4 Best Places to Find Manatees Near Me 

aerial view of manatee near me

Best Places to Go Swim with Manatees 

If you’re visiting Florida, you cannot miss the incredible opportunity to search for manatees near me, and swim with them! Florida is one of the only places in the world where you can find manatees near me, and swim with them. To get to be in the water with manatees is a unique experience that not everyone who visits Florida may know about. 

There are many different places where you can try to find manatees near me in Florida. But why not go to the best places? If you are interested to take a swim with them, and are looking for the best places to go, look no further. Here are the four best places to find manatees, otherwise known as sea cows, in Florida. 

Before we dive into the water, here are a couple of things you should know to help you figure out the best places to find manatees near me. Manatees love being in warm water. 

In order for them to keep their internal body temperature, they have to live in water that is at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, sea cows tend to migrate throughout the year. The cool thing about these creatures is that they can live in both saltwater and freshwater. This gives them a lot of options when it comes to needing to migrate to warm waters. 

Where to Find Manatees Near Me in the Summer 

In the summer months in Florida, you can actually find manatees swimming in the ocean. In the summer, it’s most common to find manatees living in the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean Sea. Some sea cows can make it as far up north as the Carolinas, so even if you find yourself visiting the east coast of Florida, you might be able to find manatees near me to swim with. 

There are tons of sea cows that like to live in the Gulf of Mexico. Manatees are like giant fish. They are large and docile creatures that float around shallow waters. Their main source of food is seagrass, so they look like cows grazing on the grass while they’re eating. They tend to live closer to the coasts so they can have enough grass to eat. It can be easy to hop into the water on the beach and swim alongside these massive creatures. Don’t worry. Even though manatees can get up to 3,000 pounds, they’re extremely calm and docile. 

snorkeling with manatee near me

Where to Find Manatees Near Me in the Winter 

While jumping into the ocean and swimming alongside manatees sounds like fun, the best time to find manatees near me in Florida is actually in the winter. When the waters of the Gulf of Mexico get too cold, they swarm to the rivers, natural springs, and inlets of Florida. Going to these spots in the winter almost guarantees that you can swim with one. There are tons of gorgeous freshwater springs all around Florida that manatees like to call home in the winter.

Rather than trying to find them in the ocean during the summer, the cold water during the winter brings hundreds of manatees to the rivers and springs of Florida. So if you want to swim with manatees, winter is the best time to do it. Now that you know more about what times of year are good, you might be wondering where you should go to find them. If you’re planning your visit to Florida, here are the four best places to find manatees near me.

Crystal River 

Located on the west coast of Florida, Crystal River is one of the best places to see manatees in all of Florida. Crystal River wraps around King’s Bay and gets water from over 70 warm springs. Because of this, the water in Crystal River always hovers at about 72 degrees. This makes it the perfect temperature for Crystal River manatees looking to get away from the cold. 

There are a few manatees that actually live in Crystal River year-round which is another reason that this is such a great location to to see manatees. During the winter months, you can see over 400 manatees at one time in the river. Crystal River has many different parts to it that allow for manatees to have a lot of space to roam and feed while they live there.

With its warm water, an extensive amount of places to swim, and beautiful crystal clear water, making it perfect for a Crystal River manatee swim place to swim with manatees. One of the best parts of going to swim with manatees in Crystal River is that you don’t have to go alone. Hopping into the water to swim alongside these large creatures on your own can be a little intimidating. You will also need some gear to make sure you have a great swim. 

This is why it is such a great idea to take a manatee tour while you’re in Crystal River. Many different manatee tours last different amounts of time, so you can fit one into your busy vacation schedule. Be sure to check out the 3-hour magnificent manatee tour while visiting Crystal River. 

This tour comes with everything you’ll need to swim with the manatees. Your guide will take you out to spots where you don’t have to worry about finding manatees near me, since they will take to where they were spotted the day before, so you’re almost guaranteed to find places to swim with manatees. Your guide will also provide you with all of the gear you need. The gear you’ll get with the tour includes a wetsuit, goggles, and a snorkeling mask. Most people don’t have wetsuits lying around which is another reason hopping on a tour is a great idea if you want to swim with manatees. This equipment will also help you stay underwater a little longer and enjoy swimming alongside the manatees. 

