Now that water temperature in the Gulf is dropping, manatees are swimming upriver in search of warmer water. One of the best places to see large groups of manatees is in Crystal River, a spring-fed river that is a steady 72 degrees year round!
Three Sisters Springs and Homosassa Springs are great areas to visit if you want to see manatees! You can swim and snorkel in the clear, cool water, plus kayaking and paddleboarding is allowed in the area as well; you can bring your own or rent from several outfits in the area.
If you're originally from up north, 72 degree water might sound nice to you, but if you're a Florida girl like me, that's COLD. I'd recommend a wetsuit (those are available for rent as well). Fun fact: water removes heat from your body three times faster than air does, which is why 72 degree air feels great, but 72 degree water is uncomfortable (to me, anyway). I learned that when getting scuba certified. Save that one in case you're ever on Jeopardy.
HERE is a great resource if you want to take the family to see the manatees this winter. It's only about an hour north of Tampa, and you'll have fun! Pick a sunny day and go for it!
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