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5 Places to Scuba Diving with Manatees in Florida

Curious about the 5 places to scuba diving with manatees in Florida?

Manatees are the beloved official marine mammal of Florida. In fact, it is known as their state’s most famous symbol.  

Manatees are most commonly known as the ‘’sea cow’’ because they are moderate plant-eaters, peacefully and similarly to cows on the land. These mammals often eat on water plants in tropical seas. 

Although they are threatened species, there thankfully on the rebound and sighting them in Florida are increasingly becoming popular.  

But of course, that’s especially when you know where to find or see them for your scuba diving adventure. 

Here, we will kick-off to some of the few places to go scuba diving with manatees in Florida. So, without getting a bush, let’s get started. 

What are Manatees? 

The species of manatees and dugong come from the order of ‘’Sirenia’’ that comes from the class of ‘’Mammalia’’. 

Manatees are aquatic mammals and are the only ones in the world that eat mostly plants. Among the other living animals, the sirenian is most similar to elephants. For example, they have both cheek teeth, a type of molar use for graining food. As with the elephant, these special teeth are replaced by new ones that grow and move forward from the rear of the jaw. It is thought that the manatee and the elephants share the same aquatic relative called ‘’morpheein’’ which lives 37 million years ago. 

Best Time to See Manatees in Florida 

The best time to see manatees in Florida is during the cooler winter months. This month, they all migrate back home to Florida, where to gather all together in Springs and feel the warm water outflow of power plants in a huge number.  

5 Places to Go on Scuba Diving with Manatees in Florida 

Known as Florida’s delicate goliaths, recognizing a manatee in their normal, natural surroundings is really a once in a blue moon experience. Otherwise called the “sea cow”, these wrinkled, weathered animals can weigh in at 1,000-3,500 pounds and can be seen nibbling along with Florida’s grass pads and amphibian glades. Generally scattered in Florida’s conduits, these beguiling animals can be found whenever of year. However, they are all the more ordinarily seen in the winter a long time from November to March.  

Touchy to cold temperatures, manatees move in the winter and late-winter, where they wander Florida’s hotter waters. From wondering about them from a stage seeing deck to getting the opportunity to swim, scuba diving or snorkelling close to these captivating underwater well-evolved creatures. Just read on to discover the best places in Florida to see manatees. 

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge 

5 Places to Scuba Diving with Manatees in Florida

The most top-rated spots to go on scuba diving with manatees in Florida is the Crystal River. In fact, the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is a huge area with many locations that could easily be accessed. 

With that said, some of the key locations that you can visit to see manatees are the ff; 

  • Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park 
  • The Kings Bay  
  • Three Sister Spring 

You can find manatees all year round. The crown river of the crystal river is the Three Spring. The largest refugee for manatees on the Gulf Coast and; of course, it is one of the most famous manatee hotspots in the world. 

Most of the famous photos of manatees that you can see swimming in the crystal-clear water are probably shot in the Three Sister Spring in Crystal River. 

Furthermore, Crystal River is a legendary manatee viewing location and was even listed in the best seller 1000 places before you die, which is a traveller’s life list.  

But do you know what’s really put it on the number one list? 

Is it because the Crystal River is the amazing chance to get out in the water and swim with the manatees. You can swim with them with one of the operators as they are all in the area. 

So, after gearing up with the masks, fins and snorkel, you’ll be able to get a chance to be as close to one of these friendly giant creatures as long as you like. You will also legally be allowed to pet them if ever the manatees initiate the contact as they often do on the water.  

Best Time to Go: Winter Months 

  • November to April 

The water is crisp seventy-two degrees year-round. So, you might want to think about wearing a wetsuit too.  

Read about the differences between the wetsuit and a dry suit here. 

Blue Spring State Park Orange City 

5 Places to Scuba Diving with Manatees in Florida

Another popular spot to go on scuba diving is Blue Spring, State Park. Just less than an hour from Orlando, this is one of the best places in the state to see manatees. Both of you’re having to get on the boat or in the water. 

Several overlook or boardwalks will give you a great chance to see them during the winter months. Where they always gather for a huge number. Although humans are not allowed during the manatees’ season. When it’s not manatees’ season, you’re welcome to do watersports activities such as; 

  • Scuba diving 
  • Snorkelling 
  • Swimming 
  • Kayaking 

The place also offers to rent tubes so you can gently float down a real-life lazy river.  

Furthermore, you can stroll along the half-mile promenade that runs along the Blue Spring Run to absorb perspectives on these excellent creatures and watch them wander the zone, as interpretive showcases give history and instruction about the natural life and biological marvels of the zone. 

Best Time to Go: Winter Months 

  • November to April 

Manatee Springs State Park 

5 Places to Scuba Diving with Manatees in Florida

One of the hottest spots to go on scuba diving in Florida is the Manatee Springs, State Park. Just about an hour west of Gainesville, you will find this aptly named Manatee Springs State Park.  

A warm water refugee for manatees in the winter. During this winter months, manatees and travel up and down in the Suwanee River to many of those connected springs in the State’s northwest part.  

