Note: Some companies on this list may have limited operations due to COVID-19. Check with operators about availability before you book.
After days of lounging on South Beach and exploring Miami’s cultural enclaves like Little Havana and Wynwood, you may be in the mood for a heart-pumping adventure. Zipping along Miami’s waterways on a Jet Ski (also known as a personal watercraft) may be just the ticket. After consulting both traveler opinion and expert input, U.S. News found the best Jet Ski rental companies and tour operators in both Miami and Miami Beach.
Before you book, there are a few things to keep in mind. Florida law requires a person to be at least 18 to rent a personal watercraft. Additionally, anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, must complete a boating education course through the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators prior to driving a personal watercraft. BoatUS Foundation offers a free online course. Your tour company may also be able to give you a quick safety course and issue you a temporary certificate. Be sure to check with your operator when you book. Know that you must have both your boating education ID card and a government-issued photo ID card to rent a personal watercraft, and you need to keep those with you on your person when you’re operating it.
Travelers routinely praise Jet-Ski Tours of Miami’s employees for being fun and informative. Riders also say the guides will make you feel safe as you ride. The company offers three different guided tours as well as rentals. The “Fun, Fun” Tour lasts approximately one hour and takes visitors by sights like Star Island, the Venetian Islands and Palm Islands. It also includes 30 minutes of free time to either ride the watercraft at your leisure or hop into the water for a swim. The “Miami Vice” Tour lasts about 90 minutes and rides past the Port of Miami and downtown; it also stops at Fisher Island SandBar for photos and includes a 20-minute free ride around a designated area. The aptly named “Do It All” Tour lasts two hours. It includes all of the sites and activities in the “Miami Vice” tour plus a 30-minute stop for snorkeling along a coral reef. If you’d rather just whiz around on a Jet Ski or WaveRunner, that’s possible, too. Jet-Ski Tours of Miami offers a “Freedom Ride” that lets you ride around on a personal watercraft within a designated area.
Guided tours operate daily, though specific tours run at different times of day. Rides range from $150 to $240 per vehicle, and each vehicle can accommodate up to two riders. “Freedom Ride” half-hour rentals cost about $90 per vehicle and are only available Monday to Thursday. In addition, these rentals are on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be reserved. Hourlong rides can be reserved in advance and will cost about $140 per machine. The company recommends renting in the morning to avoid the surge of afternoon crowds. (Note: While reviews are generally positive, a few tourists complain of poor customer service.) Trips depart from the Bentley Bay Marina in Miami Beach, about a mile northwest of South Pointe Park.
If you want to combine a Jet Ski trip with a dolphin watching experience, Miami Jet Ski Rental has the tour for you. Its two-hour Dolphin Safari Adventure takes travelers on a high-speed personal watercraft ride to view dolphins. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a manatee. The trip also includes access to snorkeling gear in case you want to hop in the water during a stop. Alternatively, you can take a trip through Biscayne Bay and see the city’s skyline by booking the company’s 60-minute Island Adventure tour. Or, if you’d rather not take a formal tour, the company also offers a Morning Ridezone option which allows for an hourlong ride in a designated area.
Travelers say this company is excellent for beginners as guides take their time helping newbies get accustomed to driving a personal watercraft. Riders also note the guides helped them get a temporary boating certificate. (And don’t worry, patrons praise the actual outings, too.) Both the Dolphin Safari Adventure and the Morning Ridezone typically depart in the morning starting at 9 a.m. while the Island Adventure tour departs in both the mornings and afternoons (exact days vary). Prices range from $120 to $250 per vehicle. Trips depart from a marina beside the Bayside Marketplace, which sits about a mile south of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.
During an outing with Hector’s Jet Ski Tours, travelers can expect to see popular Miami attractions from the water including Fisher Island SandBar, the Venetian Islands, Key Biscayne, downtown and Millionaire’s Row. There are multiple options for riding. Visitors hoping to learn more about Miami can schedule a narrated tour with the company.
Tour-takers routinely praise Hector, saying he is friendly and knowledgeable. They also appreciate that he’s safety conscious and gives comprehensive instruction to beginners. Hourlong tours cost $150 per machine, and two-hour outings cost approximately $180. Each machine can accommodate up to two people (no more than 400 pounds total), and groups are limited to four watercrafts per tour. Trips run daily, but you will need to contact the company for available times. Longer trips and private outings are available for an additional fee, as are tandem outings that allow a company tour guide to do the driving for you. Tours depart from a dock on Lake Pancoast in Miami Beach, about a block away from the beginning of the Miami Beach Boardwalk on 24th Street.