Crystal River Manatees
Kings Bay, located in Crystal River, has several springs scattered around the bay that pump fresh water at a constant 72°F year-round, making the Kings Bay area a perfect refuge for manatees and even better for swimming with them! Perhaps Crystal River is one of the few places where people are encouraged to enter the water, interact, and swim with the manatees. Manatees are air-breathing mammals and spend much of their time near the surface of the water, which makes them easy to see.
One of the best things about Florida is being able to swim with manatees in Crystal River. If you want a chance to go swimming with the manatees in Florida your best opportunity is to check out a Crystal River boat rental from us at Twin Rivers Marina! Why pay for manatee tours when you can get up close and personal to swim with the manatees on Crystal River and observe these unique creatures.
Twin Rivers Marina has several rental boats available for full or half day rental that will allow you to get up-close and personal to swim with the manatees. Rent a boat now!
Fascinating Facts About Florida Manatees
- Mammalian Marvels: Manatees are mammals, and their closest relative is the elephant. Despite being sea creatures, manatees closely resemble elephants in their lineage.
- Slow and Steady Swimmers: Despite their hefty size, which can reach 9-10 feet in length and weigh anywhere from 1,000 to 3,500 pounds, manatees are remarkably versatile swimmers. They can swim vertically, upside down, perform barrel rolls, and even indulge in somersaults, typically reserved for playtime!
- Masters of Adaptation: Manatees can hold their breath for up to 15 minutes underwater, showcasing their incredible adaptability to their marine environment.
- Eyes of Wonder: Despite their small eyes, manatees possess remarkable vision, allowing them to navigate their underwater world precisely.
- No Neck, No Problem: Manatees lack neck vertebrae, so when you swim with them, they turn their entire bodies to look at you — an endearing quirk.
- Intelligent Swimmers: Manatees exhibit high intelligence, performing tasks on par with dolphins. Their thick skin contains a plethora of hairs called vibrissae that provide them with an exceptional sense of touch, compensating for their lack of full-color vision.
- Herbivores of the Sea: Manatees are herbivores, meaning you can rest easy — no worries about manatee bites.
Florida Manatee FAQ’s
Manatees are herbivores that can spend up to 8 hours a day doing what a “sea cow” does best… grazing on seagrasses!
A good time to see manatees in Florida is usually from November to April. If you are lucky enough to visit between December and February you can see the largest numbers of manatees. Keep in mind that as temperatures rise, the manatees begin to travel to other locales as well.
Occasionally, some manatees can be seen eating clams and other sea life but for the most part, they eat aquatic plants (like seagrasses).
During the cooler months, Florida manatees make their way to Crystal Springs and other warm water locales to stay warm. Although many Crystal River manatees stay here, the warmer months find the manatees migrating northward along the Eastern seaboard towards Georgia and South Carolina or heading into the Gulf of Mexico into Alabama, Texas, and even down to Cuba!
The Florida Manatee has been reclassified as a threatened species because of habitat improvements and population growth. The biggest threats to manatees now are boat collisions, getting tangled in fishing gear, habitat degradation, etc.
Visit our Crystal River Manatee FAQ page for even more cool Florida manatee factoids.