St Pete / Clearwater
Here at Canadian Traveller, we value pedestrian-friendly travel. Exploring a car-free zone dotted with owner-operated boutiques, eateries and hyper-local attractions has us booking our tickets stat. Beyond the serenity and exclusivity, these places often enjoy gorgeous views, just like John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk.
With a 1,100 ft boardwalk, visitors can pass a laid-back afternoon wandering Madeira Beach. Over 100 businesses line the waterfront, inviting travellers to peruse charming shops, dine dock-side on pulled-fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood, or participate in one of many special event days. You might even find yourself face-to-face with a scallywagging pirate.
But an afternoon at John's Pass wouldn’t be complete without getting out on the water. Here are 7 ways to find your sea legs at John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk.
Clear Vision Media
Dolphin watching cruise
Playful, bottlenosed dolphins splash around in Boca Ciega Bay. Hop on a guided tour to get close enough to watch them swim, jump and play in the waves. In addition to dolphins, you may also see manatees, brown pelicans, eagles and ospreys.
How do I get up-close-and-personal with the wildlife?
Dolphin Quest sets sail four times a day, but their tours fill up fast, so it's best to book in advance. They also host private parties and special events to make your encounter with local dolphins even more intimate.
Hubbard's Dolphin Watching hosts several fully narrated tours per day. Times depend on the season. Riding on "The Big Blue Boat" is a unique part of the experience.
In John's Pass, anglers can expect to catch plenty of good, edible fish. Depending on the season, visitors can catch a diversity of fish from queen snapper to large trophy sharks.
How can I go deep sea fishing?
Fishing trips at Hubbard's Marina range from 5 to 63 hours. (Seriously.) A longer trip means more fishing, and it also means you can get further offshore. However, there are also options for those who'd prefer to stay closer to shore.
Lady Godiva offers a popular 8-hour trip during which visitors can fish for grouper, kingfish and wahoo, among others. Catching a fish is guaranteed - or your trip is free!
SUP & kayaking
If you're hoping to get some exercise in, get out on the water on a stand-up paddleboard or in a kayak. Paddle through calm protected back bay waters for a unique sight-"seaing" experience. Visitors even have the opportunity to paddle alongside dolphins.
Where can I rent the equipment?
Hubbard's Marina rents single kayaks, double kayaks and SUPs. They also price-match based on local competition.
For the more adventurous traveller, parasailing is rated the top attraction in Madeira Beach. Strap in side-by-side to a friend, partner or family member and feel yourself being pulled into the sky by a large parachute. The U.S. Coast Guard-inspected boat in front of you can cause you to soar higher or dip your toes into the ocean. Up to three people can go at once.
Where can I go parasailing in John's Pass?
Several tour operators dedicated to parasailing offer unforgettable experiences. Gators Parasail has two 12-passenger boats to take tours on hour-long adventures. Book online and get a discounted rate of $65.
We get it – tours aren't for everyone. For those travellers that want to explore the ocean themselves, it's possible to rent a boat and explore the area privately. Drivers must be at least 25 years of age and will need a valid boating licence.
Where can I rent a boat?
Blind Pass rents a variety of Hurricane Deck Boats that can accommodate 6-8 passengers.
Jack's Boat Rentals carry a range of boat sizes to accommodate different groups.
Jet ski rental
One of the most exciting ways to hit the water in John's Pass is on a jet ski. Carrying 1-3 passengers, these machines are small but powerful.
Where can I rent a jet ski?
Woody's Watersports has Sea-Doo and Yahama rentals. You must be over 18 years old to rent.
Pirate ship ride
For a truly unique experience, climb aboard the Pirate Ship Cruise for a two-hour swashbuckling adventure on the high seas. Kids will love spending the day in the life of a pirate, and adults will love the bar that serves beer and wine. The whole family will end the day with an on-deck dance party!
How can I get aboard the pirate cruise?
The Pirate Ship Cruise has three daily departures at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and sunset. Advance bookings are highly recommended.
This article was brought to you by our friends at John's Pass Village & Boardwalk.
Located on the waterfront at John's Pass, this quaint turn-of-the-century fishing village is Pinellas County’s #1 tourist attraction.
Start planning your visit: Peruse the merchants and check out upcoming events.
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