One of Cornwall's most picturesque ports is Mevagissey. From the sheltered harbour, which is lined with old pubs, ice cream shops and restaurants, you can take a scenic boat trip from the harbour without having to pre-book. Many of the one hour boat trips include simple fishing lines so you can catch mackerel while enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery.
The Fowey to Mevagissey passenger ferry sails across St Austell Bay in the summer months with the opportunity to see basking sharks, seabirds, dolphins, sailing boats and the odd naval warships on the 35 minute trip each way. From Fowey (pronounced Foy) there are some splendid coastal walks to the National Trust owned Gribbin Head with its red and white tower or to Polkerris. For a great day out, take a picnic and a towel and enjoy a swim at Readymoney, Polhaven or Polridmouth (pronounced Pridmouth) nearby.
A gentler scenic river trip with Great Western Riverboats sails from Falmouth up the River Fal to Tolverne where a stop is made for a stroll and afternoon tea at the Smugglers Cottage Tea Room. More unusual boat trips from Falmouth are run by Orca Sea Safaris which combine marine life such as dolphins, seals and sharks with tales of shipwrecks and smugglers. They run these exciting Marine Safaris on Seaquest, the largest Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) in the UK. Similar trips can be taken from Penzance on a more traditional cruiser with Mermaid Pleasure Trips.
Those wanting to visit the riverside town of Calstock and the nearby Cotehele manor house and quay can arrive in leisurely style on a cruise from Plymouth's Barbican. The Tamar River marks the boundary between Devon and Cornwall and the trip includes sailing beneath the famous Royal Albert Bridge, built by I.K. Brunel to carry the railway in 1859.
One of the most well-known boat trips during the summer is catching the Scillonian III ferry to the Isles of Scilly. For a great day trip, fly out on the early morning Skybus, spend time exploring the treasures on the charming island of St Mary's and return on a leisurely cruise past Wolf Rock Lighthouse, the Minack Theatre, Mousehole and Newlyn.
On the North Cornwall coast, St Ives Boats offers boat trips to Seal Island, trips across St Ives Bay to the Godrevy Lighthouse and Hell's Mouth, wreck fishing trips or two hour mackerel fishing trips. They all provide a unique perspective of the beautiful coastal scenery around St Ives with some memorable wildlife spotting and great opportunities for photographs.
Last but not least, Cornish Sea Tours offer two hour trips by powerboat from Rock on the Camel Estuary. The captain, who is also a trained zoologist, will keep up an interesting wildlife narrative on trips to Harlyn in one direction or Tintagel in the other.