Where can you kayak with manatees in Florida?

Where to kayak with manatees in Florida

This article describes seven places that offer unique opportunities for water recreation enjoyment and conversing with Mother Nature. Besides, these paddling trails are where to kayak with manatees in Florida.

Places to watch the manatees with a kayak are; Bishop Harbor Trail, Miguel Bay, and Terra Ceia Bay areas of the Terra Ceia Trail, Manatee River Trail, Braden River Trail, and Lower Braden River Trail, Palma Sola Bay Trail is next, and Sarasota Bay/Barrier Islands Trails.

These trails are known as the Paddle Manatee System that covers 75 miles of boat riding trails created by Manatee County. The purpose of these trails is for recreational canoeing and kayaking.

Other than Kayaking with the Manatees, the trail offers a waterway to the Saltwater Paddling Trail in Florida.  The pathway is designated as National Recreational Trail by the authorities.

About the manatees

They are marine mammals large in size, slow swimmers animals found in the coastal areas of Florida.

In addition, paddle your kayak to Florida spring breakers for a better view of the manatee. The West Indian manatee species is listed as endangered in the United States by IUC. Therefore, any form of harassment and disturbances is prohibited. The three types of species are the Amazonian, West African, and West Indian.

Best time of year to see manatees in Florida

To spot the manatees, kayak the shallow waters of the coastal areas or head to the areas with plenty of seagrasses. These animals are herbivorous ad are available during sprig to feed o other vegetation such as mangrove leaves and algae. West Indian and West African are known to thrive ad swim more often between salty and freshwater during spring seasons. 

 Safety measures when kayaking with the manatee

  • Paddlers are often required to protect the manatees when sailing.
  • Be careful when paddling to avoid collision with the mammals.
  • Hunting the manatees while kayaking is prohibited.
  • Further, kayak paddlers are required to maintain the environment, avoid activities that can contribute to the destruction of their habitat.
  • Avoid handling toxic red tides when with the manatees.
  • You can’t feed the manatees or give them water as it is against the regulations.
  • Always check the weather forecast before trip commencement.
  • Know the current prevailing weather conditions such as Wind, tides, river level.
  • Do not paddle against strong winds and tides.
  • Strong wigs ad tides are likely to cause a collision with the manatees.
  • Consult the tide tables and plans to know where to launch the Kayak. Otherwise, you may encounter an impassible trail due to a low tide.
  • Adequate caution is necessary with a kayak in open waters where manatees are. In addition, avoid thunderstorms and lightning-prone areas around Sarasota and Tampa Bay.
  • Bad weather conditions are experienced during summer, while high and strong waves and winds occur in winters.
  • It is recommended to kayak at the shores with the manatees
  • Avoid kayaking with the mammals under bridges as you are likely to experience swift currents. Too, fishing lines are also present in these areas, which can cause damage to the Kayak.

Kayak manatees trail

Kayaking with the manatees depends on the type of trail.  Paddlers have different skills levels in paddling to enjoy the company of these mammals.

The trails varied from easy for newbies to moderate, which requires a bit of skill to circumnavigate. There are difficult trails that require an experienced kayak to paddle.    

It is advisable to understand the rules and regulations before embarking on your excursion kayaking voyage. Going through the rules equips you with information about the area ad helps you assess your skills for the desired trial.  

The weather conditions to watch before manatees kayak tour are the local tide, wind, rai. These will ensure a very fruity and enjoyable voyage with the manatees. 

Where to kayak with the manatees during winter.

Just as humans,they tend to source for warmer territories during winters. The best places to paddle your kayak to watch them are Upper Manatee River, Braden River, and Palma Sola Bay.

How to watch the manatees without breaking the law.

  • Use glasses that are polarized o the water trails to aid underwater observation.
  • Stay calm and watch out for the swirls as they dive
  • Watch them from a distance to avoid a direct collision.

What to do with a distress manatees

As a paddler, your choices are limited.  However, to save the animal when endangered, you are advice to contacts the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, 1-888-404-3922.

Best places to see manatees in Florida

Bishop Harbor

Bishop Harbor offers a five-mile journey from the Skyway with the manatees.

Other than the manatees, there are several off-trail exploration opportunities. You can launch your boat either from Terra Ceia/Frog Creek or the Sunshine Skyway. The best types of Kayak for watching the manatees are sea kayaks with a spray skirt. However, other Kayaks models can also perform well, such as the sit-a-top kayak.

Upper Manatee River State Canoe Trail

This is a designated Florida statewide system of Greenways and Trails that covers 5 miles. It stretches from Manatee Dam. This trail has public areas at Fort Hamer and Braden River boat ramps, Braden River Park, and Rye Wilderness Preserve.

However, the remaining Ray’s Canoe Hideaway is a private point that charges fees for every launch. The Upper Manatee does not require prerequisite skills to enjoy water kayaking with the mammals.

When kayaking the Manatee River Trail looking for the mammals, it is advisable to paddle the Fort Hamer found on the south shore next to the boat ramp.

From the river trail, guide your Kayak to the Manatee Dam. This dam was constructed to store drinking water for Manatee County. But, the animal has sought refuge due to the favorable water ad weather conditions.

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