Daytona Beach

Orlando Manatee Encounters

Badge of ExcellenceDaytona Beach, USA
Manatee Kayak Tour at Blue Springs State Park

From $80.00

Select Date and Travelers

up to 24 hours before the experience starts (local time)

  • 2 hours
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English

Overview

Watch manatees in their natural habitat on a kayak tour in Blue Springs State Park, the winter home to one of Florida’s largest manatee populations. From a safe distance, observe the gentle creatures from your kayak as your guide shares informative commentary about the region's animal and plant life. This tour proceeds at a leisurely pace and is suitable for all levels of experience.
  • Kayak through Blue Springs State Park and observe manatees
  • Observe the local wildlife from a safe distance
  • Novice kayakers are welcome to join—tour is suitable for all skill levels
  • A small group ensures personal service

What's Included

  • Landing and facility fees
  • Professional guide
  • Bottled water
  • Local guide
  • Gratuities

Meeting and Pickup

Meeting point

  • Blue Spring State Park: French Landing Boat Ramp
    2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763, USA

    Go to the very end of French Ave, 1 mile past the State Park. DO NOT ENTER THE STATE PARK!

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Make your own way to the boat ramp in Orange City to meet your guide.

Your guide provides a safety briefing, basic paddling instruction, and guidelines for observing Florida's wildlife. Then hop in your kayak and follow your guide to the spring. At the spring, your guide points out the best places to view the manatees, and answers any questions about the 'sea cow.'

After watching the manatees, continue to the Snake River and kayak through a creek that shelters an abundance of wildlife. There you might see manatees, otters, alligators, bald eagles, osprey, red-shouldered hawks, large wading birds, coots, moorhens, and wild hogs.

On the return to your car, make a final stop on a wooden boardwalk to look at manatees. After your tour, feel free to remain on your own at the park for a picnic or snorkeling.

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • There is no minimum age however all participants must know how to swim
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • It is recommended that you bring a swimsuit, towel, waterproof camera and wear clothes that can get wet and possibly dirty
  • To ensure a proper size kayak is available, please provide your individual heights and weights at the time of booking
  • Service animals allowed
  • There is no restroom at the meeting location. There is a public restroom at Valentine Park (1511 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763) about a mile before you arrive the meeting location that we recommend you use before your tour.
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 14 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
KRISTY_S
Gina was an amazing tour guide, I feel like the manatees knew her voice. You could tell she loved her job, and LOVED being able to share her knowledge and love for the manatees, and the area with thr group.

