Ever wonder what it’s like to take a dip with a manatee? Just about 3 1/2 hours away from Sanibel, you’ll find Crystal River, the only place in the United States where you can legally swim with manatees.
The headwaters of Crystal River are known as Kings Bay, where the water temperature is a consistent 72 degrees year-round. During the winter months, more than 400 manatees migrate here to escape the cold waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and each year some of them stay in the bay through the summer months. These migrating and resident manatees make Crystal River the perfect spot for you to get up close and personal with these gentle giants.
Local tour guides are trained to make sure everyone treats this beloved, threatened species with the utmost care and respect. Although manatees are very curious by nature and often initiate interaction with humans, they are heavily protected by law. Learning the encounter rules and “Manatee Manners” ensures that you have the most rewarding experience possible while being a guest in their home.
There are numerous options to see manatees in their natural environment, from swimming with manatees to kayaking and stand up paddleboarding, to visiting beautiful area boardwalks. For more information, click here!