The best ways to get out and go Swimming With The Manatees In Florida
Florida is home to incredible wildlife. From exotic birds flying from tree to tree to colorful fish swimming below the waves of the ocean. But there is one animal that is almost completely unique to Florida, and you can swim with them. That animal is the Manatee!
Manatees are sweet, "sea cows" of the water. Manatees like to float around in the oceans, rivers, and springs of Florida. The best part about these sweet sea creatures is that they are very docile. This means that you can go swimming with them out in their natural habitat. Unlike going swimming with dolphins in facilities, you can actually swim with manatees in the waters of Florida. Are you excited to go swimming with the manatees in Florida? If you’re not sure where to start, here is everything you need to know to go swimming with the manatees in Florida.
Learn About Manatees
Before you hop in the water, it is important to learn a thing or two about manatees. When you go swimming with the manatees in Florida, you will be in their habitat. So you want to make sure you know the right procedures so you don't disturb them. You will also need some gear to make your swim is the best it can be. Here are some fun facts to get you excited about swimming with the manatees in Florida.
Manatees Like Warm Water
The easiest place to find manatees to swim with is in warm waters. Manatees don't like the cold, so they will migrate from the ocean to the rivers and canals. This usually happens in the winter months in Florida. Manatees can live in saltwater and freshwater so they have more options to migrate when they need to.
In Florida, this can sometimes mean you can swim with the manatees in the ocean. But more often you can find a ton of manatees to swim with in the rivers, canals, and even power plant runoff areas.
Manatees need to live in water that is 68 degrees or above so they can keep a safe internal body temperature. So when the water gets too cold in the ocean, they can swim into freshwater rivers and canals. In the winter months, you can find a huge concentration of manatees in the canals of Florida. So the winter months are the best time to go if you want to swim with the manatees in Florida.
Manatees Are Friendly
Manatees have the nickname “sea-cows” because these large aquatic mammals mainly feed on seagrass along the bottom of the water. They almost look just like cows when they graze. Because of this, they are huge, friendly creatures. They aren’t easily disturbed and are gentle and slow-moving animals. If you are thinking about swimming with the manatees in Florida with your family, it’s a great activity to try. Everyone from your littlest kid to your oldest grandma can enjoy swimming with the manatees in Florida.
Keep a Good Distance When Swimming with Manatees
Manatees are a federally protected species. Luckily, they are no longer an endangered species, but there are still many rules to protect manatees in their natural habitats. This means that you are not allowed to harass manatees if you are swimming with them. Don’t poke or prod at them or try to hang on to them while they are swimming. You wouldn't want someone coming into your house and poking you in the eye right? Just think about how you would want to be treated, and treat the manatees you are swimming with the same way. As long as you are kind to the manatees, they should also be kind back to you.
Find Where To Swim With Manatees in Florida
Florida is quite a large state, so you may be wondering, where are some of the best places to go swimming with the manatees in Florida? There are a couple of incredible spots that you can’t miss if you want to go swimming with the manatees in Florida. Read on to find out which spot would be the perfect place for you and your family to visit.
Out of all of the spots to go swimming with the manatees in Florida, Crystal River might be the best. Crystal River is located in Homosassa, Florida. Homosassa is a great location to visit if you're in Florida. It’s about an hour's drive from both Orlando and Tampa. So if you are staying on a vacation in one of those two spots, you can easily take a day trip to Crystal River to go swimming with the manatees in Florida.
Why is Crystal River such an incredible spot to see manatees? Well in the winter months, when they are migrating to the warmer waters, you can see almost 400 manatees in Crystal River at one time! If you decide to try swimming with manatees in Florida in Crystal River, you are almost guaranteed to find plenty of manatees to swim with. You can swim with the manatees on your own in Crystal River, but if you want to guarantee that you will make some new aquatic friends, try going out on a manatee tour.
When you visit Crystal River you can swim with manatees in King’s Bay and Three Sisters. Both of these areas have gorgeous, crystal clear blue waters. If you decide to take a boat out on the canal and bay, you can easily see manatees from above through the water too.
There are many different state parks in Florida that you can visit to swim with Manatees. An incredible state park to visit to see manatees in Florida is Blue Spring State Park. Blue Spring State Park is right outside of Orlando and is also very close to the Harris Chain of Lakes area. So if you find yourself vacationing in either of these spots and want a more secluded area to swim with manatees, this is the state park for you.
