When it's cold outside, you can bet that there will be huge numbers of manatees in sanctuary areas around the state. Since I live in Citrus County, it's just a short paddle out to several manatee peeping hot-spots in Crystal River.
I just had to share this unedited video of a particularly curious manatee at King's Spring, a winter sanctuary area in King's Bay. Past the sanctuary markers, you can view lots of manatees from a kayak. While I was just drifting along, this one came out of the sanctuary area and hung around my kayak for about three minutes – a totally magical experience. I have a GoPro camera on a little pole that I stick under the water's surface a few inches, and this guy came right up to check things out.
Folks, there are a few different ways that you can see manatees. First, check out this post that I wrote last year on five places where you can see them. It also includes spots where you can just drive up and view. Second, if you do decide to take a guided manatee tour, please do a little research and determine how responsible the tour operator is. Remember, these are endangered animals that are trying to survive, and we should be respectful of that. Also, I'm a big believer that passive interaction on a kayak tour with manatees is the best way to view them. You have less of an impact on the sanctuary areas, and the whole experience seems a little more special when you interact with manatees on their own terms.
However you decide to see the manatees, make sure to always pay attention to the rules and mind your Manatee Manners. Hope you enjoy the video!