Attracted by the crystal clear caribbean warm water, I wanted to snorkel with the manatees, so we came to Manatee Springs State Park, Chiefland, FL. Unfortunately the manatees had other ideas and only one manatee showed up … and it was out by the Suwanee River, not up in the crystal clear tropical spring water.
And at the same time, a cold front came through and the weather, while sunny, turned very cool. SO somehow a campfire sounded better than snorkeling … even if the water was the prettiest that we’ve seen for awhile. Note: There were several scuba dive companies there conducting training dives – the one we observed was an advanced PADI course.
Being true to us, we just switched gears and took a 40 mile bike ride, hiked most of the 8 miles of trails in the State Park, enjoyed lots of wildlife – some right in our campsite and, of course, S’Mores over the campfire! Does life get better?
Our last day, we sipped coffee and contemplated putting the kayaks in the springs and paddling through the clear waters since it was too cool to snorkel comfortably. (There are a couple convenient kayak/canoe launch sites within a couple of miles.)
But then we talked to the rangers and hearing how much they loved the Nature Coast Bike Trail, we altered our plan. And ended up riding our bikes 40 miles up to the Suwanee River Railroad Bridge and back … previously our longest ride was 21 miles … obviously we temporarily lost our minds! But it was a great bike trail and a great ride. Note: You don’t have to ride 40 miles to get there — you can take your bikes to the Fanning Springs Trailhead and ride just 2-3 miles, on the most scenic part of the trail, to the bridge and an old trestle and then return.
Anyone else that actually snorkeled or scuba dove with the manatees? How was it, maybe we should consider a return trip during another time?