Scenic Boat Tours

A view of Ponce Inlet which we pass on our Daytona Beach boat charters

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse on our tour of the Halifax River

Enjoy a private boat tour on the beautiful Halifax River with Captain John
Dolphins ~ Manatees ~ Exotic Waterbirds ~ Fabulous Waterfront Homes ~ Florida’s Tallest Lighthouse

Scenic Boat Tour Rates

Scenic Boat Tours
2 hour $250
Price is for up to 6 passengers

Longer charters are available.
Please call for rates.

These are Private Boat Charters

Aquatic wildlife is often seen on our Daytona Beach charters

The whole family will enjoy a relaxing scenic boat ride on Florida’s Halifax River! 

Your private boat charter and tour begins just minutes from downtown Daytona Beach!
Your scenic tour begins at the Dunlawton Bridge Boat Launch just 6 miles down river from downtown Daytona Beach.

We begin our tour by cruising up the Halifax River to see the magnificent waterfront homes of Daytona Beach. Here you will see the ultimate in Florida living with the homes of Daytona Beach’s “rich and famous”. From there we head down river towards the beautiful blue waters of Ponce Inlet, where the Halifax River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Along the way, we’ll keep our eyes out for Florida bottle-nosed dolphins that are commonly seen swimming and feeding along the Halifax River. We’ll pass through the pristine, semi-tropical lower Halifax River basin. This lush, undeveloped portion of the Halifax River is the “Real Florida”, exactly as Ponce de Leon saw it 500 years ago when he first discovered “La Florida”. Keep your eye out for all sorts of exotic waterbirds as well as birds of prey like bald eagles and ospreys.

At Ponce Inlet, you’ll see Florida’s tallest lighthouse. This 175 foot lighthouse is the second tallest lighthouse in America and a National Historic Landmark.

A view of the Halifax River where we do a lot of inshore fishing charters

On the way back, we’ll hit some of the slow moving, mangrove-lined creeks to look for Florida manatees in their natural habitat. On your scenic boat tour, we’ll also pass some of the most popular waterfront restaurants in the entire Daytona Beach area such as ‘Inlet Harbor’ , ‘Down the Hatch’ and ‘The Grill at Riverview’ where you can stop for drinks!

A view of the Halifax River seen from one of our private boat charters

Captain John Can Customize a Tour for You and Your Family!

This is YOUR private boat tour! Whether you want to make the focus of your private boat charter an Eco-Tour, a Dolphin Tour, a Manatee Tour, a Waterfront Homes Tour or just a see-it-all Scenic Cruise, Captain John is flexible with whatever you would like to do!

See the Real Florida!  Everyone is familiar with the beautiful, wide, hard-packed sand beaches of Daytona Beach, the Daytona International Speedway, home of NASCAR, and of course the wild and crazy Daytona Bike Fest. In addition to these familiar tourist attractions, some of the most beautiful unspoiled natural scenery found anywhere in Florida is just minutes from downtown Daytona Beach. There are hundreds of species of birds, fish, reptiles and of course dolphins and manatees that live along Daytona Beach’s Halifax River.

The Halifax River is home to Florida’s Bottle Nosed Dolphins

Dolphins are often seen on our Daytona Beach charters

You are very likely to see dolphins on your Daytona Beach scenic boat tour with Captain John. Dolphins are very common all around Daytona Beach from the offshore coastal waters along the beaches to the inshore waters of the Halifax River. Dolphins are common enough around Daytona Beach that our scenic eco-tours could just as well be called Daytona Beach Dolphin Tours. But dolphin watching is just part of the fun when you’re on a boat tour around Daytona Beach with Captain John!

There are actually three species of dolphins at home in Florida waters.  The warm waters and mild winters of Florida and the Daytona Beach area as well as the abundant food source makes Florida particularly well suited for dolphins. The most common of these is the Florida bottle-nosed dolphin. The Hollywood animal celebrity “Flipper” was a Florida bottle-nosed dolphin. They are the dolphins most often seen around Daytona Beach. Bottle-nosed dolphins are easily recognized by their blue-gray coloring and lighter shading along their sides and bellies.

