Kayak With Manatees In Florida – 19 Places For Kayaking With Manatees

Kayak with manatees in Florida

Manatee kayaking is a ton of fun. The fact that the manatee calls Florida Springs home during the year’s cooler months is one of its best things. Where in Florida can you go kayaking with manatees? Yay, we can assist!

Kayaking with manatees is one of the most exhilarating activities you can undertake. The delight of viewing and interacting with some of the gentlest aquatic species should be added to the experience. These are some locations in Florida where you can go kayaking with a manatee!

You are reading: Kayak With Manatees In Florida – 19 Places For Kayaking With Manatees.

19 Best Locations To Kayak With Manatees In Florida

1. Kayaking on the Crystal River

One of the world’s most significant concentrations of wild manatees may be found in Crystal River, Florida. It is accessible and has many facilities, and Tampa is just 90 minutes away. Here, you may rent kayaks or join a kayak tour. Of course, you are welcome to bring your kayak.

Visit Kings Bay Park and Three Sister Spring in Sarasota, Florida, to see the manatees that swim in the water. Entering restricted areas is prohibited since they are meant to protect the animals. It is best to visit as early as possible during the workweek when fewer people are around.

Up to 800 manatees are thought to migrate here in the winter. You can see some in the springs if you arrive just before they shut the spring off. This 600-acre bay has 70 springs. Although you can’t kayak in them, you can observe them in other places.

If you’re looking for a great place to kayak among manatees in Florida, this is the place for you. One of the few places where you may swim alongside manatees is at Manatee Lagoon in Florida.

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2. Longboat Key Kayaking With Manatees

Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island are two of the best places in the US to kayak with manatees and other wildlife. Happy Paddlers offered us a kayaking tour with a guide, but you can also rent kayaks from them and take introductory lessons. They also offer kayak fishing excursions and sunset or mangrove kayak trips. Longboat Pass Bridge, which connects Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island, is a must-see for snorkel enthusiasts.

3. Kayaking at Fort Myers’ Manatee Park

The park’s warm water is produced by a power station that releases warm water, not a spring. When the Florida water becomes too chilly for manatees, they may seek sanctuary in warm waters.

Parking and access to the park are free, although there is a parking fee. Kayaks are not permitted in some regions, although you may still see them there. They are a bit harder to find since the water isn’t as straightforward as it would be in the spring. The park’s butterfly garden, nature walk, and ethnobotany trail are delightful.

On the Orange River, kayak a little upstream since this location is always crowded. It won’t only be quieter; you’ll also get to witness inquisitive manatees beside your boat. A barrier blocks access to the area along the canal where they “hang out.”

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4. Blue Springs, Orlando Kayaking

Blue Springs State Park is a great place to kayak with manatees in Florida, created after biologists followed manatees swimming up from the St. Johns River. Manatees are not allowed to swim with kayakers, but you may quickly see them from a safe distance on a kayak.

As many as 500 have been reported to visit this region of Florida each year. The spring is off-limits to kayakers during prime manatee season, although you may see them in the St. John’s River.

An underwater and above-the-water camera allows people to see manatees even when not in the water. Manatees are an essential part of the marine mammal population, and there is a lot of research at Blue Springs Marine Reserve in South Carolina.

Read more: Winter Kayaking

5. The Chassahowitzka River is accessible from the campsite.

The Chassahowitzka River Campground is a beautiful place to take a leisurely river paddle. You may spend the night there or go for a day excursion and launch a kayak. We have frequented this campsite and find it a pleasant place to stay with well-kept restrooms.

Dolphins, birds, fish, otters, and various reptiles may all be present in the region, among other creatures. Kayak rentals are available at the campground’s shop, or you may bring your own.

Kayak lockers are available for daily rental if you want to stay at the campsite. There is a sandy beach area where kayaks may be launched and a boat ramp that can be used with a car. The terrace provides excellent views of the lagoon, home to various species.

6. Ginnie Springs

Ginnie Springs is one of Florida’s most stunning hot springs. Visitors can rent kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, tubing, and snorkeling equipment. Equipment rental prices vary from $8 to $30. If you haven’t already visited Ginnie Springs, you must see it! Ginnie Springs is one of the most popular spots in Florida to watch manatees. It is located on the Santa Fe River, and people travel around the country to visit it.

