Adventures in nature happen every day in Daytona Beach, and you can experience them up close and personal on your next visit. Daytona Beach offers several tours that will take you all through the Intracoastal Waterway for a viewing of manatees, dolphins and other wildlife — you’ll even learn a little local history along the way!
It is with good reason that manatees are sometimes called sea cows. With their relaxed pace and languid manner, these creatures are as gentle as they are round. The West Indian manatee is native to the Florida coast, and you have a good chance of seeing one firsthand during a visit to Daytona Beach. They instinctively flock to warm waters, making Florida’s sunny coast an ideal choice year-round, but especially in the winter months.
Did you know?
A West Indian manatee can weigh more than 1,200 pounds!
Surprisingly, this truly unique species of marine mammal is more closely related to elephants than to dolphins or whales. Manatees never leave the water but, like all marine mammals, they must breathe air at the surface. Typically, manatees surface every three to four minutes while swimming, and they can remain submerged for about 15 minutes while resting.
An adult manatee can eat a tenth of its own massive weight in water grasses, weeds and algae in just 24 hours.
Where to view manatees
There are several ways to see manatees in the Daytona Beach area — you may even spot them while simply walking along the waterway!
- Head to Blue Spring State Park — peak manatee viewing is between November and March.
- Take a guided boat tour along the Intracoastal Waterway for the chance to see dolphins, manatees and much more.
- Get a close-up nature experience with a paddleboard tour from Three Brothers Paddleboards, or cruise along on a wildlife encounter tour with Calypso Kayaking.
Dos and don’ts
Manatees are a federally listed endangered species and are protected by federal and state laws. There are strict rules about human interaction with them, but you certainly can still have a memorable experience. Touching and photos are allowed, but no holding, hugging, riding or grabbing is permitted. Be sure to do your part to protect our mild-mannered friends and keep Daytona Beach wild!
All sorts of outdoor adventures and water sports await in Daytona Beach — start planning your trip today!