The park is beautiful, the swimming is fabulous and paddling opportunities are numerous. Blue Spring State Park in southwestern Volusia County has something special year-round.
When it’s chilly, you can see dozens of manatees at this free park. Even without manatees, the Orange River is a beautiful kayak trail through Old Florida scenery.
Manatee festivals celebrate Florida’s beloved manatee in January in Crystal River and Orange City. The family events include good spots to view manatees.
November chill has brought the manatees back to the springs, with mid-November reports of 150+ manatees at Blue Spring. If you’re lucky, you can see manatees in lots of waterways around Florida, but here are a few locations where, in winter, you can reliably admire these charming creatures — and even kayak with them.
So many things that make Lovers Key State Park so lovable: A 2.5 mile beach lined with natural vegetation that is perfect for swimming, beachcombing and bird watching, and mangrove-lined waterways that attract both manatees and kayakers.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has reopened with its iconic mermaid show and water park. The gorgeous spring-fed river is also open for kayak and SUP rentals, although the route from the park has been shortened.
The magic of manatees draws thousands to the Crystal River on the Gulf Coast each winter. Here’s a practical guide to manatee experiences in Three Sisters Springs and Kings Bay — kayaking with manatees, swimming with manatees or admiring them from a boardwalk.