THING TO DO

Kayak with the Dolphins

two dolphins swim seen from above
Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are frequently seen in the park.

NPS Photo

The waters of Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Jacksonville, Florida provide critical habitat for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Although the area hosts dolphins year-round, rangers recommend planning your excursion for the summer months.  During the summer, the St. Johns River experiences a large influx of dolphins. Summer is also the peak mating and birthing season. Dolphins are best observed in the park by kayak and from a distance. Never get in the water to swim with dolphins, these majestic creatures are powerful and unpredictable.

You can launch your own kayak from Cedar Point boat ramp or rent a kayak. The best time of day to observe dolphins is when the water is calmer. We recommend early morning weekday trips.  

Be sure to have the camera ready (and water-proof) for when dolphins come up to the surface!

Report Injured or Stranded Marine Animals – FWCC Hotline 1-888-404-FWCC (3922)

Details
Always check the tides when planning a trip. Traveling against the current will always take much longer. Be sure to tell someone when you plan to return and bring a means of communication on your trip.  
Kayak with the dolphins of Timucuan Preserve. 
Kayaking is fun for all ages. Be aware of any physical limitations when planning your trip route, tides, and duration. We recommend young children who are properly fit with a flotation device travel in a tandem kayak. 
It is free to launch your own kayak from Cedar Point but kayak rentals and many area launches do change a fee. Be sure to research your exact route and prices during your trip planning. 
The waterways of the park can be accessed by a wide variety of entrances. From the boat ramp at Cedar Point (9023 Cedar Point Rd.), to private and public ramps and launches, there is no single entrance to the saltmarsh. 
Accessibility Information
The City of Jacksonville has 3 adaptive kayak launches located at:
Bethesda Park - 10790 Key Haven Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32218,

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park - 500 Wonderwood Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32233 and

Southbank Riverwalk - 1001 Museum Circle, Jacksonville, FL 32207

The Hanna Park launch is the nearest to Timucuan Preserve. 

Last updated: December 29, 2020