Manatees at Blue Springs State Park in Florida.

At the beginning of April in Florida, there are typically manatee sightings around the area. If you plan your vacation accordingly, these docile mammals can be spotted just about anywhere. Hiding beneath the water, you might not be able to see them at first. But in time, they often emerge and waddle along with their tiny flippers. Manatees aren’t swift swimmers, and they’re easily startled. They’re also quite curious animals. This makes them a bit easier to spot by kayakers who have trained themselves to be stealthy while observing these beautiful creatures up close.

Here are some of the best places you can Kayak with manatees in Florida:

1. Blue Spring State Park in Orange City

One of the best places in Florida to spot manatees is this State Park in Orange City. This natural spring is one of the largest springs on the east coast. And it’s a manatee haven. You might be able to spot several hundred manatees at once. These gentle giants are among the most famous inhabitants of this picturesque park, and they’re easy to spot because of their sheer size and unique appearance.

2. Fort Desoto Park in Pinellas County

This is a great place to spot manatees. It should be noted that this area has a bit more privacy than Blue Spring State Park, which means that they’re a bit easier to approach. At one point, there were around 200 manatees found in the park, although now their numbers have dwindled. After all, these cute aquatic mammals also need plenty of privacy.

3. Sky Lake Springs in Waxhaw

In Waxhaw, a waterway called Sky Lake has a series of natural springs. One of these springs during the winter is known to be quite popular with manatees. At this time, they can often be spotted floating around the area. They’re not all that fast swimmers, and they generally waddle along, rather than swim through the area. However, they are warm-blooded animals, so they can’t stay beneath the water for prolonged periods.

4. Kayaking Crystal River

In Crystal River, there are also a few manatees that often make their way alongside the kayakers. The waterway is called Kings Bay, and two bridges mark it. This area is ideal for kayaking; you might see several manatees on your trip. They’re known to be quite playful, and they often try to interact with those who pass by them. In fact, they might even try to approach everyone they see in order to get some food or even just be curious about what’s going on around them. Also, kayak tours are held around the area in the summer months. And plenty more manatees will be present.

5. Kayaking With Manatees In St. Augustine

Another great place to spot manatees is St. Augustine which is one of the oldest cities in the states. This historical site can offer you plenty of picturesque sites and opportunities to see wildlife, along with manatees in particular. In the winter, manatees can be spotted at the year-round manatee sanctuary. And in the summer, they’re found throughout the area. For example, this place offers kayaking tours, and you might even stumble across one of these gentle giants while on your journey.

6. Kayaking With Manatees In Islamorada

This small island of Florida’s west coast is known for its many pristine beaches and crystal clear waters. In fact, it was listed as one of the top islands in the state. Islamorada is also known as the Sportfishing Capital of the World, and it’s easy to see why. Plus, manatees can be spotted throughout the year in this area. In fact, they’re often seen swimming alongside kayakers who navigate through this area during the winter months.

7. Kayaking With Manatees In Fort Lauderdale

One of the best places to spot manatees in Florida is Fort Lauderdale. This area has been listed as one of the most family-friendly cities in the entire country. In fact, it’s even on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of top 10 historic sites. And this is because there are a lot of manatee-friendly options here. All you have to do is contact one of the local tour companies catering to this intent. You might be able to spot them in the spring and even in the summer.

8. Kayaking With Manatees In Tampa

In Tampa Bay, manatees are often found along the shorelines. You might find them in the northern part of the area, although they’re most commonly spotted in the southern part. There’s one particular bridge frequented by many of these gentle giants, and people have been known to swim across it with their kayaks to get closer for an even better look. It’s called the Howard Frankland Bridge, and it offers quite a view of these beautiful animals.

9. Kayaking With Manatees In The Keys

The Florida Keys are a group of islands that are several hundred miles long. They’re composed of smaller islands and stretch from the tip of the state to the Everglades. At one point, these islands were inhabited by pirates and settlers alike. Now, they’re famous for their pristine beaches and crystal clear waters. Many manatees can be seen here throughout the year, especially in places like Key Largo, Marathon, and Big Pine Key. You might even stumble upon one while kayaking.

10. Kayaking With Manatees In Disney World

You might wonder if there are manatees in Florida’s Walt Disney World resort. Actually, no, there aren’t, and the bald eagles might be the only bird you can spot in this area. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t check out this picturesque area for yourself since you’re surrounded by water.

How To Spot The Manatees?

Manatees aren’t particularly difficult to spot if you know where to look. In fact, they’re quite large creatures with long tails that they use as props while underneath the water. As noted before, they’re also slow-moving creatures, so it shouldn’t be too hard to catch up to them.


As you can see, manatees can be spotted in plenty of areas throughout Florida. Whether you’re boating, kayaking, or just walking along the shoreline, it’s possible to catch a glimpse of one of these interesting creatures. They’re often quite curious about what’s happening above the water, and so they might approach anyone who gets near them. As such, it’s important to provide plenty of space while interacting with these gentle giants just to make sure that they’re safe and sound during your entire trip.