Everyone thinks of Florida as all warm and sunny, all the time. And while that’s largely true, the nights around the sleepy coastal town of Crystal River can get downright nippy this time of year. Which is exactly why the next few months are such a great time of year to visit, especially if you’re an animal lover.
You see, those chilly evenings make the many warm springs around King’s Bay a magnet for manatees. Because sea cows can’t take the cold any better than I can, they return from their daily foraging to spend the night here in waters as clear as any swimming pool.
Which is where my friends at Bird’s Underwater come in. Owner Bill Oestrich and his crew run three-hour manatee snorkeling tours that let you get some quality face-time—and I’m speaking literally here—with one of the sweetest wild animals you could ever want to meet.
Now, I’m not normally prone to gushing about cute and cuddly animals, but I’ve done this several times now and have found swimming among these remarkable creatures to be one of my all-time favorite extraordinary experiences. Read the story of my first manatee encounter on XTRORD.com and you’ll see what I mean.