Where to See Manatees in Florida
February 8, 2023
Manatees are Florida's state marine mammal and they are often found on both the East and West coast of Florida throughout the year. So, where is the best place to see manatees in Florida? Well that depends on where you are visiting and the time of year. The migration pattern of manatees determines where to see them during certain parts of the year. As the air and water temperature rises, the manatees tend to move north. As it declines, they flee south to warmer waters. Kind of like snowbirds! Manatees can't survive in water temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter months, they take haven in warm rivers and springs. This bodes well for seeing manatees in southwest Florida!
In the Port of the Islands located in Naples, Florida, you will find the Faka Union Canal which is a 6 mile river leading to the 10,000 Islands and the Gulf of Mexico. The canal is brackish water which provides fresh drinking water and warmer temperatures all year around. Because of this, it is the perfect home for manatees! During the winter months, they live in the canals of the Port to stay warm. During the summer months, they travel out to the Gulf but still return for fresh drinking water and food. Unlike some places, the Port of Islands is home to manatees all year round, not just in the winter.
We are lucky to have these perfect living conditions for the manatees. There aren't many other spots close by that manatees call home. While some have heard of seeing them by the Fort Myers power plant, they aren't there during the summer. The next closest manatee sanctuary is almost 4 hours away in Crystal River. So as for southwest Florida, the Port of the Islands in Naples is the place to see Manatees!
A bonus is that you will see them in the wild, in their natural habitat. Our boat tour ethically views the manatees by trolling motor which allows us to get close to them without harming them. Watch as they swim along the mangroves and come up every 5 minutes or so to breathe. It is a truly magical encounter! And maybe you'll even see a mama and her calf, a truly breathtaking sight.
If you're looking to see manatees in Florida, look no further and visit us at Manatee Sightseeing and Wildlife Adventures in Naples, Florida. See manatees or come back for free!