Best Springs to See Manatees
Manatees, usually known as Florida’s gentle giants, swimming in the water is a treat to the eyes. They are very gentle and calm and swim aimlessly in the blue water springs, so if you are in Florida, then Manatee viewing is an activity you shouldn’t miss.
Many springs in Florida have manatees in the wild, and you can easily catch a glimpse of these gentle giants while kayaking or scuba diving.
Here is a list of top springs in Florida famous for Manatee viewing:
1. Blue Springs
The Blue Springs in Florida is home to countless manatees, and you can view them swimming through the clear waters from the multiple viewpoints on the boardwalk.
Furthermore, kayaking and canoeing are allowed in this spring, and you can go close to manatees to have a good look. However, you aren’t allowed to disturb them or scare them away.
The Blue springs also have a dedicated manatee webcam wherein you can closely view the manatees and get a count on how many manatees are currently present in the Blue Springs area.
During the winter months, the water activities are paused as it allows the manatees to come into the waters to warm them up. You can still get a good view of the manatees from the boardwalk.
Manatees come out of the spring water at times into the river, but you may not be able to clearly spot them as the water is a bit dark-bluish.
2. Crystal River
Crystal river is home to one of the busiest Floridan springs, The Three Sister Springs, and is one of the few places wherein you can find a cluster of manatees at a time. It’s estimated that the spring has over a hundred manatees resting here and there, swimming in the beautiful, clear blue waters.
The authorities make it a point that the visitors in no way possess any harm to the manatees. Thus, ensuring they get to thrive in the wild.
You can rent out a clear kayak and go kayaking in the waters to get an up-close view of the manatees. The best time to see the manatees is in the winter, as they come into the spring waters to warm their bodies. However, no matter what time of the year you visit the spring, you can spot one or two manatees in the waters.
3. The Chaz – Chassahowitzka River
The Chaz is another place where you can see manatees in their natural habitat. The surroundings are filled with a wide variety of vegetation, and you can see many manatees casually swimming through the clear blue waters. The Chaz also has a good variety of fish in the waters. You can go kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling, or scuba diving to see the manatees up close.
It’s best to visit the place during the winter as you can see a lot of manatees in the Chassahowitzka river waters that come from the seven sisters springs. They also have docking stations wherein you can view the manatees through your binoculars if you aren’t interested in getting into the waters.
4. Round Island – Vero Beach
Another cool spot where manatees gather is Vero beach, just around Round beach. Manatees are common in this place because of the abundance of food and a lot less traffic compared to the nearby water bodies. Boats and other motorized water transport don’t usually come in this area, thus providing ample space for the manatees to move around.
The manatees swim around throughout the year in this place, but if you are lucky enough, you get to see a pool of manatees during the summer months when the water is quite warm.
5. Tarpon Springs
The Tarpon springs are pretty common for sponge fishing. Another reason to visit this spring is to see the manatees up close during winter. This is one of the less visited springs, and you can even call it a hidden gem. The manatees usually visit these areas in groups, so if you are at the right place at the right time, you can see a group of manatees just chilling around in the light blue clear waters.
There are some kayak rental stalls wherein you can easily rent out the necessary kayaking equipment and go where you think you might be able to encounter some manatees.
The Tarpon springs usually organize the manatee season kayaking, which is the best time to visit the place. The sessions would be coordinated such that you will surely get to see the manatees while you are kayaking around in the waters. The manatee season starts on November 15th and lasts till the 31st of March.
6. Homosassa Springs
Homosassa Springs has the famous Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park with countless manatees. The park is quite famous for wildlife viewing as it has several species, including hippopotami, alligators, birds, and even bears. Guided tours will help you view all these species in their natural habitat.
The manatees often club in the spring waters during the winter months to get rid of the colder temperatures of the oceans. So the winter weekends would be the perfect opportunity to go kayaking in these waters and see these manatees up close.
Manatee viewing is fun, but make sure you don’t scare them or try to hurt them when you get a chance to see them close. Most of these springs are well-marinated as it habits a lot of species. Thus, if you want to get the essence of nature and interact with wildlife and marine life, the Floridian springs and rivers are your best call. Use this list as a reference and start ticking each off. Happy exploring!