Monday, July 25, 2011

Manatee Springs

You know, that you are not ready to go back to work, when you just came back from vacation and you are already researching the next possible trip. Labor Day weekend is not that far away anymore and let's see what the credit card reward points can get us! ;-)

In the meantime, let's reminiscent a little longer about the trip just completed.


Cedar Key is not mass tourism. People kept telling me, that it's the "old Florida". The town has a population of around 900 people b.t. (before tourists).... The pace is very relaxed. We wanted a relaxed vacation and that's easy to do there. We only did one half way trip off the island to visit the Manatee Springs State Park*.

*Okay, this is my best tourist tip ever: Talk to people! I know that by now, you can research everything and anything on the internet, but nothing beats reports of experiences from other tourists or what the locals have to say. The first day, I talked with the kayak rental guy (unfortunately, we didn't end up renting kayaks) for about 30 minutes and he gave be the scoop of the town and on another occasion, I talked to the husband of a lady that worked at the boat rental and he gave be that tip about Manatee Springs, otherwise I would have never known.

The Manatee Springs are a first magnitude spring and it produces an average 100 million gallons (say what?) of water per day. It gets it's name from the West Indian Manatees that swim up the river in winter to enjoy the warmer temps of the springs. The water is 72 degrees year round and on a hot Florida summer day, 72 degrees are heaven!!!

The springs are at the bottom of this pool and the water is crystal clear, so you can see the bottom easily. Where the water is actually pushed out, the pool drops to a depth of around 25 feet and when I say drop, I mean drop. I just swam along in maybe 5 feet of water, when suddenly the bottom drops into a deep blue hole. The pictures just don't do this justice.

Oh and when I say the water is being pushed out: You can't see the current when just standing on the shore, but in the water, you actually have to lean against the current to stay upright. It almost felt like swimming in one of those endless pools (aka swimmer's treadmill), you had to really paddle your little heart out to get somewhere, while when swimming back with the current, I was never faster in my life... It felt awesome!

Even days later, I am still talking about the water and how beautiful the whole setting was... We seriously discovered a gem there, I can only recommend visiting the springs if you are in the area.

PS: It's a state park, so there is a small fee to enter (6 bucks per car per day -> DEAL!)... They do a great job of keeping their facilities (bathrooms and showers) nice and clean.

1 comment: