Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wildlife Watching Boat Tours

Wildlife boat tours are a great way to see nature from the water. Wildlife tours are available seasonally on lakes, reservoirs, rivers, coastal bays and other waterways. Tour boats often travel to national wildlife refuges, state parks or other preserves where wildlife is abundant.

The types of wildlife that can be expected will vary widely by location, season, weather conditions, and time of day. A reputable tour guide will be up front about what to expect.

When choosing a wildlife or nature tour boat provider, a good starting point is always an online search. Another good source of information may be the local tourism information center. Hotels and inns are another possible source of  tourism information. State and local chambers of commerce may also be able to recommend a boat tour. In most areas, local outdoor guides or outfitters offer wildlife watching trips by boat.

Types of Wildlife Tour Boats:

Flat bottomed skiffs are extremely popular as touring boats. These are simple, sturdy craft that are designed to carry heavy payloads through shallow areas. Skiffs offer a comfortable platform at low speeds, although they are known for their harsh, wet ride in windy situations. Most skiffs are totally open, which allow for unobstructed views of wildlife. The down side to an open boat is that occupants have no shelter from the elements.

In some areas, pontoon boats are the predominant choice for wildlife tours. These craft offer several advantages over other styles of boats. They typically have tops, which shade occupants from the sun and provide some amount of shelter during rain showers.

Some wildlife tours utilize canoes or kayaks. These are among the most rugged of trips, with tour members needing a higher level of physical skills. Although canoeing and kayaking tours demand more effort, they offer advantages that no other tours can match. Among the most alluring aspects of these tours are the up-close encounters and individual experiences that only a small, self powered craft can produce.

For longer range tours such as whale watching trips, much larger craft are preferred. These specialized boats offer enclosed cabins, bathrooms and may even serve drinks and meals on board. These full featured boats are usually more expensive, but are suitable for a wider range of ages and skill levels. Depending on the area, length of trip and local water conditions, motion sickness remedies may be necessary when travelling on these vessels.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Wildlife Tour Boat:

When are tour boats available?
Do I need to make reservations in advance?
Do any additional costs apply such as tips or other fees?
What are the capabilities of the boat?
What is the length of the trip?
How many occupants can the boat carry?
What do I need to bring on the boat?

Wildlife Tour Information

USA Nature Tours

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