The Manatee Spring produces a 100 million gallon of clear water every day. There is no doubt that it is a popular spot for watersports adventures such as; 

  • Scuba diving  
  • Snorkelling 
  • Kayaking  
  • Swimming 
  • Cavern diving 

Kayaking and Canoeing are allowed all year. So why not come to visit the manatees and stay for; viewing the area and doing other activities such as; 

  • Hiking Trails 
  • Bike Trails 
  • Kayak Rentals 
  • Eating Barbecue 
  • Camping 
  • Fishing 
  • Canoeing 
  • Picnicking 
  • Wildlife viewing 

Furthermore, Guests can also enjoy guided nature strolls, pontoon boat tours, and ranger-managed campfire circles outside the amphitheatre on the waterfront. 

Best Time to Go: Winter Months 

  • November to April 

Manatee Lagoon Eco-Discovery Center West Palm Beach  

5 Places to Scuba Diving with Manatees in Florida

Manatee Lagoon Eco-Discovery Center West Palm Beach might be less scenic to see manatees, but the place is definitely reliable, especially during the winter in Florida.  

If you see a power plant on the water, chances are; you’re going to see manatees there in the colder months. 

The manatees love to hang out into the warm water outflow of power plants from the water.  

At Manatee Lagoon West Palm Beach, you will see manatees huddling into the warm water outflows of Florida power and light companies Riviera Beach next-generation clean energy centre.  

The place is free to visit and has several viewing areas such as; 

  • Educational Center. 
  • Picnic Area. 
  • Cafes  
  • Gift Shops. 

Open Day:  

  • Tuesday to Sunday (9:00 am to 4:00 pm) 


  • Monday 
  • During Holiday 

Exploring Palm Beach is exciting, especially if you rent your own boat to explore the waterway. Though you are not comfortable piloting your boat, you can go on a boat tour or hire a captain. Both Sailfish Marina and Riviera Beach Marina offer available boats and captains for hire.  

Our Recommendations: 

  • Jetski Rentals 
  • Blue Water boat 

Furthermore, the most amazing way to enjoy the place to see those endangered and unique creatures is; of course, to go for watersports adventures such as; 

  • Scuba Diving 
  • Snorkelling 
  • Swimming 
  • Wakeboarding 
  • Tubing 

Best Time to Go: Chiller Months 

  • November 15 and March 31 (Florida’s Manatee Season) 

Lee County Manatee Park, Fort Myers 

Another hot spot to go with manatees in Florida is the Lee Country Manatee Park in Fort Myers. It is just across from the Florida Power and Light Station.  

The warm water discharges the canal, and the place is another wintertime haven where you can see a large number of Florida mentees. You can see them enjoying the warm water. 

You can do a lot of things in the area, and the place has several manatees and other viewing areas such as; 

  • Water fly Garden 
  • Picnic Shelters 
  • Kayak Rentals 
  • Fishing Pier 
  • Gift Shops 

It’s all free, but you have to pay a couple of bucks to the parking fee. Also, there are no pets allowed in the area. 

Open Day: 

  • Thursday to Sunday (8:00 am – 4:00 pm)  

Although Lee county has agreed to speed limits in manatee, it is possible to do some watersports adventure during the winter, such as; 

  • Snorkelling 
  • Diving 

Best Time to Go: Chiller Months 

  • April to October 

5 Answer to 5 Frequently Questions 

Are manatees dangerous? 

Manatees are quiet and tranquil marine mammals’ creatures that represent no danger or harm to swimmers. In fact, they are interesting creatures that appreciate human interactions and are very glad to be around people. That is the reason it’s widespread for manatees to move toward swimmers or divers for a midsection rub or close contact. 

Do manatees attack humans? 

Manatees are quiet and tranquil animals, not known to assault or attack except if they are incited. They really appreciate human contact and may move toward a swimmer or diver for the need of a gut rub instead of attacking them. You don’t have to worry about swimming in manatee-possessed waters. 

Do manatees bite? 

Manatees are quiet creatures not interested in any way of aggression. As a matter of fact, anatomically, the state of a manatee nose is with the end goal that the creatures can’t utilize its teeth to attack. So, manatees don’t nibble or bite and don’t have body weapons for attacking enemies.  

On the other hand, manatees have no “gnawing” teeth, just “crushing” teeth. The front molars inevitably drop out and are supplanted by the teeth behind them. This tooth substitution adjusts to the manatee’s eating regimen as manatees expand plants that frequently hold sand that can wear out their teeth. 

Do manatees walk on the land? 

Sea cows, otherwise called manatees, were not generally the Florida-staying delicate goliaths of the ocean that they are today. The truth is, they once strolled on land. They consider the well-evolved creature the Chambi sea cow animals. 

Is it legal to touch manatees? 

The truth is two hands are illegal when it comes to manatees. In fact, the number one rule for swimming with manatees is ‘’do not touch them.’’ 

The Endangered Species Act forbids contacting a manatee except if it contacts you first, and they will tell you.” The rules are strict in Homosassa, and the protection pays attention to these endangered species seriously. 

Final Words: 

Manatees are one of the unique and amazing endangered species in the world. They are really big, but they are very friendly. 

Listing them on your bucket list trip is worth it. Well, who wouldn’t want to encounter or interact with these wondrous underwater creatures? 

I think no ‘’one’’. Basically, even if you are a diver or not, you will love them, especially if you spend it in Florida’s beautiful country. 

Florida will not disappoint you as it has few places of locations where you can swim with an abundance of wild Manatee in the crystal-clear turquoise water. 

So, what are you waiting for? Try to visit at least one of the places listed above and explore the underwater world with the sea cows. 

Keep Safe and Happy ‘’sea cow’’ dive buddies!