You can also take your own boat out while you’re exploring Crystal River. We suggest trying a kayak rental when you’re looking to swim with sea cows. You can take a kayak tour or search for boat rentals near you to find a kayak that works for you. Once you get on a boat you can explore much more of Crystal River and its many springs. You may even find a spot all to yourself to swim with manatees from your kayak. Sometimes, manatees will even swim right up to your boat and say hi. This is a great way to have a unique experience when you go to swim with manatees. Let yourself get truly close to nature and enjoy the adventure with your boat rental. 

 Three Sisters 

The next best place to find manatees near me in Florida is the Three Sisters Springs. The Three Sisters Springs are actually connected to Crystal River. It’s a complex of three springs that you can most easily visit by boat since there’s no parking near the springs. 

There are some boardwalks that you can visit at the Three Sisters Springs and can easily take a trolley there. The boardwalks are a great place to take members of your group that want to see manatees but don’t love swimming. If you are looking to visit Three Sisters Springs via water, there are many different ways to get there around King’s Bay. 

Three Sisters Spring is such a great place to swim with manatees because of its unique natural beauty. This freshwater spring hasn’t been developed into a park or swimming hole. It has crystal clear turquoise-colored water that makes it truly gorgeous. Since it’s connected to the crystal river tons of manatees can be spotted and you can easily swim with them in Three Sisters Spring. Try taking out a boat rental so you can really explore all of the beauty that the Three Sisters Spring has to offer. 

manatees swimming near me

 King’s Bay 

The heart and soul of Crystal River, King’s Bay is an incredible spot to jump in and swim with manatees in Florida. King’s Bay is in a great location in Homosassa, Florida. If you’re looking for a place to stay and swim with manatees, you have to check out Plantation on Crystal River. When you stay at the hotel, you can book your tours to swim with manatees in King’s Bay. 

If you want to go out on your own adventure, King’s Bay is the perfect place to do it. You can access all of the great parts of Crystal River from this hub including Three Sisters Springs. If you decide to try to swim with manatees in King’s Bay, be sure to add an airboat ride to your day. There is so much incredible wildlife to see while on an airboat ride including sea cows. Be on the lookout for birds, tons of different fish, and even dolphins from time to time. King’s Bay is a great place to be able to check out manatees near me in Florida and be close by to tons of other activities. There are plenty of shops and restaurants around King’s Bay that you can explore. This lets everyone in your group have an incredible time whether you’re on or in the water. 

Silver Springs State Park 

Located near Ocala, Florida, Silver Springs State Park is another wonderful place to get a chance to swim with sea cows. The Silver Glens Spring in the park allows visitors to take a swim too. This state park is a little off the beaten path, so it won’t always be as busy of a spot if you want to swim with them in Florida. Make sure to bring your own mask and snorkel. 

Getting in the water with sea cows at Silver Springs State Park isn’t as guaranteed as Crystal River. But the spot is still gorgeous and features its own sparkling clear water. Some fun activities in Silver Springs State Park include boat rides with glass bottoms and renting your own pontoon boat. Renting a pontoon boat is a great way to enjoy everything the water has to offer. You can even find a spot of manatees that maybe not everyone else can see. Make sure to hop in the water so you can enjoy a swim with manatees in this beautiful spring. Ocala is just about an hour away from Orlando, making it a great location to go out on a day trip while visiting Florida. Getting in a swim with manatees is something you really can’t miss when you’re visiting Florida, and Silver Springs State Park is a great location to try it. 

Places to Find Manatees Near Me in Florida

There aren’t many places where you can actually swim with manatees, but the four listed above are by far some of the best to check out. If you already got to swim with manatees but just can’t get enough, here are some great places to view manatees while you’re in Florida. 

