When is the Best Time to See Manatees?
December 7, 2022
One of our most common questions is, "When is the best time to see the manatees?" While this answer varies based on the day, we will explain how we come up with an answer so that you can informatively choose your adventure!
First and foremost, we are the only company in the world that sees manatees year around in the wild! Why is this? Our tours take place 6.5 miles up river from the Gulf of Mexico in the Faka Union Canal. The Fakahatchee fresh water river empties out over a dam into the Faka Union Canal. This makes our water in the Port of the Island's brackish. This fresh drinking water attracts the manatees year around! They cannot survive without fresh water to drink.
Another reason they take haven in our canal is for the warmth. The bottom of the Faka Union Canal is muddy vs. sandy like the Gulf of Mexico. A muddy bottom holds heat better than a sandy bottom. Because of this, they seek the warmer water between November-April. Fun fact: manatees cannot survive in water below 68 degrees Fahrenheit!
So, we have two factors on our side that produce manatee sightings year around: fresh water and warmer temperatures!
Now, based on seasons, the rumor is true that manatees are more abundant in the winter months. Most places, you will only be able to see the manatees for a few months when the water temperature dips. What this means for us is that we just see an influx of the number of manatees. No matter what time of year you come, our success rate of seeing manatees is over 90%. But if you are here in the winter months, you will see a higher number of manatees.
Many people call to inquire about what time is best to see manatees on a particular day. There are two factors in play here: daylight, and the tides. The best viewing happens when the sun is the highest which typically tends to fall during our 10 am, 11:30 am and 1 pm tours. Manatees are also more easily seen 2 hours before and 2 hours after the peak of an incoming tide. They float in with the tide to conserve energy...talk about working smarter not harder! So, we recommend checking for the incoming tide on the day of your desired trip, and then comparing it with the daylight to choose the best tour for you.
We hope this information helps in deciding which time to choose for your manatee sightseeing adventure. Regardless of what you choose, remember, our success rate is over 90% and we will try our hardest to get you up close to manatees, alligators, birds and bull shark! While wildlife is unpredictable and cannot be guaranteed, we promise that if you do not see a manatee on your adventure, you get to come back for free.
So go ahead and book your manatee adventure for an experience you'll only find here in the beautiful Everglades of Naples, Florida!