Animal-lovers can have a truly magical moment at this National Wildlife Refuge. Wild manatees flock here from mid-November through late March and families can swim with a manatee to get a truly up-close-and-personal view of the gentle creatures. Snorkeling, diving, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking and more water activities can also be enjoyed year round.
The popular River Boat Tour at this state park offers visitors the chance to spot alligators lurking on the surface of the water or sunning themselves onshore. Lucky guests may also see a resident manatee if the season is right. Afterward, kids can dive and splash in the (gator free) swimming area. Adults will appreciate the historic lodge.
The spring pool is just over 200 feet deep, ideal for open-water diving. Of course, snorkeling and swimming also are options, and the spring has a floating dock and a diving platform. Boating, fishing, hiking and wildlife-viewing are also available.