Egmont Key Excursion: Dolphins, Snorkeling, and exploring Egmont Key
Blog Post - August 2, 2022
Egmont Key is an island located in Tampa Bay, just south of Fort De Soto Park.
It's mostly a wildlife refuge, but the north end of the island is where you can visit.
You can only get there by boat, but it is definitely worth a visit.
A little history on Egmont Key is that it has a lighthouse that was built in 1858. Fort Dade was built on the island in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. You can now see the ruins of Fort Dade. Some of the ruins are in the water and now make a great snorkeling area.
Egmont key is considered remote and has no running water, so when you go make sure you bring your own water and food.
We booked a 4-hour excursion to Egmont Key through Coastline Excursions. We booked this excursion so we could be on a smaller boat just with our family. We got to see dolphins, snorkel at Egmont Key, explore Egmont Key, and look for shells and sand dollars off of the Passage Key sandbar.
Our excursion was from 9am to 1pm. We got there at 8:30 am. We parked at the Safe Harbor Pier 77 at 12312 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34209.
After we parked, we walked up to the building. They have bathrooms inside, but the check in area is on the left side of the building.
After we checked in, we followed our captain to the boat. You go down to the marina and go through the gated entrance.
Once we were all situated on the boat, we headed out to go see some dolphins first. The dolphins in the channel love to follow and jump the wake of the boat. We also saw lots of birds on our way over to the channel.
After seeing the dolphins, we headed past Anna Maria Island and over to Egmont Key. You can see it on the map below.
Once we arrived, we put on our snorkel gear and got into the water. We snorkeled around an old structure from the fort that used to have big cannons on it.
These are the views of the snorkeling area and Egmont Key. We couldn't get over how beautiful it is.
After snorkeling we got back on the boat and headed to the north end of Egmont Key to go to the beach and explore the island.
They have trails from the beach that take you to the historic Fort Dade to see the ruins.
After exploring the old fort, we headed over to the lighthouse.
They also have a lot of Gopher Tortoises on the island.
After exploring the island, we got back onto the boat and headed to the other side of Egmont Key to do some more snorkeling in a grassy area.
Then we got back on the boat and headed over to the sandbar at Passage Key to look for sand dollars.
After snorkeling for sand dollars at Passage Key we started heading back.
We had great views of Anna Maria Island as we were heading back.
We also saw more dolphins on our way back.
We made it back to the marina and docked the boat.
Overall, we loved this excursion to Egmont Key and would do it again!
The cost for the excursion with Coastline Excursions was $90 per person, so it came out to $450 for all five of us. With taxes and fees it came to $508.50.
We also gave a cash tip of $30 to our captain.
Total: $538.50 for the four hour excursion for 5 people including taxes and a tip.
These are the checklist items I recommend:
- Arrive 20 to 30 minutes before the excursion.
- They provide the snorkel gear, but you can bring your own if you want.
- Bring your own snacks and drinks
- Bring a hat to keep the sun off of your face.
- Reef Safe Sunscreen and beach towel.
- Bring cash to tip your captain.
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