Read more: Best Cooler For Kayaking

7. Manatee Kayaking at Blue Spring State Park

Blue Spring State Park can be found close to Orange City, halfway between Orlando and Daytona Beach. The park has crystal clear water with an average temperature of 72 degrees. Blue Spring is best visited between November 15 and March 15. In the winter, there have been close to 700 manatees recorded here.

Blue Spring State Park is unquestionably worth visiting, regardless of whether you’re an expert kayaker or want to spend some time on the water. The St. Johns River’s passage through the park is a well-liked location for snorkeling, swimming, paddling, and fishing. While here, you could even encounter eagles, ospreys, or other animals.

8. Manatee Kayaking at Wakulla Springs

Wakulla Springs is one of the world’s biggest and deepest freshwater springs, teeming with alligators, manatees, and other animals. Many manatees live here all year long, so you’re sure to see some incredible wildlife. Manatees are most likely seen beneath the diving tower (near The Lodge).

Read more: Kayaking Tips

9. Spring Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters Springs is an excellent place to go kayaking in quest of a manatee since it is situated on the Chassahowitzka River, accessible from a campground. Manatees often use these springs in the winter and are known to use them for drinking water.

Sisters Springs has a unique collection of underwater caverns which visitors can explore by kayak or snorkel. It would help if you were cautious of the sharp edges of the rock since it has been worn away by erosion.

Spring is one of the best places in the United States to see manatees during winter. Remember that the region is also home to alligators and snakes, so be cautious around them. The Chassahowitzka River Campground is a campground nearby.

Read more: What To Wear When Kayaking

10. Silver Springs Kayaking

This glass-bottom boating destination has been in several Hollywood blockbusters. This area has five miles of protected streams, and the water is evident. Kayaking with manatees in Florida doesn’t get much better than this.

One of the world’s giant artesian springs is located in this park, and visitors can watch manatees as they play in the water. Although it may become crowded, it is generally not much calmer than other of the state’s more accessible spring sites.

Read more: Difference Between Kayak And Canoe

11. Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs is one of the best places to see manatees in Florida. Dolphins, stingrays, and other animals may also be in the local waters. Take in the manatee swimming under you by renting a transparent kayak.

The historical significance of Tarpon Springs is intriguing, and there are many gorgeous Victorian-style mansions to admire as you kayak by. Watch for manatees as you paddle along; they may emerge to take a breath of air before returning under you. A guided tour is the best way to experience the area’s natural splendor.

12. Manatee Springs State Park Kayaking

The springs at this state park are visible from an 800-foot boardwalk, making it simple to see the manatees without ever entering the water. It costs $6 per car and is open from 8 a.m. until sunset. It is a first-magnitude spring near Chiefland, Florida, and has warm water at the springhead from the Suwanee River.

The hot springs are a popular spot for scuba diving and are also home to 5 kilometers of underwater tunnels. If you don’t already own a kayak, you may rent one at the kayak launch location.

In addition, the park provides a secure link to the 32-mile Nature Coast State Trail and 8.5 miles of nature paths. There is much more to do here than a kayak or snorkel up and down the Manatee River.

Read more: Best Duck Hunting Kayak

13. In Lovers Key Fort Myers Beach, Kayaking

If the water is at the correct temperature, manatees may be observed in the lagoons, and canals encircle the island. Rental a kayak so you can take in the scenery; the island is isolated and secluded.

The best way to ensure that you are searching in the appropriate place is to take one of the daily, three-hour-long excursions that park rangers conduct. Hopefully, you will see these magnificent animals having fun and flipping about.

Given this area’s popularity as a wedding place, don’t be shocked if you see a wedding.

Read more: Is Kayaking Good Exercise

14. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Kayaking

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is home to one of the world’s most profound freshwater cave systems and an abundance of protected animals, including manatees. With average river water of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the springs and the river that feeds it are both stunning. Manatees often frequent the warm waters or the clear spring.

Keep an eye out for the darker parts of the river, where there are some springs below the surface that the manatees like. You may hire a kayak or launch from the spa area and try kayaking upstream to find the best view of the animals.

