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If you want to snorkel with manatees, you’re gonna have to head to Florida. These gentle ocean giants can weigh more than 1,300kg and grow as long as 3 metres, and there are only a few places where you’ll have the chance to encounter them up close. If you’re wondering how to snorkel with manatees in Florida, we’ve got you covered with all the best spots.
Protip: The best time to snorkel with manatees is between November and May, and earlier in the morning when they’re feeling most energetic and interactive.
Crystal River Wildlife Refuge
This is undoubtedly the best place in the world to snorkel with manatees, home to a population of around 100 of these beautiful creatures. When you’re in the waters here you’ll be snorkeling with up to 20 manatees at a time, providing endless fun and photo opps. The best time to enjoy a snorkel with the manatees in Crystal River is between December and March, when you’ll find them lounging around the warm waters around Kings Bay.
The Homosassa River is home to a large population of manatees, and you can share the waters with them with lots of different snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking tours to take you to the right spots. Note that the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park itself has banned snorkeling in order to protect the wildlife species in the area, but you can enjoy a snorkel with manatees in the Homosassa River itself.
Manatee Springs State Park
The name says it all, this is another great spot to enjoy a snorkel and swim with manatees in Florida. Here you’ll find them congregating and feeding in the waters of the Suwannee River. In the winter they’ll move upriver where waters are warmer, so if you happen to visit during take your snorkeling up there.
Loved the complete set. I even used the waterproof phone pouch to take photos and videos underwater. It made my Fiji experience so much better than using the free snorkel set that hurt your face after 2hours and leaving a sun/mask mark. The ninja leaves no marks and gives great vision under water in comparison. It did take some getting used to but it definitely paid off! Only frustration is that the tightening straps are quite basic; they should be much simpler to loosen and tighten both in and out of water.” – Jock