So you’ve made it to Fort Myers, Florida. Amazing, you’re at the center of so many cool things to do. Just one of which you heard about is kayaking with wild manatees. I know, amazing right? Adorable little sea potatoes just chilling comfortably, and you can go see them! So you Google “where to see manatees near me” in hops of finding a spot not too far from Fort Myers. Most of the famous manatee spots in Florida are 3+ hours away from Fort Myers, so you’re really hoping you’ll find where to see manatees in Fort Myers proper, vs. having to drive super far. And you’re going to luck out, because there are two AMAZING places you’re almost certain to see a manatee OR MANY.
The two main places for where to see manatees in Fort Myers, Florida are at Manatee Park and at Lovers Key State Park. Both are a short drive from almost anywhere in Fort Myers and you can spend hours hanging out with the manatees at each. I’m going to go into detail about each of the spots and also pick my favorite below, so ckeep reading if you only have time for one!
Surely you could guess by the name Manatee Park that there are manatees here. And with that very brave guess, you’d be right! This natural waterway is filled with these adorable creatures.
Whether you are aiming to kayak with manatees in Fort Myers, or simply see them from a responsible distance on-land, Manatee Park is your spot. You can bring a kayak, rent one for two hours and explore on your own, join a guided tour, or simply walk around the park to the overlooks and see them in their popular resting spots from above.
We opted for the two hour kayaking excursion and had a blast. There’s a lot of ground (water) you can cover here in two hours, but luckily no one is really timing you. Just be responsible and bring it back around the two hour mark.
Lovers Key State Park
There’s a lot you can do in Lovers Key State Park (including one of Fort Myers’ best sunsets) but I’ve got to say, the kayaking here is amazing. We saw fewer manatees here than at Manatee Park but there was significantly less kayak traffic and the manatees were more curious/likely to hang around a little bit. And even though we saw fewer manatees than at Manatee Park, we still probably saw 10.
Unlike Manatee Park, there’s nowhere to really see manatees outside of the water. So to get up close and personal, you’ll need to grab that kayak. And like Manatee Park, you can join a guided tour, simply rent a kayak, or bring your own.
So there you have it! If you want to see these adorable sea potatoes in person, these two parks are great spots where you can see manatees in Fort Myers. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out as always or check out my Florida highlights on Insta!