Tampa Bay Area Treasures: Kayak or paddleboard through crystal clear water, see manatees

During the 5.5-mile trip boaters encounter fish, birds and manatees. Visitors may see one or two river otters. Dolphins have even been spotted this week.

Boating the Weeki Wachee River offers crystal clear water, wildlife and picturesque views.

Tours that launch in Weeki Wachee Springs State Park last for about two-and-a-half to 3 hours. There is kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and canoeing. 

During the 5.5-mile trip boaters encounter fish, birds and manatees. Visitors may see one or two river otters. Dolphins have even been spotted this week. (Dolphins shouldn’t stay in fresh water for too long so if you see them, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission alert hotline at 888-404-3922.)

Guides say there are gators in the marsh, though they stay away from the areas people are paddling in.

The water is so clear boaters can often see right to the bottom of the river. Visitors can get out and swim once they exit the protected state park area – about 20 minutes into a trip.

Pack a hat, sunscreen and bug spray. Just remember: It’s Florida so getting rained on isn’t out of the question.

You can depart from the state park 365 days per year.

If you’re looking for other local, outdoor treasures, go here.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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