Water activity

Orlando: 3-Hour Manatee Encounter by Kayak

Orlando: 3-Hour Manatee Encounter by Kayak

From US$ 80 per person

Enjoy a kayaking tour in Blue Springs State Park, the winter home of one of Florida’s largest manatee populations. Spend some time paddling and some time walking along the spring-side trail. Spot a wide variety of native wildlife on this 3-hour adventure.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Mobile ticketing
Use your phone or print your voucher
Duration 3 hours
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Live tour guide


  • Paddle a kayak in the clear waters of Blue Springs State Park
  • Observe manatees, alligators, otters, and large wading birds with a professional local wilderness guide
  • Enjoy loads of opportunities for photographing manatees and other wildlife
Full description
Blue Springs State Park outside Orlando is home to the largest spring on the St. Johns River and a designated national manatee refuge. On this 3-hour excursion your group will paddle to the entrance of the spring run, park the kayaks, and then walk the entire length of the spring run with a guide to spot and photograph the native wildlife. Afterwards you’ll retrieve your kayak and paddle to the Snake River or Hontoon Island. The Hontoon Island area of the river is packed with manatees, otters, and sun-worshipping gators. Overhead bald eagles, ospreys, and red shoulder hawks scan the water and marshes for their next meal. On the riverbank, large wading birds, coots, morehens, and the occasional wild hog can be seen. There’s a nature trail on the island that leads to an ancient Indian shell mound. The park is noted for its large owl population and extensive Indian artifacts including the state’s largest totem pole.
  • Guide
  • Kayak
  • Paddling gear
  • Dry bag
  • Water
  • Permit
    Covid-19 precautions
    Safety measures in place
    • The number of visitors is limited to reduce crowds
    • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned

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    Prepare for the activity

    Meeting point

    French Landing 2398 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763 Driving directions from Orlando: Take I-4 east toward Daytona Beach, and take exit 111B toward Orange City. Follow the signs to Blue Springs State Park. When you reach the Park located on French Avenue, pass the park and follow French Avenue until the road ends in about 3/4 of a mile. The road ends at a boat ramp on the river. If you use a GPS do not drive on Blue Springs Road or Magnolia! You will get stuck in sugar sand!

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    Important information

    Not allowed

    • Jeans

    Know before you go

    • Single kayaks and tandems are available, as are both sit-in and sit-on tops. Please call the tour provider after you make your reservation if you have a preference.
    • What to bring:
    • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen)
    • Clothing that can get wet and possibly dirty
    • Waterproof camera
    • Tip for your guide
    Customer reviews

    Overall rating

    5 /5

    based on 39 reviews

    Review summary

    • Guide
    • Transportation
    • Value for money
    • Safety

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    It was a beautiful morning with a ton of up-close wildlife sightings. Gina was a wonderful guide. We had a party of 5 with mixed levels of kayak experience. My 77 year-old parents had no problems with the paddle (in tandem kayaks with my wife and I assisting them). We saw alligators, turtles, egrets, storks, vultures, hawks, anhingas, herons, and of course ALOT of manatees. The water is highly tannic so the visibility is not great but the Manatees came right up to our kayaks. One of them even nuzzled my Go Pro camera as I held it in the water for underwater video. Fully recommended!

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    December 26, 2021

    Well organized operation with knowledgeable and experienced guides. Manatees are an underwater living animal so seeing was a little tough as they swam past but the guides did the best they could to get you reasonably close. Lots of other wildlife and flora to see along the way. Guides gave us 3 hrs plus on the river well worth the price if you enjoy being out and about in kayaks

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    February 21, 2021

    EVERYTHING about this tour was awesome. The initial booking process....easy. The communication with the Company BEFORE the tour...awesome and timely responses to questions we had. Starting the tour was perfect! We arrived about 20 minutes early and Bill (our guide) was already there and had our kayaks ready to go. The experience...it was WAY better Han we had hoped for. Not only did we see LOTS of wildlife, the manatee encounters made for lifetime memories. We watched one feeding which was fantastic, but we were blown away with the experience of having several come right up beside our kayak and poke their noses out of the water and look at us...like they were on tour to see the kayakers. Our guide (Bill) NEVER rushed us and always allowed extra time when something peaked our interest. In my opinion, this is the perfect tour for animal lovers and people that simply enjoy nature. We traveled from Colorado, and this tour made the entire trip worth every penny.

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    February 9, 2021

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    Product ID: 51118