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Best bioluminescent beaches in Florida

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What are the best bioluminescent beaches in Florida. There are several to include in your next trip.

One of the coolest things I think I have ever been able to see are the many bioluminescent beaches and blue waters throughout Florida. What is bioluminensce? Simply, it is the light that is given off from a living animal.

Best bioluminescent beaches in Florida

Most of us are aware of or have seen the light of a firefly. In the water, bioluminescence is the light is emitted by the algae bloom of plankton when the water is disturbed.

Questions often are is bioluminescence harmful? Not at all. Bioluminescence occurs naturally and is actually a natural defense mechanism of many marine creatures including phytoplankton, squid, shrimp, and some fish.

What causes bioluminescence in Florida? Bioluminescent occurs in Florida due to a chemical reaction that causes Cone Jellyfish, that glow in the dark, and Dinoflagellates (bioluminescent plankton) to illuminate any time the water is disturbed.

Can you swim in the bioluminescent water? Depending on where you are, yes you can swim, snorkel or kayak in these waters.

What is the best time of year to see the bioluminescence? Summer evenings with a full moon is the best experience. Usually, bioluminescent plankton begin to appear in May and can last through October.

During cooler months, comb jellies, which are beautiful oval shaped animals, replace the dinoflagellates that light up.

If you want to see something spectacular, below are the best bioluminescent beaches in Florida:

Florida’s Bioluminescent Bay

By far, the best bioluminescent beaches in Florida are located is near Orlando in Brevard County. Brevard County is known as the space coast and also home to Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Indian River Lagoon and Merritt Island.

These three areas are full of glowing sea creatures. The beaches and the waters of the Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and Indian River literally glow as the world slows down for the night.

Kayaking after sunset is one of the best ways to experience the bioluminescence. Be sure to wear your life jackets.

Not comfortable on the water after dark? It’s okay! Stay on shore and watch as stingrays, manatees or mullet as they move through the waters, igniting the glow.

If you truly want to experience these phenomena, the best way to do so is with a kayak bioluminescence tour. Ask if your tour guide has a clear kayak for you to use, so you can really experience the light.

The best time of year to see the beautiful bioluminescent water? Summer. Dinoflagellates sparkle in the warmer months only.

There are several bioluminescence tours in this area, including Day Away Kayak Tours and BK Adventure.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge is not only a wonderful place to enjoy the bioluminescent experience at night, it is a great place to explore during the day. Manatees, alligators and plenty of water birds will keep you entertained until night falls.

After dark, venture over to Haulover Canal, located in the middle of the refuge. This canal is probably the best place to see the bioluminescence activity. Pitch black, it is well aware from the lights of the city.

Love to camp? Book your reservation in the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge to enjoy all that native Florida has to offer.

Indian River Lagoon

Indian River Lagoon is actually made up of three lagoons. Indian River, Mosquito Lagoon and the Banana River.

Best bioluminescent beaches in Florida

The waterways of this area are so isolated, it makes it one of the best places to see the bioluminescence. Even better? Indian River Lagoon is where more than 4,300 species of plants and animals plus plankton that causes bioluminescence.

If you plan to go kayaking, most folks launch from Mosquito Lagoon. It enjoys its name for a reason. Bring bug spray.

Cocoa Beach

I absolutely LOVE Cocoa Beach. It is one of the prettiest areas on Florida’s Atlantic Ocean side. Enjoy surfing, shopping, dining and more. Get more ideas for fun from my last trip here: Cocoa Beach

Enjoy the sun during the day, then return in the evening for one of the best bioluminescent beaches in Florida. Head over to Banana River Aquatic Preserve.

Enjoy spending the day at the preserve and be sure to keep your eyes open for manatees. This area is the most important habitat for manatees year round. Often 300 to 500 are in the river.

Also watch for alligators, diamondback terrapin turtles and pelicans. After dark, launch from one of the many popular boat launches or book a bioluminescent tour and enjoy the luminescence with a tour guide via kayak.