The other two dolphin species found in Florida waters are the “common” dolphin and the Atlantic spotted dolphin. The “common” dolphin has a shorter nose than the “bottle-nosed” dolphin and more pronounced two-tone coloring. The Atlantic spotted dolphin has light colored small spots or speckles all over its body. Of the three species, it’s the bottle-nosed dolphins that are most associated with interacting with humans. That’s because “common” dolphins and Atlantic spotted dolphins usually stay further offshore than their bottle-nosed cousins. The “common” dolphin is very common along the Florida coast. The Atlantic spotted dolphin tends to stay much further out to sea and is more often seen as far offshore as the Gulfstream, which is about 50 miles from the Daytona Beach shoreline.

The Florida bottle-nosed dolphins, the “Flippers”, are as much at home in the inshore waters around Daytona Beach as they are offshore. They have no problem spending the majority of their lives in the brackish inshore waters around Daytona Beach. Bottle-nosed dolphins are a common sight along Daytona Beach’s Halifax River, the Intracoastal Waterway and especially at Ponce Inlet where the fishing is especially good.

Dolphins are very social creatures and can be found in groups or pods of three to fifteen individuals. You may even get lucky enough on your Daytona Beach eco-tour to see a mother dolphin nudging her newborn baby dolphin up for air as he learns to swim in his first hours of life.

Dolphins are highly intelligent and curious mammals and they are not shy around humans. It is against federal law to feed, harass or swim with wild dolphins. Close interaction with wild dolphins can be harmful to wild dolphins. Like any other wild animal that gets fed by humans, wild dolphins can get habituated to getting free food from humans and will associate humans with food. That could mean approaching fishing boats and risk getting cut by propellers or entangled in fishing lines. Swimming with wild dolphins can also be dangerous to humans if they believe the humans are a threat to their young or interfering with their fishing for food.

Dolphin Watching!  When dolphins are spotted on your Daytona Beach scenic charter, Captain John will get you close enough to enjoy the thrills of dolphin watching but at a safe distance so as not to interfere with the dolphins activities. After all, we don’t want to harm the dolphins or scare them away so they’ll still be there the next time you charter a boat for a scenic tour in Daytona Beach! 

There are so many manatees in the Halifax River basin that the river is designated as a Manatee Sanctuary.

Several of the major tributaries of the Halifax River, the beautiful Tomoka River, Strickland Creek, Thomson Creek and Dodson Creek are also all designated as part of a Manatee Sanctuary.

Manatees seen on our Daytona Beach fishing charters and boat charters

As popular as dolphins are in Florida, the manatee is Florida’s official state marine mammal. The Florida manatee is a subspecies of the West Indian manatee. (The other subspecies is the Caribbean manatee) There are also two other separate species of manatees, the Amazonian manatee in South America and the African manatee. As an underwater, grazing herbivore that feeds on the lush underwater grass beds found in Florida, the manatee is also known as a “sea cow”.

The Florida manatee is officially listed as “endangered”. This does not mean they are about to go extinct. Quite the contrary, there are many healthy populations of manatees in Florida, including the Daytona Beach area. But it does mean the Florida manatee is strictly protected. The manatee’s fragile habitat is what is really endangered specifically from overdevelopment along the shores of its grassy seabed feeding grounds. There are about 5,000 manatees in Florida.

Where are Manatees Found near Daytona Beach?
Since manatees are herbivores that graze on underwater grassbeds, they can be found wherever these grassbeds thrive in Florida’s coastal bays and wetlands. This includes shallow, slow moving rivers like Daytona Beach’s Halifax River and the slow moving creeks near Daytona Beach such as Spruce Creek and Smyrna Creek. Manatees can live in fresh, brackish or salt water as long as there are underwater grassbeds for them to graze. They are most often found in shallow water, about 3 – 8 feet deep, which is the depth of the grassbeds they feed upon.

Volusia County, which includes Daytona Beach, is home to a healthy population of manatees. There are manatee protection zones along the Halifax River which require slow speeds to protect the slow moving creatures from injury from boat propellers. In addition to these ‘go slow’ zones there are several federal manatee refuges along the Halifax River. North of Daytona Beach, where the Halifax River begins, there are manatee refuges on Halifax Creek, the Tomoka River and the Tomoka River Basin. South of Daytona Beach there are manatee refuges around Ponce Inlet. The citizens of Daytona Beach and all of Volusia County have made a long term commitment with the state of Florida and the federal government to protect the local manatee population.

A Scenic Boat Tour in Daytona Beach is a fun adventure for the entire family!
When you’re ready to have fun on the water in Daytona Beach, contact Captain John of Floating Time Charters.

For Fishing Pictures from Floating Time Charters with Captain John Schmidt visit our Photo Gallery