Learn to Paddle Board in a beautiful Florida Springs near St Augustine! Salt Springs is about a 1 hour drive from St Augustine and so worth it. The crystal clear water and white sandy beach of the spring make it a perfect place to learn to paddle board. The head spring is shallow (waist deep) and perfect for the kids for swimming and snorkeling, they will have a blast! This is the perfect place to fall off your paddle board on purpose. The spring run can be explored, and although we see very few manatees here in the summer, there is still amazing Florida Wildlife that can be seen. The most relaxing thing about this place, is just relaxing on a paddle board and watching the kids paddle around and swim.
We offer paddle board rentals and guided tours in the warmer months May through Sep
Experience our magnificent kayak manatee tours in beautiful Salt Springs Ocala. Our Florida manatee tours are a slow paced, family friendly…Florida wildlife adventure. The Florida manatees are gentle giants, and such a joy to watch and admire. Our manatee kayak tour is fun, informative, relaxing and great for beginners. Bring the family and enjoy the beautiful crystal clear water as we take a deep breath and absorb the true miracles of natures creatures.
What to Expect : We offer this adventure as a kayak or a paddleboard tour. It is a very slow paced tour that focuses on the Florida manatee as we observe them in pristine, crystal clear water. The tour will continue down the river a short distance, about a half mile into Brave Bear Creek , searching for other wildlife, which may include, bald eagles, ospreys, hawks, egrets, herons, alligators, otters, turtles, fish and even bears. The tour is about two hours in duration and we use perception sit on top kayaks with integrated back seats for lower back comfort and our kayak are coast guard inspected annually. We also provide carbon fiber paddles which are super light and easy on your arms and shoulders. The water in the spring is 72 degrees year round and a winter sanctuary for the Florida manatees.
Tours Includes: Paddle instruction clinic, kayak or paddleboard, paddles, PFDs ( life Jackets) dry bag, and a professional, University of Florida master natural guide, trained in CPR and first aid. Your guide will also take pictures of you and your adventure for you to cherish and share. We offer solo & tandem kayaks or paddle boards for this tour. We suggest you bring water in a non disposable bottle. There are picnic table if you care to bring lunch for after your tour.
Tour Time and Location: Daily at 10:00 a.m. December through February or during the active manatee season. The location is Salt Springs Marina and Landing. 25711 NE 134th ST.. Salt Springs Fl. 32134 ( click for google maps) Salt Springs is located in the heart of beautiful Ocala National Forest. There is a $10.00 parking fee Exact change only.
Public Group Tour Cost: $70.00 per person. We offer solo and tandems for this tour. Kids 5-15 years old must ride in a tandem kayak with an adult. Our guides are great, please don’t forget them! Gratuity is not included in the price. Just let us know at the end of the tour if you would like to add a tip to your credit card.
Duration: About 2 hours – Depending how long we have fun with the manatees.
Distance: About 1 mile
This is a public tour and we require a minimum of 4 people total to go out. If you have less than 4 people in your group, you may still reserve. In the rare event the minimum number of reservations is not met, you will be notified 24 hours prior to your tour time, at which time you have the option to reschedule or a full refund.
This tour depends on the weather temperature for the manatees to be active in the spring. The colder the better. The water is a warm 72 degrees. Dress appropriately in layers.
So what are you waiting for? Join us on this magnificent manatee adventure today!
Private tours: $75.00 per person. We offer private tours for groups of 4 or more any time of the day.
A 24 hour cancelation notice is required for a full refund.
As with all our tours, if Kayak Florida cancels this tour you will receive a full refund.Check out our Blue Springs Manatee Tours
Our beautiful manatees are one of Florida’s many wildlife wonders. Since the manatee protection act, came into effect in 1973, the Florida manatees have been increasing in numbers. According to FWC the last count in Jan. 2018 was 6,231. and thankfully they are off the endangered species list and now listed as threatened. Plenty of work still needs to be done to protect these friendly Florida mermaids, and with more public awareness of their habitat and migration, we can make sure that these beautiful animals are around for future generations to enjoy as much as we do. Click the link below for the manatee viewing guideline… per the Florida fish and wildlife conservation commission.
Closest living relative – Elephant & Hyrax
Fossil records – Date back 45 – 50 million years, Oldest fossil found to date was is in Jamaica.
The word manatee – is a Caribbean word meaning breast.
Average length – 9 – 11.5 ft.
Average weight – 450 – 1200 pounds
Average lifespan in the wild – 30 yrs (FWC)
Diet – Herbivores, they eat 60 different plant species with sea grass being their major food source. Normally they eat 10 to 15% of their body weight in food a day. In order to accomplish this, they may graze up to 7 hours a day.
Intestines – A full grown manatee can have up to 50 ft of intestines to digest the course plants they eat. It take 7 days for their food to pass through the intestines. The manatee also produces massive amounts of gas which produces massive, repeated… manatee farts. Researchers claims this helps the manatee with ballast. Be on the lookout for small bubbles coming from the manatees!
Low metabolic rate – Manatees lack the insulating body fat to keep them warm, and they can’t survive in prolonged exposure to water temperatures at or below 68 degrees.
Swim – Manatees are very agile. They can swim up to 20 mph in short bursts, however they usually swim 2-3 mph. They can dive and stay submerged up to 20 minutes while resting, and 4-5 minutes on the move.