Florida’s Bioluminescent Bay

By far, the best bioluminescent beaches in Florida are located is on Florida’s Space Coast near Orlando in Brevard County. Brevard County is known as the space coast and also home to Cape Canaveral, Kennedy Space Center, Cocoa Beach, Indian River Lagoon and Merritt Island.

These three areas are full of glowing sea creatures. The beaches and the waters of the Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and Indian River literally glow as the world slows down for the night.

Kayaking after sunset is one of the best ways to experience the bioluminescence. Be sure to wear your life jackets.

Not comfortable on the water after dark? It’s okay! Stay on shore and watch as stingrays, manatees or mullet as they move through the waters, igniting the glow.

If you truly want to experience these phenomena, the best way to do so is with a kayak bioluminescence tour. Ask if your tour guide has a clear kayak for you to use, so you can really experience the light.

The best time of year to see the beautiful bioluminescent water? Summer. Dinoflagellates sparkle in the warmer months only.

There are several bioluminescence tours in this area, including Day Away Kayak Tours and BK Adventure.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge is not only a wonderful place to enjoy the bioluminescent experience at night, it is a great place to explore during the day. Manatees, alligators and plenty of water birds will keep you entertained until night falls.

After dark, venture over to Haulover Canal, located in the middle of the refuge. This canal is probably the best place to see the bioluminescence activity. Pitch black, it is well aware from the lights of the city.

Love to camp? Book your reservation in the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge to enjoy all that native Florida has to offer.

Indian River Lagoon

Indian River Lagoon is actually made up of three lagoons. They include Indian River, Mosquito Lagoon and the Banana River.

The waterways of this area are so isolated, it makes it one of the best places to see the bioluminescence. Even better?Indian River Lagoon is where more than 4,300 species of plants and animals plus plankton that causes bioluminescence.

If you plan to go kayaking, most folks launch from Mosquito Lagoon as they look for the glowing water. Mosquito Lagoon enjoys its name for a reason. Bring bug spray.

Cocoa Beach

I absolutely LOVE Cocoa Beach. It is one of the prettiest areas on Florida’s Atlantic Ocean side. Enjoy surfing, shopping, dining and more. Get more ideas for fun from my last trip here: Cocoa Beach

Enjoy the sun during the day, then return in the evening for one of the best bioluminescent beaches in Florida. Head over to Banana River Aquatic Preserve.

Enjoy spending the day at the preserve and be sure to keep your eyes open for manatees. This area is the most important habitat for manatees year round. Often 300 to 500 are in the river.

Also watch for alligators, diamondback terrapin turtles and pelicans. After dark, launch from one of the many popular boat launches or book bioluminescent kayaking tours and enjoy the luminescence with a tour guide via kayak.

Tampa

Over on the west coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico, the best bioluminescent beaches are located in Fort DeSoto Park. There are five islands in this park. Madeleine Key, St. Jean Key, St. Christopher Key, Bonne Fortune Key and the main island, Mullet Key. Each one has a beautiful beach from which you launch your kayak or canoe.

During the day, enjoy fishing, boat ramps, nature trails, and kayak rentals to a dog park, camping facilities, ball fields, and a visit to the historic fort. Then, when the sun goes down, this is the perfect place to watch as the natural phenomenon of bioluminescent animals light up the sea.

Neon blue algae that you can see from the ocean’s surface with the best views. Book a guided tour and really immerse yourself in the experience of glowing plankton in the dark water.

Outside of the United States

Outside the United States, Puerto Rico, visit Mosquito Bay. Mosquito Bay is located on the island of Vieques, east of the coast of Puerto Rico.

Be sure to time your visit with the new moon, as Mosquito Bay is the brightest and best-known bioluminescent bay in the world.

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The BEST way to enjoy any of these best Florida beaches for a girl trip? Rent a home or condo. Get more info here: Vacation Rentals, Florida 

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About Denise

Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH.  Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise

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