Manatee Springs State Park 

Manatee Springs State Park is an incredible place to view sea cows in Florida. The park has a boardwalk that is just over 800 ft long. The boardwalk runs through the park and under all of the gorgeous Cyprus trees. 

When manatees migrate, they can be spotted in the winter months throughout Manatee Springs State Park. You can take a stroll along the boardwalk and look down at all of the glorious manatees that make this spring their home in the winter months. 

Blue Spring State Park 

You can actually swim in Blue Spring State Park when there isn’t a huge influx of manatees. But once the manatees migrate to Blue Spring in the winter months, the park closes access to swimming to not disturb the hundreds of manatees that make it their home. Even though you can’t swim with manatees in Blue Spring State Park, there are tons of walkways around the water. 

From the walkways, you can look into the spring and see all of them hanging out and enjoying some seagrass. Blue Spring State Park is a very popular spot to see sea cows, so make sure you get out there early. The park will close when it hits capacity which can happen pretty quickly in the winter months. When it gets warmer you can enjoy the waters of Blue Spring State Park. 

Whether you want to jump in to cool down from the warm Florida sun or take a boat rental around the water. Blue Spring State Park is only about a 45-minute drive from Orlando, making it an easy place to stop if you’re looking to get your fill of manatees. You may not have time to swim with manatees in Florida, but viewing them is still a great activity for the whole family.

aerial view of manatee near me

Manatee Park Fort Myers 

There are also many places to see the sea cows that aren’t natural springs. Although the water in springs is very clear, you can still see tons of sea cowss in the wild. Manatee Park in Fort Myers almost always has dozens of manatees to see. Another popular spot for manatees to hang around in the winter is the warm water near power plants. Manatee Park in Fort Myers has the warm water of the Florida Power and Light plant. This keeps the water at 68 degrees year-round, so you can almost always spot one of these gentle giants no matter what time of year you visit. 

Riviera Beach 

Don’t let the name deceive you. Riviera Beach is actually another Florida Power and light plant. This one however has been built up as a dedicated manatee viewing sight. The center of the area is called Manatee Lagoon and it has two levels of observation areas. Sometimes when it gets really cold there have been around 800 manatees at Riviera Beach. This is a great location if you want to ensure you will get some great viewing of sea cows.  

Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center 

The Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center or TECO is a designated manatee sanctuary. You can go here to learn more about manatees and view them in a safe environment. Every year tons of the sea cows come back to TECO for the warm waters. TECO has tons of viewing platforms and walkways that you can explore to see the manatees roam around the waters. 

Tips for Swimming with Manatees in Florida 

Swimming with manatees in Florida is a fun and unique activity. But there are a couple of things you should keep in mind before jumping in the water. 

Treat Manatees How You Want to be Treated 

When you get in the water with manatees in Florida you are swimming in their natural habitat. You have to make sure that you are respectful to these gentle giants and their home. Make sure you keep a good distance from the sea cows and don’t try to disrupt them. They are generally curious and sweet creatures and may swim up to you if you are calm and collected in the water. 

 Look Don’t Touch 

While you’re in the water you mustn’t touch the manatees. Manatees were just recently taken off of the endangered species list. Manatees are not dangerous, but this doesn’t mean that you should go up and touch the manatees in the water. Unlike dolphins, you can’t hold onto manatees and swim with them either. You could irritate or injure them without meaning to. Just make sure that you follow the look don’t touch rule and you’ll have a great time on your swim with manatees in Florida. 

Don’t Feed the Manatees 

Sea cows will be happy grazing on seagrass while they swim around their habitat. They can’t process human food and you can do a lot of harm to them if you try to feed them. Just like if you were visiting animals in a zoo, you shouldn’t feed them. 

Be Calm 

Manatees are naturally calm and gentle creatures. The best equipment to use when snorkeling with manatees is a mask instead of scuba gear. Even though scuba diving is a fun activity, the noise can disturb them. The more noise you make, the more likely it is that the they may swim away from you. Being calm and cool and making minimal splashes and noise will help the creatures feel welcome around you. They may even get curious and swim up to you if you have an inviting presence. 

