Swimming with Manatees in Florida

swim - manatee - Florida
swim - manatee - Florida

Florida is home to manatees. And a myriad of spring-fed rivers, lakes, and streams flowing through the state provide the ideal habitat for these gentle creatures.

But swimming with Manatees is forbidden in most parts of the state, including Florida’s very own Manatee State Park. Continue reading and we’ll unpack Swimming with Manatees in Florida.  

Where to Swim with Manatees in Florida? 

Manatee Springs State Park is home to Manatee Spring, a first-magnitude spring. At the park, visitors can hike, bike, swim, kayak, canoe, scuba dive, and snorkel – just not when manatees are there. So where, if anywhere, can people get a chance to swim with these gentle beasts? 

The only place at this time that anyone can swim with Manatees is in Crystal River, Florida. 500 to 1000 manatees migrate down to Crystal River every winter via three first-magnitude spring systems.

So, each spring system maintains a constant 72° to 74° F temperature. Crystal River is the most important natural warm water refuge for them throughout the Florida Gulf Coast area. 

swim - manatee - Florida

Is it Safe to Swim with ‘Sea Cows’? 

Though it is safe to swim with these giant aquatic mammals – sometimes called “Sea Cows”, you need to follow some rules. Though gentle by nature, a manatee can come to weigh more than 3,000 lbs. So, there are some steps you must take for safety.  

  • Look but don’t touch, or approach. 
  •  Remain calm and relaxed, and your new friend will do likewise. 
  •  A wetsuit will help you float, keeping you close to the surface and not on the bottom where the manatees are resting. 
  •  Make your presence known with a dive flag 100 ft from where you swim. 
  • Swim slowly and quietly, avoiding splashing, or blowing bubbles underwater. And don’t scare the manatees. 
  • Don’t kick up silt to keep visibility clear. 
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If you follow these simple pointers, you and the sea cow will get along great! 

How Much Will Swimming with a Manatee Cost? 

There are quite a few options if you’re looking to charter a tour and swim with a manatee. A few are listed below to get you started. However, the cost of swimming with a manatee is pretty straightforward at between $60 and $80 a person.  

  • Fun 2 Dive is located off 3rd Street, not far from Hunter Spring and they have rates between $59 and $85. 
  • River Adventures is located roughly a mile from Kings Bay off Kings Bay Drive, and their prices run anywhere from $64 to $84 per person with some specials available.  
  • Manatee Tour and Dive is located off of NE 4th St, two blocks from Kings Bay Park and their prices run from $35 per person per tour to all the way up to $450 for a private tour. 

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