If you want to see the beautiful marine life in the waters around Key West, but don’t want to get wet… then you must check out a Key West glass bottom boat tour. A glass-bottom boat is Key West’s window to the sea. The underwater world of Key West is amazing and, dare I say…. the most beautiful in all of the continental United States? There are two companies in town that offer amazing experiences.
First off, what is a glass bottom boat? I usually assume most people know what they are, but just in case you don’t… it’s a boat with sections of glass or other transparent material below the waterline that allows passengers to observe the underwater environment aboard the boat.
Interesting fact, the glass bottom boat was invented by Hullam Jones in 1878 in Silver Springs, Florida. He created it for his personal use, but it caught on and, well, the rest is history. The oldest glass bottom boat is the Princess Donna from Silver Springs, FL and is still operating on the Rainbow River in Dunnellon, Florida.
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You can choose to head out with either Fury Water Adventures or Floridays for your Key West glass bottom boat tour.
Fury started out in 1953 with The Fireball. She has since been replaced with The Pride of Key West. This is the second oldest attraction in Key West. The Pride of Key West is a 65 foot aluminum catamaran. Her award winning design protects the reefs around Key West and provides maximum stability for her passengers.
Floridays offers, just like Furry 1/2 day snorkeling and sunset sails. But they also have an eco-tour. Head out to an off-shore island or sandbar. There you can paddleboard, snorkel, explore, or simply sit on the sand and enjoy the beauty of the blue waters around you. Check out the options available through Floridays using the interactive booking calendar (you can see that when you click the Book Floridays button below)
What to Expect
Each trip is so different. But, overall, you can expect to see a large variety of tropical fish, interesting marine life, and sea creatures. You will see the only living coral reef in North America and you might even see sea turtles, rays, and a wide variety of fish. As you go over the coral barrier reef, you will see majestic elkhorn and impressive brain coral.
Fury’s boat is air-conditioned and offers a very comfortable ride. Her special glass “windows to the reef” provide continuous viewing for everyone. Expert tour guides will answer your questions and offer a guided tour for the voyage. Onboard, you can grab a drink (soft drinks are available to purchase) or a quick bite (chips, peanuts, and cookies) from the snack bar, water is complimentary.
From March to September the afternoon sailing aboard Fury includes sunset views on the way back to port, so you get to spend time at the reef and get a sunset cruise as a bonus. Don’t worry about bringing sunscreen, Fury offers complimentary reef-safe sunscreen. The Pride of Key West also has restrooms. These trips, aboard Fury, don’t offer an opportunity to snorkel or swim, but you will see amazing marine life. It’s about 7 miles out to the reef and you stay at the reef for about an hour. Overall, this is a two-hour glass-bottom boat tour
Most days, the waters around Key West have about 80 feet of visibility. Of course, that is not guaranteed. If it’s not a perfect Key West water day, Fury does offer options. You can reschedule, still take the tour, or get a full refund.
The departure point for the Pride of Key West is at the end of Duval Street between the Ocean Key Resort and the Pier House Resort, very close to Mallory Square.
Floriday’s The Looking Glass is a much smaller boat and offers a much more intimate experience. You can choose to jump into the water and snorkel, or just sit topside and enjoy the view. Your departure for The Looking Glass is from the Historic Seaport. The Looking Glass does offer a private charter option. Imagine heading out to see the Florida Keys from a different perspective. Seeing many different species of fish and possibly explore the dolphin playgrounds.
Either option offers amazing trips out to see the marine life and underwater environment in the waters around Key West. Each is charted by an experienced captain who is very familiar with the waters surrounding Key West.
As this one of the popular activities in Key West be sure to book early so you don’t miss out on this amazing time spent on the water. Departure time varies so check out the interactive calendar link to book a time that works best to experience this unforgettable glass bottom boat ride
Book your spot today and be sure to tell them Fun in Key West sent you!
Not able to make it to Key West? Then check out the glass bottom boat tour in Key Largo. Here you will also see dramatic underwater vistas around the upper Keys.