Have you ever dreamed of swimming with Manatees? They are the cutest (and most gentle) animals that live in the water! There is one place where it is legal to swim with these sea cows, and that is in Crystal River, Florida. This area is the only spot to get into the water and experience these amazing mammals up close and personal. As you can guess, there are a ton of options on where to go, but I want to showcase my personal favorite, Crystal River Kayak Company, and Dive Center!
My family and I went out last week to Florida, and the one spot the entire family wanted to go to see the Manatees! As the water temperatures drop, these gentle giants go up into the springs where the water is 72 degrees year-round! The morning we went, the ambient temps were in the high 50s which made for a great day to go out and see the manatees!
One reason that I love the Crystal River Kayak Company is the fact that you use a kayak to get to 3 sister springs, and not a boat. This gives you a better opportunity to go out and see the natural beauty of Florida and see some of the cool sights and animals you may encounter along the 10-minute paddle to the springs.
This brings me to my second reason why this is my choice for swimming with the manatees. The Crystal River Kayak Company is the closest place to launch to 3 sisters springs. This means more time in the actual water with the manatees! The boat tours that take you out are great, but you only get around 30 minutes in the water with the manatees. On our tour, we spent almost 1.5 hours in the water in 3 different places!
As we were kayaking, we spotted a juvenile manatee that was super curious about us so we decided to get into the water with him. We had the best time as he would come to check us out, give my kayak a hug, and loved to be on camera (as you can see in my youtube video below!) If we would have gone by boat, I know we wouldn’t have had that special moment in the water alone with the sweet guy!
Lastly, even if you do not want to get in the water with the manatees, Crystal River Kayak Company offers kayak tours and go-alone kayak rentals in clear kayaks which gives you an amazing way to view these manatees!
Overall, we did a ton on our last trip to Florida. We always ask our kids (ages 5 and 3) what their best part was, and they all agreed that swimming with the Manatees ranked higher for them than the theme parks! It was amazing to see my 5-year-old be as calm as I have ever seen her just to interact with the manatees!
To learn more about the Crystal River Kayak Company and to book your tour, go check out their website here! They also offer Dive classes and trips, which I will HAVE to come back to do as I want to start diving!