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15. Tarpon Springs Kayaking

Spring Bayou is a freshwater spring in Craig Park that draws manatees. The best time to watch the animals in this area is from December to March. Although you may launch a kayak here on the Anclote River’s southern bank, we advise going on a tour in one of the crystal-clear kayaks.

It’s just 45 minutes from Tampa and has many activities to keep you busy, including snorkeling and scuba diving. If you’re short on time, this is an excellent place to visit since it’s within walking distance of many popular snorkel and kayak spots.

16. Manatee Kayaking in Homosassa Springs

Manatees are a favorite feature of Crystal River, which flows directly into the Gulf of Mexico. The presence of freshwater and saltwater fish in Homosassa Springs is another intriguing feature. Since the waters in this region are consistently approximately 72 degrees year-round, it is a favorite place for manatees to live.

Manatees are an essential part of the landscape at Homosassa Springs in Florida, and visitors can enjoy paddleboard and paddling with them. If you want to get close to these gentle giants, guided kayak trips are available here that are perfect. You may find the ideal tour for your requirements from various available alternatives.

While here, be sure to kayak by Monkey Island and take some photos. A few monkeys live on this little island hideaway, but you cannot enter the island. Additionally, you are welcome to launch your kayak for free.

Read more: Kayaking With Kids

17. At Ichetucknee Springs, Kayaking

The Ichetucknee River and Springs are regarded by many as offering some of Florida’s best kayaking. The blue-green water and calm river in this location are just natural breathtaking. It’s a true tropical haven. Although you may kayak with manatees here, no one made us promise you’d see a manatee.

The three-mile paddle from the northern to southernmost point is stunning. The river is fed by nine springs and has a calm stream, ideal for tubing or kayaking in the winter.

This is a great place to kayak if you’re new to the sport, as the water is crystal clear, and the current is strong enough to take you without frightening you. It would help if you parked in the park’s southern area, and a shuttle will take you to the northern starting location. This is for you if you want an opportunity to witness a manatee in a stunning setting.

18. Merritt Island Manatee Kayaking

On Florida’s Space Coast, Merritt Island is a popular location for kayaking with manatees. The best Florida may be experienced here for those who appreciate the outdoors and the natural place. It is located just to the north of Cocoa Beach and is one of the few spots on the Atlantic Coast where you can kayak with dolphins and whales.

Haulover Canal is a scenic place for kayaking and seeing dolphins, manatees, and other animals. It links Indian River Lagoon with Mosquito Lagoon and is a popular spot for fishing. Manatee Sanctuary Park in Cape Canaveral is another nearby place to watch the animals. There, they are known to munch along the riverbank promenade.

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19. Cape Canaveral’s Manatee Sanctuary Park

The manatees have a reputation for being highly curious, and sometimes they approach kayaks directly to check them out. Manatee River State Park in Sarasota, Florida, is one of the best places in the country to watch manatees from a kayak or on foot. The park offers activities like kayaking, fitness stations, a playground, and paved paths with asphalt sidewalks.

Questions About Kayaking With Manatees

What seasons are best for kayaking in Florida to observe manatees?

You have the best chances of seeing manatees in January and February when kayaking. Manatee sightings are most frequent from December through March. When the water temperature drops into the upper 60s, they often abandon the Gulf. Although it’s less probable, you may be able to observe them in the summer. The best time of day is likewise said to be early morning.

Read more: Kayak Types

In Florida, is it safe to kayak near manatees?

Manatees are primarily sociable animals that move slowly, averaging approximately 10 feet long and weighing up to 1200 pounds. Make sure you don’t startle them and stay your distance to avoid making contact.


Everyone should enjoy the fantastic experience of kayaking alongside manatees in Florida at least once in their lives. Kayaking allows you to come near these friendly, curious, gentle giants in their natural habitat. You’re sure to have a great time if you only remember to respect the manatee’s space and adhere to the park’s and kayak rental company’s rules.

Manatee kayaking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Nothing compares to seeing these gentle giants in their natural habitat. How was your experience kayaking with the manatees? Please tell us everything when you get back.

Category: Blog
Source: https://ecpaddlesports.com

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