Reviews

5.0
320 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 320 reviews
Great to exploring the river with Sue lots of alligators and manatees
Penny_S, Mar 2024
We had an amazing day. Sue was our tour guide and boy was she on top of everything! We started with a instructional safety guide and got right into it. She was amazing took us right to where the manatees are. They are starting to migrate out of the warmer waters so we saw a few and then she took us down several inlets with lots of alligators and turtles, So Much Fun, and lots of birds which Sue knew the species! She knew lots of history of the area. It was such a fun tour and great exercise. I had never kayaked before and she instructed me how to do it properly. I was in a tandem with my husband. Thank you, Sue a wonderful day on the river highly recommend!
Lower your expectations
Jenny_F, Mar 2024
I recently went on a tour that was advertised as a "Kayaking with Manatees" experience, but unfortunately, it fell short of expectations. The main disappointment was the water quality; it was so dark and murky that we couldn't see anything, let alone any manatees. This was particularly disappointing because the photos used to advertise the tour showed clear water and happy interactions with manatees, which did not align with our actual experience. Despite the lackluster conditions, our guide was excellent. She was knowledgeable, friendly, and did her best to make the most of the situation. However, it's clear that the tour's name is misleading. Given that we only spotted one manatee and the overall experience was not as advertised, I feel that the tour should be titled more accurately, perhaps as a "Birds, Alligators, and Maybe a Manatee Tour." Considering the cost of the tour, I would not recommend it. If you're specifically looking to kayak with manatees, you're likely to be disappointed. However, if you're interested in birdwatching and seeing alligators, this tour might be more suitable.
Great kayak. Lots of manatees !!
Ruth_M, Mar 2024
Bill and his wife Gina were very informative and fun. We saw lots of manatees , fish , birds, and gators ! You are in direct sun and on the water the whole time so sunscreen and protective clothing and a sun hat are a must ! But a great way to see some of these amazing animals up close. Take this tour !!!
Great trip
Claudine_B, Feb 2024
Great trip with Jimi, very knowledgable guide. Saw lots of wildlife, alligators, turtles snakes, many bird species and manatees!!
A must do if you’re in the area.
Robert_M, Feb 2024
Bill our guide was great very friendly and knowledgeable. We saw a small alligator, several turtles and birds and most importantly 15 or more manatees and a few came up right next to our kayak. It was thrilling!
Gina was awesome
Billy_H, Feb 2024
Gina was so fun. We saw manatees and alligators ! Would definitely do again and recommend this to everyone.
Kayaking Fun
Christine_M, Aug 2023
This was such a great experience, especially for a novice. Our tour guide was Sue, she was amazing, friendly and very involved in guiding us.
Perfect Paddle with Gina
Thomas_N, Jul 2023
What a beautiful spot! We also got a break in the weather, the temperature was just right. But most of all...our guide Gina was spectacular! She was the perfect combination of knowledgeable and friendly and funny! Pointed out so much wildlife including a ton of birds, some alligators and a bunch of manatees! Thank you Gina!
Day of fun and manatees with Sue
Roberto_L, Jul 2023
Sue is an excellent guide!!! Her knowledge of the manatees, wildlife, river and area is second to none. Or party of seven had a blast kayaking the Wekiwa River with her. 2+ hours of fun and information. The whole family recommends this tour and Sue. Plus we had four separate sightings of manatees and much more. Sue really did her homework before taking us out!
We were able to see...
Sarah_E, May 2023
We were able to see manatees and alligators with bill allowing us to set the pace and explore ourselves
Poor communication between Viator and tour operator & poor response to complaint
Gilda_L, Apr 2023
Jimi from Orlando Manatee Encounters was very professional and knowledgable, and made our 3 hours on the river quite enjoyable. Nevertheless, the fact that we had to use a full day to go on this excursion instead of the planned half day was the killer of the experience. The operator changed the meeting point for the excursion the day before the excursion, and tried to contact us by calling my cell. I have blocked unknown callers so did not receive this phone call. No additional effort was made from tour operator or most importantly from Viator, with whom we contracted the tour. We arrived 30 minutes ahead of the requested meeting time and called Viator to be sure we were at the right place. Viator said they contacted the tour operator, and related to us that they would be arriving any minute to meet us. I was given the tour operator phone number grudgingly by Viator, so I would have it just in case. Twenty minutes later (10 min before the scheduled meeting time) I called the tour operator only to find out they were launching the tour from another location 30 minutes away by car, and that we would not be able to make our tour. The tour operator tried to rectify their wrong by offering us a tour 3 hours later, which we took, and which also meant we spent the whole day on this, instead of having the afternoon for another activity We contacted Viator and requested a compensation for messing up our schedule: We were told our complaint would be "escalated" but here we are, 3 days after the fact, with no effort from their part to establish any communication. It is the last time I contract a tour with Viator
Good way to spend a fun active day
Dianna_K, Mar 2023
The guides were great! Super friendly and made sure everyone was comfortable and had what they needed to have a great time. Snacks were yummy. Thanks for taking and sharing pix from our adventure. Sad we did not see any manatees however.
Kayaking
Karen_D, Sep 2022
My husband & me went on the kayak trip & really enjoyed the scenic river. We saw lots of herons & alligators. I would recommend this trip. Gina was a great guide.
Up close to manatees
Tammy_H, Jun 2022
Highly recommend this adventure for all ages. Gina our tour guide and Kara her assistant absolutely AMAZING!! Their knowledge about the wildlife and its natural habitat kept you at ease at all times. We were blessed to see manatees, turtles, fish, and 2 alligators. The fish in the spring water abundant and amazing to see up close in CLEAR water. WOW!! With Gina's knowledge when the gators were close we remained calm and just enjoyed viewing them gliding across the water. Our 2 teenagers girls were nervous, but handled it well. What an amazing experience. Something we will share with others for our lifetime. Don't let any fear of fish or gators keep you from this amazing up close adventure of manatees in their natural environment. We saw 2 of them interacting with kids on a raft. 3 of them in another area being frisky with one another. Just incredible. Could have stayed there ALL day. Must do when in the area. We stayed in Daytona it was less then a hour ride. Well worth it. Thank you Gina and Kara!!!
Loved it
Nathan_V, Jun 2022
We had a wonderful day and Gina was amazing and made it such an enjoyable and beautiful experience. She was very knowledgeable and super friendly. It was a great day
Great day!
DELORES_A, May 2022
We had an amazing time....Bill was very informative and kept a close watch on us all! This is a do not miss type of day!
Great tour
JOSEPH_G, May 2022
Great experience…highly recommended!…our tour was private as another group failed to show. Very knowledgeable guide!
Guy was an excellent...
Amy_K, Mar 2022
Guy was an excellent guide! We learned so much. He gave us a perfect balance of information and quiet time to enjoy the gorgeous surroundings. No manatee sightings but we didn't even care. It was a fantastic paddle.
Great experience!
Gerald_S, Mar 2022
What an amazing experience! Our guide, Gina, was incredible. Not only was she very knowledgeable, she was also very friendly and went the extra mile to ensure that we had a great time. We saw all kinds of local wildlife including manatees, alligators, turtles, fish and many different kinds of birds, can't wait to do it again!
Manatees, Alligators, Birds oh my….
Megan_M, Mar 2022
We were able to see manatees in the rooed off area, even though they were being lazy and didn’t come up to the surface very much. We saw several alligators, turtles, and native birds. Bill our guide was pleasant and knowledgeable.

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