Nowhere else will you find more manatees in winter months than in Crystal River, Homosassa and the waters of Citrus County.
This is the only place in the United States where you can legally swim with manatees and local naturalist guides are trained to make sure you treat this beloved threatened species with the utmost care and respect.
A Winter Haven
Why so many manatees over these winter months? Citrus County’s epic spring system is fed by the amazing underground Florida aquifer. These springs are the obvious natural choice for these gentle sea cows to seek warm water shelter when temperatures in the surrounding waters fall below 65 degrees (18C). In waters that cold, manatees can experience cold stress and even suffer from hypothermia. Since the springs have a constant temperature of 72 to 74 degrees (22-23C) it’s no surprise to see whole families of manatees heading to these warm winter havens when the mercury drops.
There are options for everyone to see manatees in their natural environment, from swimming with manatees to Kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding, to visiting the incredible boardwalks at the State Parks to simply walk and enjoy their company.
There are options for everyone to see manatees in their natural environment, from swimming with manatees to Kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding, to visiting the incredible boardwalks at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River and the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa.
You can even book tours including transportation from Orlando – how convenient! BOOK YOUR TOUR NOW
Citrus County Is Manatee Central
In March 2015, the State of Florida’s very comprehensive aerial survey found well over 6,000 manatees in Florida waters. Of those, over 1,000 manatees – fully one-sixth of the state of Florida’s entire population – were documented to be resident in the springs of Citrus County.
Coming to Citrus County to see the manatees in their natural state is a sight you will never forget.