For many of us locals and tourists alike, there's nothing more exciting than seeing a manatee or two unexpectedly swim by--so when there are hundreds, many which have babies along side, it really becomes nothing less than a truly magical sight. If you are hoping to see manatees in Florida, right now is the best time. It's been so cold in central Florida these past few days that the coastal springs are literally filled with hundreds of these gentle giants, and while I personally have yet to take a trip to see them again this year, other people are posting all about it on social media.
"We saw hundreds," a social media user noted in the caption of a post on Facebook yesterday, tagging Crystal River.
With temperatures reaching down into the 30s during the evenings and highs of only above 50, it's no wonder the manatees are seeking refuge that only the springs can provide with their 72-degree year-round temperatures.
While there are many springs to see manatees at in Florida, Three Sisters Springs on Crystal River is one of the best spots to catch a glimpse into the life of a cold 'tee from land, and if you want a closer view you can get in and swim or kayak near them with a guide for less than $30 (you can learn more about that here).
Check out this shot I got of them in Crystal River on a cold day last year:
Despite the numbers in which they are arriving at the springs, Florida manatees continue to be an endangered species facing habitat loss, starvation, and of course, boating accidents--to name only a few problems. To keep them (and you) safe, remember that it's very illegal to harass them and they should be admired from afar only under guided supervision. Crystal River is the only spot in the state that allows you to get as up-close and personal to the manatees as you see in the above picture.
With January being Florida's coldest month on average--you will want to be sure to make it out there to see the congregation soon. Oh, and don't forget to take your GoPro!
Get your Sunburnt Blogger manatee apparel here.