Head out of Shell Island Road and experience evening in the estuary with on of our biologist guides! Watch over 1,000 birds return to rest for the night on Rookery Bay’s famous bird rookery island!
This 3-hour nature cruise captained by a local biologist will allow you to immerse yourself into some of the most beautiful areas of wild Southwest Florida. Learn about the history and ecology of the Rookery Bay Reserve as you cruise among the mangrove and barrier island systems in search of local wildlife like birds, dolphin, and more!
Cruise through winding mangrove creeks to visit one of the most remote and unusual places in the Rookery Bay Reserve. A short hike up to the top of the region’s highest natural point will reveal unique plant communities and the greatest views the Reserve has to offer.
TringaShelling, High Points Excursion & Full Moon Cruise
Tringa, our 24′ Carolina Skiff, is one of the most versatile and comfortable tour boat in Southwest Florida. As the original ecotour vessel of the Rookery Bay Reserve, Tringa has 6 individual captain’s chairs that swivel 360 degrees so you can get a great view no matter where you sit under the shade of a full length Bimini Top.
This flats boat allows us to navigate shallow areas of the Reserve and access areas that larger vessels cannot go. Get out to remote parts of Keewaydin Island for the areas best shelling and beach combing, or venture up shallow Sand Hill Creek to explore one of the most remote and unique areas of the Reserve at it’s highest natural point, Sand Hill.
- 24' Carolina Skiff
Dino DaysEco Cruise & Bird Rookery Sunset
Dino Days is our 26′ Bennington Pontoon generously donated to the Friends of Rookery Bay by the Donahue Family. After being diagnosed with ALS and requiring a wheelchair, Mike Donahue wouldn’t let that stop him from getting out on the water. He customized his vessel to accommodate his wheel chair and requested that the vessel be donated to help others with disabilities enjoy the water after his passing. We are ever grateful for the generosity of the Donahue family and will work to honor Mike’s legacy and passion for this amazing place by sharing it with as many as we can aboard Dino Days! It’s large comfortable seats, full length Bimini shade and wheelchair accessibility make this vessel the perfect way to enjoy a day in the estuary.
- 26 Bennington Pontoon
- Wheelchair Accessible
Naples & Marco Island's most unique Boat Tours
Get ready for a boat tour unlike any another! Captained by real local biologists and science professionals, you’ll get the chance to explore some of the most unique areas of the Rookery Bay Reserve with the most qualified captains and educators in the region. As the exclusive ecotour partners of the Friends of Rookery Bay, we have access to areas that are off limits to the public and all other tour operators.
Get out for some shelling on a remote part of Keewaydin Island from our private dock, visit the ancient sand dune island of Sand Hill where you’ll find ancient human burial grounds and a beautiful view of the Reserve from its highest point (only accessible on a boat tour with RTE), take a cruise around the estuary with a knowledgeable biologist as your captain, or cruise into the Rookery Bay to watch over 1,400 birds return to roost on the famous Rookery island against the backdrop of a gorgeous SWFL sunset.
Our Coastal Treasures
Whether you’re looking to find unique shells for your collection, to see local wildlife, or to learn about this incredible natural area…a boat tour with Rising Tide Explorers is a great option for the whole family. With wheelchair accessibility and the most comfortable vessels in town, you can join us for a fun adventure while learning about what makes this place so special and unique from the people who study it. While there are many opportunities to enjoy the waters of Southwest Florida by boat, there is only one place to venture into the estuary with a real science professional while gaining access to unique and restricted areas of the Reserve that host some of the most incredible habitats, history, and views in the region. By booking with RTE you are also helping to protect and preserve the Rookery Bay Reserve! A portion of the proceeds from your boat tour ticket goes back to the Friends of Rookery Bay to support the Reserve’s research, education, stewardship, and conservation efforts.
We depart from the Rookery Bay Field Station on Shell Island Road, just minutes from Marco Island and Naples
- Time: Launch Times are daily at 9:00AM, 1:00PM, and Sunset
- *Summer Hours = 9AM ONLY (May – October)
- Group Size: Maximum 6 guests (call for larger parties)
- What to Bring: Water, Snacks, Sun Protection, Binoculars
- Cancellation & Rescheudling
- You may voluntarily reschedule or cancel your tour 48 hours prior to departure at no charge
- Gratuities Customary