 Have Fun! 

The best part about taking a plunge with these animals is having fun in the water. There are so many incredible activities to try in Florida, but going on a swim with manatees is one of the most unique that you can try. As long as you stay safe and follow these tips, you are in for a fun time when you swim with sea cows in Florida. 

Conclusion to Finding Manatees Near Me

Swimming with sea cows in Florida is one of the best activities to try especially if you are visiting Florida in the winter months. These creatures will swarm the warm waters of the rivers, natural springs, and electrical plants all around Florida when the waters in the ocean get too cold. 

In the summer months, you can have a great time getting out in the Gulf of Mexico and finding manatees swimming in the wild. Overall the best places to find manatees near me in Florida is Crystal River, Three Sisters Springs, King’s Bay, and Silver Springs. All of these places allow visitors to hop in the water and swim alongside the sea cows. These are also great places to get on a manatee tour to ensure that you have the right gear. And your guide will give you all of the tips and tricks you need to have a fun. It can be intimidating to get up close to wildlife sometimes. But these creatures are very calm creatures that even swim up to people and boats in the water when they’re comfortable. 

So what are you waiting for? All you need to do is pick one of these spots, sign up for a tour and get swimming. Enjoy an incredible experience this winter at the best spots in Florida. And if you need more information on tours or boat rentals, be sure to check out Rockon Recreation Rentals. We have everything you need to have an incredible time in the beautiful waters of Florida. 

Grab A Boat Rental Near Me

Getting out on the water with a boat rental near me really adds a whole new perspective to an outdoor adventure. Imagine feeling the wind in your hair, the ocean spray on your face, the lull of the waves; what could be better?

Of course, sometimes the actual hard part is getting out on the water, especially if you do not own a boat yourself. But good news: that no longer has to keep you from truly experiencing one of the most exciting activities you can do in Florida! 

dock of boat rentals near me

Getting a Boat Rental Near Me is Easier than you think

Here are just a few reasons why boat rentals in Florida are a great way to travel in style. 

It’s Easy To Reserve

Searching for “boat rentals near me” can pull up a daunting list of listings, but don’t let the quantity fool you: renting a boat in Florida is actually exceptionally easy to do. Rental companies offer intuitive customer portals that let you pick your model, location, and drop-off times with a push of a button. These days, you can do it all online!

Search Things to do in Florida Now

You don’t need to select your rental from the limited pickings near the dock. From the comfort and safety of your own home, you can browse a wide array of models, amenities, add-ons, and customizable packages, all in one place. You can even peruse the reviews to see which models give the best performance out on the water. 

Reserving your boat rental online is quick, easy, and as fast as ordering takeout. All you need are a few clicks, and you are ready to head to the pier; no stress required. 

Start Searching for Boat Rentals by clicking here.

Affordable Prices

Now that you are looking for the best boat rentals near you, you will see that the options span from simple cruisers to luxury yachts. At first glance, you may think that some of these high-class boats are out of your budget. However, you would be pleasantly surprised! 

Because you only reserve the boat for a short period, your costs are significantly cut down. These go down considerably more if you split the cost with family and friends. Splitting costs like this can also bring the costs of a larger boat more into your individual budget, and pooling the costs together can help all of you afford an all-inclusive listing. (More space, more amenities, more fun!) 

Also, by cutting out the cost of maintenance, your costs go much further in the long run. Boat rentals help you cut out annoying expenses such as gas, trailers, and parking, to name a few. At the end of the day, your experience comes out to be a great deal. 


Many of the images included in boat rental listings show off happy bachelors or adventurous couples in their bathing suits. It all looks nice, but what if your traveling party looks a little different? 

Don’t worry: boat rentals in Florida are also a great way to get the family out on the water!

Boat rentals are universally loved. Whether you have tiny tots or grown teenagers, the kids can get a lot of entertainment from their day out on the waves. Take them out to the sights, grill your lunch seaside, and even bring pets along! Many boat rentals are Fido-friendly, which means you can take all of your family along, not just the two-legged ones. 

