best time to see manatees at blue spring state park
Day Trips

Guide to Seeing Manatees at Blue Spring State Park

Heading to Orlando and wondering where to see manatees near Orlando? Well you’re in luck! Blue Spring State Park is just 45 minutes away and the closest place to see manatees from Orlando. A day trip from Orlando to Blue Spring State Park is a great way to add some nature to your vacation. Read on for some tips to make your visit to Blue Spring State Park successful.

best time to see manatees at blue spring state park

Where is Blue Spring State Park located and How Much Does it Cost?

Blue Springs State Park is located in Orange City, FL, just 45 minutes from Orlando’s theme parks making it the best place to see manatees near Orlando. The entrance fee is $6/car, for up to 4 occupants. Single occupant vehicles pay less. Walk ins are allowed at $2 per person, however know that the spring area is quite the distance from the entrance!

When is the Best Time to See Manatees at Blue Spring State Park?

The best time to see manatees at Blue Spring State Park is in the winter months. Manatees can’t tolerate water less than 68 degrees, so when it’s frigid out, as it’s been here in Central Florida, they come to the 72 degree spring to warm up. The colder it is outside, the more of them you will see. We came in January, when the outside temperature was in the 50s and there were over 500 of them! Manatees may look like blubbery little creatures, however they only have an inch of blubber and a very slow metabolism, making them unable to easily stay warm without the help of the warm spring water.

best time to see manatees at blue spring state park
best time to see manatees at blue spring state park
best time to see manatees at blue spring state park

Tips for Visiting Blue Spring State Park

If you are coming to see the manatees on a cold winter day, get here either first thing or after 11. The park opens at 8 am and they fill up the parking lots quickly, even on weekdays. We didn’t know this and showed up around 9:30 am on a weekend day. There were about 100 cars in line to get in, but shockingly the line moved quickly and we were inside and parked within a half hour. When we were leaving a little after 11, the line to enter had maybe 10 cars, much shorter than when we arrived so if you aren’t an early riser, come a few hours after they open. Remember, you cannot touch or swim with the manatees at Blue Spring State Park, however you will see them fairly close from the boardwalk area.

manatees at blue spring state park
Boardwalk overlooking the spring.

How Many Manatees are at Blue Spring State Park?

Want to know how many manatees are at Blue Spring State Park during your visit? The count is listed on the board as you enter and then again in the gift shop. During our trip, they estimated there to be 535 and it definitely seemed that way! Check out our video below to see just how many we saw!

best time to see manatees at blue spring state park
Manatee count at the gift shop.

What Other Animals Can You See in the Spring?

Lots of different fish call the spring their home. We saw hundreds or large fish swimming around during our stay!

best time to see manatees at blue spring state park
So many fish live in the spring!

Is Visiting Blue Spring State Park Worth it?

Visiting Blue Spring State Park is definitely worth it! You and your kids can learn so much about the manatees, their conservation efforts and best of all, see hundreds of these majestic creatures. Have you visited Blue Spring State Park with your family?

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