Mardi Gras Celebration in New Smyrna Beach
Grand Opening of The Round Up in New Smyrna Beach (2016)

Visiting the Manatees while in the Daytona Beach area

If you are visiting the Daytona Beach area in the winter and you have a little extra time, you may want to go see the manatees in Orange City. Every winter, scores of people visit Blue Spring State Park, where they can see the manatees. It's a great time, a beautiful park, and worth the short trip over there!

From Daytona Beach, it's about a half an hour drive to the park, which is located at 2100 W. French Avenue in Orange City. The park is $6 per car to enter, and offers hiking, picnic tables, a playground, camping, kayaking, small gift shop/store, a snack stand, and an eco boat tour (which is worth taking, too!). 

The manatees seek refuge in the spring whenever the winter weather gets cold. So the colder the morning, the better, because you are likely to see even more of them. Last week when I went there, the count was 382 manatee in the spring, which is awesome. It's best to arrive early in the day, because by the time the afternoon rolls around the manatees begin to head out to the river to feed, and the park often reaches capacity. So plan to arrive early for best viewing.

Once you arrive, you can stroll along the boardwalk, stopping off at each of the lookout areas and docks to see the manatees. There are plenty of places to see them as you head back to the spring head overlook. There is also a short video that plays inside the canopy area near the concession stands. The video is all about manatees.

Here are some manatee pictures from my visits at Blue Spring State Park:

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