Considering FL panhandle trip

week of 12/29-1/2, weather permitting, I’m considering the Blackwater River area, or Wacissa, maybe a little further south;would like to see some manatees. Anyone from this area that can give me some advice?



I paddle the wacissa and Wakulla
Never see any Manatees in the Wacissa, they can’t get up the Slave Canal.

I always see them in the Wakukla, have counted 16 in one trip, so,me may have been counted twice.

Some Good Advice
I can’t be of much help, having never paddled there, but I got some good advice recently when I asked about paddling in the Pensacola area:

I’ll be there next week, and can let you know what I find!


that you are unlikley to see manatess on the Wacissa, but you should plan a day trip or an overnighter anyway, It is a beautiful paddle. You may see manattes and will see gators on the Wakulla.

You might consider camping at Manatee Springs State Park in Chiefland, about 90 miles south of the two rivers you mention. Your paddling will be on the Suwannee, and you will definitley see manatees in the Spring run going in to the park.

If you wnat to go a bit further south, Crystal River and Homossassa River are great spots to see them.

Paddled the Blackwater
Nice paddle, 3 nights, 4 days. No whitewater, but a nice 2-3 mph current. White sand beaches around every bend seemed like. Didn’t see any Manatees though. Might have been too shallow for them.

The blackwater was a great trip
we did it in the winter - we were the only folks that we saw the entire weekend. we did a 3 day 2 night trip. no way you will see any manatees on that river but its worth exploring but if i had limited time i would paddle the suwanee first.

During the winter months you will not find manatees in Northwest Florida. A friend of mine goes to Crystal River to see the manatees just about every winter. Crystal River is in the West Central Florida Coast.


thanks all
Sorry I didn’t make my post clearer. I’ll be driving about 12 hours to get the NW FL from TX, and was trying to pick some nice rivers to paddle, which brought to mind the Blackwater area. Then a friend said the Wacissa was a great paddle,then a friend from Kissimmee said if I was driving all that way I had to see the manatees. I was actually asking about two separate plans, but got them kinda tied together. What is the farthest north and west I could see manatees?

I saw Manatees on Crystal River
last Sunday. We put in at King’s Landing and paddled less than a quarter of a mile and saw seven. We were on our way home from paddling at the Florida Rendezvous.

There are some great streams in the Panhandle. I’m a member of the West Florida Canoe and Kayak Club. I’m sure there would be several people willing to paddle with you while you are in our area.