Royal Conquest

Dolphin Quest

Shark Boat


Fall Madeira Beach

Exciting Fall Family Vacation Adventures

It may not look like it, but Fall is just around the corner. As leaves turn and sunlight dwindles, there is no better time than now to start planning a vacation unlike any other! For a unique and thrilling adventure, look no further than Madeira Beach, Florida, to let loose and unleash your inner pirate. From swashbuckling adventures aboard the Royal Conquest to dolphin and manatee sightings with the experienced crew of the Dolphin Quest, say ‘Ahoy!’ to Sunshine Scenic Tours, the perfect destination for your exciting fall family vacation adventures in Madeira Beach begins.

Within close proximity to Tampa and St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, Florida, John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk at Madeira Beach offers a slew of family-friendly activities while exploring Boca Ciega Bay.

From tall tales of adventure to dolphin sightings, Sunshine Scenic Tours is where your memorable journey begins.


A Pirate Adventure Awaits!


Kick-start your vacation alongside the pirates of the Royal Conquest. The authentic, 46-foot double-decker pirate ship sails daily from John’s Pass with promises of treasure-hunting adventures under the banner of the skull and crossbones. Captain and crew are ready to provide entertainment for your entire family!

Set sail into the beautiful waters throughout the Boca Ciega Bay for an hour and a half cruise featuring tales of adventure and plunder, swordplay and even face painting. For the adults, beverages are provided – including beer, wine and more, and yes, adults can take part in the face painting should it strike your fancy. 

Allow yourself to be transported back in time to the age of the seafarer who explored these very shores as enthusiastic pirates in full regalia host an experience fit for buccaneers and land lubbers alike. No pirate party would be complete without the dreadful tale of Peg Leg Pete, a most fearsome pirate if there ever was one, who may make an appearance. 

Cruising along through the Bay guests view the beauty of the Florida waters, spot dolphins and other manner of sea creatures – including the shy manatee – and be entertained by the trained professional crewmembers, all of whom prioritize guest safety, ensuring a pleasurable experience. 

Returning to John’s Pass gives guests the opportunity to view photographs from the adventure and to take home a souvenir of the unforgettable journey. Say ‘Goodbye, Me Hearties!’ for now and spread tales of your legendary cruise!


Manatee Sightings, Ahoy!


Fall is a great time to witness the elegance of a society of dolphins lithely moving through the Bay, and perhaps even better for experiencing the majesty of the gentle manatee cruising in the calm waters off John’s Pass.

Manatee numbers begin to swell toward the end of October and peak through March, when offspring are born and parents seek warmer waters near natural springs and power plants. The curious, human-loving creatures can be spotted under the John’s Pass boardwalk from time to time to the awe of passers by before they trek North.

Aside from their natural beauty and splendor, manatees play an important role in maintaining the ecosystem off of the Florida coast, grazing on seagrasses and other aquatic plant life. This, along with their rather rotund shape and size, dubs them as “sea cows.”

John’s Pass serves as a historical migration channel for the manatee. Catching a glimpse of one or more as they move along the coast is not a rare occurrence. Aboard the Dolphin Quest, guests may witness the majestic manatee. If lucky, perhaps a baby or two on their way to warmer waters, adding to your exciting fall family vacation adventures in Madeira Beach.


Dolphins Come Out to Play with the Shark Boat


However, sharks aren’t the target aboard this cruise. Although you might feel a bit bitey standing in the belly of a great white! The aptly named Shark Boat, designed to resemble, well, a shark, is specially equipped to give the dolphins what they want: a wake grand enough for the playful marine mammals to ride. 

The 40-foot tour boat stalks the waterways of John’s Pass in search of killer waves. By doing so, the dolphins can express themselves above and below the surface. Curious by nature, dolphins will often follow alongside boats investigating the wake of the boat. It is then they begin leaping from the water in a playful manner.

Dolphins travel with speed and elegance, their body design moves them through water like a hot knife through butter. The breed most commonly seen in Boca Ciega Bay is the bottlenose dolphin. Dolphins can reach speeds upwards of 20 miles per hour! While breaking the surface two or three times every minute for air, dolphins can cover great distances in no time. But, they do enjoy taking advantage of humans to get where they’re going faster.

Alongside a boat, dolphins can catch a wave and glide along without exerting much effort. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the playful creatures love to investigate the Shark Boat.  


Seeing Green on a Sunset Cruise?


Hop aboard the Dolphin Quest in the late afternoon for a cruise through Boca Ciega Bay. After enjoying the scenery, you will out into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There, you’ll find one of nature’s true beauties: a sunset at sea. If the weather is right, you may bear witness to one of the world’s most unique sights. The famed green flash.

Spend time searching for dolphins within the Bay for the first half of your excursion. Then venture the Gulf for a view of the gorgeous Florida coast sunset. As light begins to fade, colors turn from blues to reds and oranges following the sun’s path below the horizon.

As the sun begins to fade, twilight shrouds the Dolphin Quest. If the conditions are right, lucky viewers may catch a glimpse of the green flash. The green flash is a spark of light the curvature of the earth creates as a trick of nature.

Light refracting in the atmosphere creates this phenomena, lasting mere seconds. The sight is memorable, the source of legends themselves. Sailors and pirates alike attribute good weather on the following day to seeing a green flash. While Hollywood has had it’s hand in defining the phenomena. In Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, the green flash is said to mark a soul returning from the land of the dead.

Certainly, guests aboard the Dolphin Quest who witness such a rare celestial sight will not soon forget the experience. 

For more information and to book your exciting fall family vacation adventures, visit

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