MDC Boat Ecotours
Travel the Indian River Lagoon in the comfort of our 40-passenger Discovery pontoon boat and explore the variety of species that call the lagoon home. Your tour guide on the journey will be one of our friendly certified Florida naturalists.
You can book in person, online, or over the phone at 386.428.4828. Please check our online calendar to confirm dates/times as schedules are subject to change. All tours are weather permitting. Minimum occupancy of 8 is required for boat to depart.
MDC Members receive a 10 percent discount on most tours. Family rate is 2 adults and 2 children (under 12). Call for details.
Use the promo code MDCFUN5 when booking online to receive a special $5 off your tour!
Masks are not required on the boat but we ask that you wear them inside our building.
Learn more about our COVID-19 precautions and policies
Daily Boat Tours
As your captain skillfully navigates the backwaters of the lagoon, you will experience Florida’s natural beauty while learning about conservation efforts to preserve and protect North America’s most biologically diverse estuary.
Experience a magical New Smyrna Beach sunset while scanning the waters and shorelines for dolphins, manatee, shorebirds, and more. The rookery islands are a sight in the evening as a variety of birds glide in for a night’s rest. *Dolphin Lighthouse EcoTours are offered at a similar time on Fridays.
Cruise at sunset under the New Smyrna Beach drawbridge, past sand bars, mangrove shorelines and through Ponce de Leon Inlet to the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse and back.
Specialty Boat Tours & Charters
We’ll leave our dock and head north to Disappearing Island, where birding enthusiasts will disembark and spend two hours exploring this large sand bar, looking for winter migratory birds. Guidance will be offered to less-experienced birders and there will opportunities for novice birders to learn more about birds from highly experienced guests on the trip from local Audubon chapters. Guests are encouraged to bring binoculars, viewing scopes, cameras, bird guide books, sunscreen and water to drink. Guests will walk the island at their own pace.
As the sun sets and splashes vibrant colors across the sky, sit back and enjoy your view of the beautiful full moon as it rises over the horizon. Full Moon Kayak Tours are offered on the same days/times.
We’ll take a look back through time and discover the colonial origins of New Smyrna, discuss interesting landmarks like Old Fort Ruins, learn about the Timucuans who originally inhabited this land, touch on important moments in history like the Civil War and Prohibition, and much more!
Discover what’s below the surface as our guide leads guests on a scientific journey to take a closer look at pollution, phytoplankton, and plastics. Become a scientist as you take a look into a microscope to better understand the unseen world around us.
We will drop a trawl net* and bring aboard a variety of species for guests to view up close, and it won’t be long before you begin to see how these creatures are connected to each other… and to us. Come prepared to experience the lagoon in a new way! Trawl netting is conducted under FWC permit.
2-Hour Rookery Island Camera Cruise
No scheduled tours at this time.
Adults: $30 | Seniors (62+) & Students: $27
Family: $80 | Children under 12: $15
Please call 386.428.4828 to book this tour.
Grab your cameras, lenses, and tripods and join us for a wonderful adventure to the famous bird rookery islands here in New Smyrna. The birds are breeding and the islands are popping with new chicks, and this is your chance to get the best views and photo ops. All guests will get an opportunity to set up their camera gear and shoot from the front deck of the boat.
This special tour will take guests on a journey through the Indian River Lagoon to experience wildlife from the water AND on foot with a visit to Disappearing Island. Activities may include seine netting and dip netting to learn more about fish, crabs and other saltwater species. Guests should wear closed-toe water shoes that can get wet. Guests are also encouraged to bring binoculars, cameras, sunscreen and water to drink.
Dock and Dine Tour
No scheduled tours at this time.
Rates vary depending on restaurant location. Please call 386.428.4828 for price details.
Come out with MDC for a wonderful Dock and Dine experience that showcases the best New Smyrna Beach has to offer! We’ll leave a specified dock for an ecotour led by a Florida Coastal Naturalist to search for amazing Indian River Lagoon wildlife, and then we’ll drop you off at one of our wonderful local restaurants for lunch on your own.
Dolphin Discovery Charter
Regular Charter: $600 for 2 hours | Additional Time: $100 per hour
Dock & Dine layover: Inquire for rates
Book your private charter today by calling our office at 386.428.4828
Charter our vessel, Discovery, and you can choose from our standard cruise packages or let our team work with you to customize an outing which fits your needs perfectly. We can even arrange “Dock & Dine” excursions transporting your group to some of our local waterfront restaurants.
Charters can be arranged on most days, but we encourage advanced booking. Seating is limited to 40 passengers, but could be less if a musician and/or serving table is required. A deposit of 50 percent is required at the time of booking. All charters include a Coast Guard-certified captain and certified Florida naturalist/first mate.
"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."