Blue Spring State Park is known as a great place if you don’t have a boat. But if you want to get out on the water to get up close and personal with the manatees, you can swim with manatees for the most immersive experience..
Blue Spring State Park is a great spot to view manatees if you aren’t feeling like swimming with the manatees in Florida one day. There are plenty of boardwalks and viewing platforms to stroll along to get a great view of the manatees.
Get In The Water and Go Swimming with the Manatees In Florida
Now that you know more about manatees and where to find them in Florida, it’s time for the fun part. Getting in the water for a swim. There are a couple of different ways that you can go about swimming with the manatees in Florida.
Take a Manatee Tour
The best way to guarantee that you will get to swim alongside manatees is to book a guided manatee tour. There are a couple of different tours out of Crystal River that can fit the needs of your group as well. If you have a long day and want to fill it up with adventure, try booking a four-hour manatee tour in Crystal River. With a manatee tour, you will get a captain and manatee guide. Your guide will take you out on a boat to spots where manatees were spotted the day before. Once you get to your spot, your guide will provide you with all of the gear you need to hop in the water. The gear includes a wetsuit, mask, and snorkel.
Going on a tour is a great option if you are visiting Florida, so you don’t have to spend a ton of money on gear that you may only use a couple of times. Once you get to your spot and have all your gear on it’s time to get in the water. Your guide will help you navigate how to swim alongside the manatees and make sure you and the animals are safe. Manatee tours can accommodate up to 6 people so going on a private tour is great for families.
If you only have a couple of people in your group or just like to be social, try a semi-private tour. These tours leave daily and make it easy to go swimming with the manatees in Florida. The whole family can go, or if you only have a couple of people, you can tag along with another group.
Rent a Boat
If you want to get adventurous and find manatees to swim with on your own, try renting a boat. With a boat rental, you can go out on the canals of Crystal River or one of the state parks. Once you find a spot to anchor, you can get in the water for your swim. Renting a boat is a great option if you have little ones with you that can’t be in the water for too long. Or have people in your group that might not want to go swimming. You can still experience the majesty of manatees from a boat.
If you want to get close to the manatees without swimming, try a kayak rental. You can even go out on a kayak tour if you aren’t too sure about getting out on the water on your own. Your tour guide can show you beautiful spots along the river that not everyone can get to see. If you’re looking for something a little different that still gets you close to the manatees, try a paddleboard rental. There’s no easier way to get up close and personal with the manatees than when you’re on a paddleboard. If you’re gentle enough, they may even swim right up to your board!
Renting a boat can allow you to get to more secluded spots along the bay and river. Since some of the spots to swim with manatees are very popular, they can get crowded. Having a boat for a day can get you away from the crowds. You may even stumble across a beautiful area you couldn’t get to if you didn’t have your boat. Whether you take a guided tour on a boat, or just go off the boat launch in the state parks, taking a boat is a great way to get try swimming with the manatees in Florida.
Swimming with Manatees Conclusion
There is nothing more unique than swimming with the manatees in Florida. Once you hop in the crystal blue waters of the Florida canals and rivers, you may not want to get back out. All of the areas to go swimming with Manatees are relatively shallow as well. So even if you aren’t the strongest swimmer, you can still have a great time when you’re swimming with the manatees in Florida.
Swimming with the manatees in Florida is as easy as following our three-step how-to guide. Once you learn a little about manatees, you’ll be able to figure out the best places to find them. Once you know where to find them, all you really have to do is hop in the water! It’s a great idea to be prepared and have the right gear. So when you go on your manatee tour, your aquatic gear will be provided for you. You can also take your own boat and gear out to swim with manatees.
Just remember, when you are swimming with the manatees in Florida, you are in their home. Be respectful and kind to these beautiful creatures. They may even come up and let you pet them like a big, sea dog. If a manatee is comfortable with your or your guide, you may be able to pet them. Make sure you are not harassing these animals or trying to hold on to them for rides and this is not okay. Always treat animals the way you would want to be treated. If you follow these steps, you are sure to have an incredible time swimming with the manatees in Florida.