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.
Two large manatee festivals celebrate Florida’s beloved manatee every January — one in Orange City and one in Crystal River. These two locations are probably the best places in the state to see manatees well and in great numbers. Next up: Jan. 26-27 in Orange City.
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.
The park is beautiful, the swimming is fabulous and paddling opportunities are numerous. Escape the summer heat at Blue Spring State Park in southwestern Volusia County.
It’s not the best known destination in southwest Florida, but there are a lot reasons that make Lovers Key State Park so lovable: A 2.5 mile beach lined with natural vegetation that is perfect for beachcombing and bird watching, and mangrove-lined waterways that are draws for both manatees and kayakers.
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.