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Where to See Manatees Near Lely Resort

Florida is renowned for its unique ecosystems and incredible biodiversity. One animal is genuinely emblematic of sunny Florida – the beloved manatee! Here’s everything you need to know to see a majestic manatee while you’re staying in one of our Lely Resort pool rentals.

About Manatees

Often lovingly referred to as a “sea cow,” this large, gentle creature is actually a distant relative of the elephant. They have gray-brown thick, wrinkled skin and whiskered, walrus-like faces. They live in shallow water, moving slowly along shallow grass using a paddle-like tail and two forearms, or flippers. Their diet consists mostly of submerged vegetation found in the grass beds that grow in Florida’s waterways. The creatures are so harmless, humans can even swim alongside them!

Humans, however, have proven to be a major threat to manatees. Because manatees are mammals, they must surface for air very frequently, making them vulnerable targets for boat propellers. Manatees were once endangered, but they are now enjoying a relative rebound in population size as a result of conservation efforts. 

Why Manatees Come to Florida

Manatees thrive in warmer climates, and they depend upon the steady food supply found in warmer waters. They migrate with the changing seasons to Southern Florida (especially spots like the Everglades National Park) most often in the winter months. They leave again in the summer to avoid extreme heat. Mid-November to March is the best time of year for spotting manatees. Huge herds of 700 to 800 individuals will often travel together and can be spotted in the Naples area during this time. 

Manatee Eco-Tours

Spotting a manatee is one of the highlights of any Florida vacation! To see these incredible creatures up close, consider an eco-adventure tour. These tours are careful to keep boat speed to a minimum to avoid causing any harm to manatees. Experienced captains know precisely how to find manatees by searching for the infamous footprint they leave behind when they dive. During peak season, you are very likely to spot manatees. They are such friendly creatures that many times they will swim right next to the boat!

These 90-minute eco-tours will take you up the Faka Union Canal, which is part of Port of the Islands and 10,000 Islands – a truly breathtaking area. In addition to manatees, you may catch a glimpse of alligators, fish, dolphins, turtles, sharks, and the many unique bird species that inhabit the Florida Everglades. As part of the tour, you’ll get to learn more about mangroves and their essential contribution to Florida ecosystems. Morning, mid-day, and afternoon tours are all available.

Afternoon Tours: 2:30 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 4:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Manatee Park in Fort Myers

Manatee Park is the best place to look for manatees near Lely Resort. If you’re not part of an eco-tour, it is possible to rent kayaks and head out on the water independently. Optimum viewing months for manatees are late December, January, and February, when water temperatures are not too hot. 

Additional park amenities include:

  •  butterfly garden
  •  educational programs
  •  fishing
  •  gardens 
  • playgrounds
  •  restrooms
  • walking paths
  • wildlife viewing
  •  picnic areas

 Parking costs $2 per hour or $5 per day. The park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset daily. 

Plan Your Trip

After an exciting adventure searching for manatees, relax and unwind in your Lely Resort condo rental. We provide all the comforts of home and more, with ample and spacious interior spaces, full kitchens, large flatscreen TVs, and a beautiful private or community pool. Your Florida vacation will be unforgettable after seeing manatees and relaxing at luxurious Lely Resort!

Lakoya VI in Lely Resort

Lakoya VI in Lely Resort 

Lakoya is an exclusive enclave of homes and villas with a private gated entrance, sculptured landscaping, classical gardens, Bellagio-inspired fountains, and elegant paved walking paths. Here you will find unmatched style and sophistication. 


Caldecott in Lely Resort

Caldecott in Lely Resort

A very lovely and private (gated), pet-friendly, single-family, pool home in Caldecott. Yes, you will have it all! 


Signature Club in Lely Resort

Signature Club in Lely Resort 

This home is very elegant with a wonderful water view. Lely Resort is situated on 3,000 acres and offers 3 championship golf courses, running/walking trails, gorgeous lakes and preserves, and a grocery store/shopping center only minutes away.