TAMPA BAY AREA TREASURES: Try these kayaking trips to see manatees this winter

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.

One of the highlights of cooler temperatures in the Tampa Bay Area is spotting manatees.

There are great kayaking trips that take you right to these beautiful creatures.

Boating the Weeki Wachee River offers crystal clear water, wildlife and picturesque views. You’re likely to see manatees. You can kayak, canoe or paddleboard. This kayaking adventure is 5.5 miles long.

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.

You can depart from Weeki Wachee Springs State Park 365 days a year.

Another great option is to kayak the Chassahowitzka River. This is a gorgeous route. Plan to be on the water for about three hours. Or, plan on a longer day and paddle to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge or out to the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition, there’s Crystal River. This is another great option for nature enthusiasts who want to see manatees.

If you’re not up for kayaking, visit the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach.

Where is your favorite spot to see manatees? Let us know.   

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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