No Maintenance Required

When you own your own boat, the maintenance can seem never-ending. External repairs, motor adjustments, constant cleanings, dock storage, fuel…the list goes on and on, and with every trip, the list gets longer. 

Boat rentals are great because they cut the majority of this list out right off the bat. The rental companies tend to the boat’s mechanical needs, so when you drop off your key, you can walk away and get back to your vacation worry-free. 

Unique Sights To See

When you think of “boat rentals near me”, where do you imagine yourself once you get behind the wheel? Lots of people use their boat rentals to head out to the ocean, but the limit doesn’t stop there! 

Anywhere there is water, your boat rental can usually go. This includes Florida’s many scenic lakes and waterways. Head out to the islands, cruise by the cityscape, or check out the tropical springs–your options are practically endless!

Compatible With Other Fun Water Activities

Boat rentals can be great fun in themselves, but they are also excellent when combined with all the other water activities available in Florida. 

Want to try scuba or snorkeling, but don’t want to fight for space at the beach? You can take your rental to gorgeous springs or swimming holes and jump right in off the side! For a more adrenaline-packed outing, you can even select a boat rental that allows you to take a jetski or Waverunner rental out on the water with you. Dad can play out in the waves while Mom suns on the deck (or vice versa!)

Can Try Different Models 

When you own your boat, your budget can severely limit exactly what model you finally get to take out on the water. Boat ownership means that you have to be practical and economic; boat rentals, on the other hand, give you a little more leeway.

By renting your boat during your Florida trip, you can take a different model every time, even some higher-tier models that you may not otherwise have been able to test out. Want something speedy and sporty, or something more cozy and luxurious? You can choose based on what you actually want, not just on what you can afford.

What type of boat rentals near me should I try?

If you are ready to look for unique boat rentals in Florida for your next adventure, one of your first choices will be the type of boat you reserve. But don’t forget: you don’t just have to choose a luxury yacht or “standard” sporting boat. Your rental can be as unique as you are!

Let’s go through just a few of the options at your disposal to help you decide. 

Pontoon boat Rentals Near Me

pontoon boats near me

For a comfortable yet laidback experience on the water, the pontoon boat rental is unmatched. These models are the most popular for family boating, and for good reason! You can cruise across Florida’s many lakes, mangroves, and waterways. Just do a quick search for pontoon boat rentals near me to find ones within a comfortable driving distance.

The open-top lets you breathe in the fresh air, while the circular seating arrangement allows for family and friends to gather all in one vessel. The gentle speed of the pontoon gives you plenty of time to soak in the sights and view wildlife up close and personal. 

House Boat Rentals Near Me

house boat in water

If you are looking for a unique alternative to traditional hotels, houseboats are a great way to spend more time out on the water. Houseboats combine all of the homey amenities of a hotel suite, without the overpriced snacks and noisy crowds. People will typically search for house boat rentals near me to see the options that are available.

Houseboats come in a variety of shapes and sizes, quite literally. Whether you want a compact space for one or a roomy floating cabin, there is a houseboat rental on the market for you. You can wake up and walk out on your deck while soaking up the sounds and sights of the river, no extra travel required. 

Party Boat/Food Boat Rentals Near Me

house boat rental

Looking for something a little more wild? Party boats are good fits for Florida nightlife, and not just for Spring Break escapades. Food boats have recently come on the scene to offer a new and exciting way to sample the local cuisine. You can hire a team of chefs or arrange an on-the-water picnic, catered and ready to go with a top-tier onboard kitchen. A quick search on the directory for food boat rental near me will show you some of the best ones to consider.

Your guests will love the views during lunch, and you’ll love the impression that you will make on your friends. Plus, who doesn’t love fresh Florida cuisine? 

