FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
app promo

See Manatees in Their Natural Habitats

by Susan Barnes

Jan 17, 2018

Greg Amptman | Dreamstime.com


When the thermometer dips in the south — and yes, it does happen! — the waters’ temperatures dip as well, which means it’s time for manatees to make their annual migration (typically November–March) from their homes in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, and even Texas and Virginia, to Florida’s warmer waters and natural springs. And once manatees find the spot just right for them, they return to the same place annually. Sound familiar, snow birds?!


The reason manatees seek out the warmer waters is they cannot tolerate temperatures below 68 degrees for long periods of time — they’re susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia, also known as cold stress. When Florida’s gulf and ocean waters dip below 68 degrees, the manatees have another place they can go — the natural springs, which maintain a steady 72 degrees (or so) year-round.


Here, we take a look at some spots around Florida where you may just spot manatees in their natural habitats.

West Indian Manatee, Blue Spring, Florida, USA

© Uhg1234 | Dreamstime.com


Blue Spring State Park, Orange City (between Orlando and Daytona Beach)

The park’s webcam shows if manatees are in the springs. During manatee season, the spring and spring run are closed to all water activities, including swimming and boating.


Manatee Lagoon, West Palm Beach

Hands-on exhibits to learn not only about manatees who winter here, but other natural wonders in the area, are available in this 16,000-square-foot educational space. A quick look at the Manatee Cam will show if manatees are in the area.


Manatee Observation & Education Center, Fort Pierce (between Cocoa Beach and West Palm Beach)

View manatees from the observation deck or go into the center to check out the touch tanks, interactive displays and aquaria to learn more about the area’s ecosystems and inhabitants.


Manatee Park, Fort Myers

Manatees are more apt to be in the park late December through February.


TECO Manatee Viewing Center, Apollo Beach (south of Tampa)

An observation deck and boardwalk provide terrific vantage points for viewing manatees in the waters warmed by the neighboring Big Bend Power Station. Webcams to the east and west provide different vantage points, right on your screen.


Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Crystal River (about 90 minutes north of Tampa)

Crystal River is the only place in the world it’s legally permissible to swim with the manatees. If you’d rather stay dry, the observation boardwalk that encircles Three Sisters provides terrific viewing spots. During the winter months, loads of manatees can be spotted here, but a resident population of around 80 manatees call the area home year-round, providing spotting opps year-round, too.


For more on manatees and conservation efforts surrounding these gentle giants, please visit the Save the Manatee Club website.


Fast Facts About Manatees

  • Manatees are herbivores, or vegetarians, and get fresh water from seagrasses and other aquatic vegetation.
  • Manatees do not have any natural predators.
  • It is estimated modern manatees have been in Florida’s waters for more than 1 million years.
  • Under the Endangered Species Act, harassing or interfering with manatees can lead to heavy fines and even jail time.


Manatee Manners

  • Look but do not touch — manatees are wild animals, after all!
  • Never enter designated manatee sanctuaries for any reason.
  • Avoid making noise or splashing when manatees are nearby.
  • Use snorkeling gear when observing manatees in the water; SCUBA gear may scare them.
  • Never feed manatees or give them water; they are wild animals.


Insta Feed
Mar 23, 2023

7 Montevideo, Uruguay, Destinations for Family Travel

It’s time to start dreaming of your next family trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Montevideo, Uruguay, with us.

United Airlines Celebrates its First Class of United Aviate Graduates

As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.

Destinations / North America
Mar 23, 2023

Easter Celebrations at Blue Mountain Resort

Take your family travels to Blue Mountain Resort this Easter for delicious brunch and dinner buffets at Slopeside Pub & Grill. Stunning views of the scenic Pocono Mountains and delicious food will have your family coming back for Easter year after year.

Destinations / Europe
Mar 23, 2023

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Crete

With summer vacation season on the horizon, the Greek island of Crete is undoubtedly on the radar for many family travelers. As a hotbed of culture, history, mythology and outdoor adventure, travelers flock to this beautiful destination year after year. But as the largest island in Greece, it can be hard to narrow down the best places to eat, stay and play on the island.

Destinations / North America
Mar 22, 2023

Family-Friendly Travel at Sun Outdoors RV Resorts

Family travelers looking for a fun-filled vacation can enjoy a stay at one of more than 170 Sun Outdoors resorts and campgrounds across the United States and Canada. Choosing just one of these sites can be challenging, however. Here are some Sun Outdoors spots to create unforgettable memories for families of all ages.

Destinations / North America
Mar 22, 2023

Cape Resorts Properties Open for the Season

Family-run and perfect for family travelers, here’s a closer look at the collection of properties from Cape Resorts.