Updated: Dec 27, 2018
It's December and the Manatees are gathering in the warmer waters of the local natural springs. Some of the springs offer tours so you can see the mammals in the warm 72° water and a few allow you to swim with the manatees.
Crystal River Manatee Tours (approx 1 hour on 19/98 South) offer you a once-in-a-lifetime adventure swimming with the manatees, as does Snorkel with the Manatees in Homosassa Springs (approx. 1¼ hours from Old Town, FL on 19/98 South). Another adventure tour company in Crystal River, FL is Fun2Dive.
If you opt for a tour, be prepared to see numerous birds and mammals that are native to the area, as well as, approximately 20 to 40 various species of birds.
Manatee Springs State Park, Chiefland, Florida (approx 30 min from Old Town - 20 miles) features a boardwalk that meanders through an awe-inspiring cypress forest that overlooks just one of Florida’s breathtaking springs. These cool waters of manatee springs have been enjoyed by people for over 10,000 years – from the early Paleo Indians to today’s park visitors.
The spring – one of Florida’s first magnitude springs – releases an astonishing 100 million gallons of water each day. Consequently, the springs make a popular cooling off spot and a fantastic place to take a stroll down the park boardwalk and gaze into the clearness of the water.
In the cooler winter months, you’ll see the manatees but year round you’ll be able to see birds, fish and other land mammals.
Walk down the 8.5 miles of nature trails to reach the connection to the 32-mile Nature Coast State Trail. Bicycles welcome!