Fishing Boat Rentals Near Me

bass boat rental

For the outdoorsmen out there, fishing boat rentals are a great way to get out in the backwoods and wrestle with some true Florida wildlife. Fishing boat rentals tend to be light, fast, and agile: perfect for getting into those sweet fishing holes. Typing in a quick inquiry such as fishing boat rentals near me can quickly get you answers you are looking for.

Whether you prefer to wrestle with the monsters in the ocean or the renowned bass fishing inland, you can’t go wrong with a solid boat rental and a good guide. Sleek, speedy, and straightforward: these rentals take your fishing trip to the next level. 

Where Can You Go?

Florida is the boating capital of the world, so naturally, there are a ton of places you can go once you reserve your rental. Here are just a few destinations to consider when planning where you want to start your offshore adventure. 

St. Johns River

For the perfect Florida boating trip, a great place to start is on St. Johns River, the state’s major interior waterway. This is considered one of the best places for boating (along with the Intracoastal Waterway) due to its gorgeous views, an abundance of wildlife, and excellent fishing spots. When the Atlantic ocean gets too rough for a casual cruise, St. Johns is the prime destination! 

St. Augustine

St. Augustine is another prestigious destination located just south of Jacksonville. You’ll immediately find yourself immersed in rich history, especially since St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the country and the first seaport in the US. Enjoy the amazing architecture, incredible stories, and of course, those unforgettable beaches. 

Destin-Crab Island

Destin is one of the most beloved boating destinations. You’ll especially love Crab Island, one of Destin’s most popular vacation spots. You can even catch some live music on floating stages, or grab a bite to eat on a floating restaurant. In the meantime, you can relax and socialize with other boaters among the famously crystal clear waters.

Henderson Beach State Park 

For those who love those snow-white beaches, Henderson Beach State Park offers 6,000 feet of famously pale sandy beaches that practically sparkle when the sun hits them. The Appalachian quartz sand also turns the water a gorgeous emerald color, which makes it feel like it’s right out of a painting. The park itself is over 200 acres and includes laundry facilities, hot howers, picnicking areas, and more! Great for a casual and quiet vacation. 

Caladesi State Park 

Based out of Clearwater Beach, Caladesi State Park has a thriving natural ecosystem with unforgettable wildlife, osprey, bald eagles, and pelicans. You get access to boat docks, pristine beaches, mangrove tours via kayaks, and an incredible marina.  Honeymoon Island even has a dog-friendly beach for Fido to stretch his legs! 

Fort De Soto State Park

This park is HUGE: over 1100 acres, and 5 islands to explore! The wildlife populations are equally hufe, with over 300 bird species (making it a bird watchers paradise). 

Visitors will also love the sea turtle refuge. You can catch them nesting between May and October. Boaters will enjoy the eleven floating docks and 800-foot boating launching area. If you choose to dock for a while, you can explore the 2 fishing piers, museums, dog parks, and even a fort that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places! 

Jewfish Key/Beercan Island

Don’t let the name fool you–”Beercan” Island is a local favorite, and for good reason. You can find this hidden treasure out off of Jewfish Key around the sandbar. (Side note: this is an amazing swimming hole). 

Try the local cuisine from the waterfront restaurants such as the Starfish Company and Mar Vista Dockside Restuaurant. If you have an outboard boat, you can head up to the shoreline on the northern tip for some fantastic photography opportunities. 

catching fish on a fishing boat rental

Come On In; The Water Is Fine

Boat rentals in Florida open up a whole new world of outdoor activities, from the casual to the extreme. There is something for everyone. You don’t need to be physically fit or experienced with boating to get the most out of your trip; your rental company can help you find your sea legs in no time. 

What type of boat would you rent if you had the chance? What are your favorite things to do out on the water? Let us know in the comments below!

Manatee Tours Near Me

    Rockon Recreation Rentals partners with Commercial Tour, Activity, and Rental Companies  to populate the Largest Directory of Outdoor Recreation Rentals. 

    In doing so, Rockon provides the tour, activity, and rental companies with Activity Booking Software that contains the  tools, systems, and processes that help manage bookings, accounting, communications, and record keeping.

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    Manatee Tours Near Me

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