and snorkeling trips from 9 a.m. until noon. The snorkeling starts in late April or early May, and continues into October. It's not swimming with the dolphins in the open ocean, but it does combine some snorkeling with some dolphin watching.
76 Old Highway 98
Miramar Beach, Florida 32550
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.