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Best Time and Place to View Dolphins: Pensacola Beach

A dolphin just under the water line in the Santa Rosa Sound blows air out of the blowhole.

When is the best time and the best place to see dolphins in Pensacola Beach?

Pensacola Beach, is not only known for its beautiful white sugary sand public beaches and crystal-clear waters but also for its vibrant marine life. One of the most enchanting creatures you can encounter in Pensacola Beach’s coastal waters is the playful and graceful bottle nose dolphin. If you’re eager to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, here is a dolphin viewing guide to help you find the best spots for dolphin sightings in Pensacola Beach.  Regardless of where you go to look for dolphins, or how you get there, you’ll see secluded spots and hidden beaches, points of interest and beautiful sunsets.

Where dolphins live:  Dolphins like fishing piers and for good reason. Piers provide easy access to a variety of fish, and the humans do a lot of the work for them! When looking for new dolphin watching spots always check out the fishing piers. Where there are fishermen there are usually dolphins too. Ever the opportunists, dolphins hang around waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. Once fish are caught, the dolphins leap into action. Their goal — grab the fish before it is reeled in.  In Pensacola, there are multiple secluded locations you can dolphin watch and some are listed below.

NOAA and its Florida wildlife conservation partners are setting out to educate fishermen about the dangers of hooking and entangling dolphins. Notices describing “dolphin friendly fishing tips” and how to protect wild dolphins while fishing are popping up in an effort to reduce harm.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

The Gulf Islands National Seashore is a prime location to spot dolphins in Pensacola Beach. This protected area encompasses miles of pristine shoreline, and its waters are home to Map of Gulf Islands National Seashorevarious marine species, including dolphins. You can take a dolphin cruise or rent a paddle board or kayak to explore the calm waters and keep an eye out for these delightful creatures. The dolphins often swim near the surface, displaying their acrobatic jumps and playful behavior.

Pensacola Bay

Pensacola Bay is another excellent spot to see dolphins. This expansive bay is located between Pensacola Beach and Gulf Breeze and offers a variety of opportunities for dolphin sightings. One popular option is to take a dolphin-watching boat tour with Frisky Mermaid Dolphin Tours, where we specialize in finding these majestic creatures. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who can provide insights into dolphin behavior and the local marine ecosystem.

Santa Rosa Sound

Santa Rosa Sound, a beautiful body of water located between Pensacola Beach and the mainland, is known for its calm and shallow waters. Dolphins are frequently seen swimming and feeding in these waters, especially near the jetties and bridges.  This is where you’ll see all the boating activity, tucked away nicely between the mainland and the protected barrier island, Pensacola Beach.Santa Rosa Sound with Pensacola Beach in the background and the Gulf of Mexico behind.

Pensacola Pass

Pensacola Pass is where the waters of Pensacola Bay meet the Gulf of Mexico. This area is known for its strong currents and is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists to observe dolphins. Head to the Pensacola Pass observation platform or book a dolphin-watching cruise that takes you out into the Gulf. From these vantage points, you can witness dolphins leaping and playing in the open waters.

Johnson Beach

Johnson Beach, located on Perdido Key, is a scenic stretch of coastline within the Gulf Islands National Seashore. This serene and less crowded beach offers a peaceful setting for dolphinJohnson Beach Gulf Islands National Seashore crossover to the Gulf. sightings. Pack your beach essentials and spend a day relaxing on the shore while keeping an eye out for dolphins swimming by. Sometimes, you may even spot them surfing the waves near the shoreline.

Fort Pickens

Fort Pickens is a historic fort located at the western tip of Santa Rosa Island. Aside from its rich history, this area is also known for its diverse wildlife, Aerial view of Fort Pickens Gulf Island National Seashore Groundsincluding dolphins. Take a stroll along the beach or explore the nature trails within the fort, and you might be rewarded with a sighting of dolphins frolicking in the distance.

Some Tips for Local Dolphin Viewing

To enhance your chances of seeing dolphins in Pensacola Beach, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind. First, bring binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens to get a closer look at dolphins in the distance. Second, try to be on the water during calm weather conditions, as dolphins are more likely to be active and visible during these times. Lastly, respect the dolphins’ space and avoid disturbing them. Many people ask when the best time is to see the dolphins and the answer is they are out all the time.  People prefer the morning tours because there is less boat traffic so you automatically have better visibility

Keep a safe distance and never attempt to touch or feed them.  While swimming with dolphins may be on your bucket list, unfortunately, it is NOT allowed here.

Dolphin-Watching Tours with Frisky Mermaid

If you want a more guided and immersive experience, consider booking a dolphin-watching tour with Frisky Mermaid Dolphin Tours, specifically designed to maximize dolphin sightingsDolphin jumping in the Frisky Mermaid boat's wake in the Pensacola Pass. and provide educational information about these beautiful creatures.

Knowledgeable guides will share interesting facts about their behavior, habitat, and conservation efforts. Our tours also use eco-friendly practices to ensure the well-being of the dolphins and their environment.

Pensacola Beach offers a wide variety of water adventures for tourists and locals alike, but nothing quite compares to the thrill of a dolphin-watching expedition with Frisky Mermaid Dolphin Tours and Boat Rentals. Our team is dedicated to providing unforgettable experiences out on the water, and what better way to experience the majestic creatures that inhabit the Gulf of Mexico than up close and personal?

Our dolphin cruises promise a thrilling experience full of fun and excitement, leaving you with memories to last a lifetime. So whether you’re a seasoned water adventurer or a first-time visitor, come join us in discovering the secrets of the Gulf on a dolphin cruise near you with Frisky Mermaid Dolphin Tours and Pontoon Boat Rentals.