1. Orlando: 3-Hour Manatee Encounter by Kayak
Blue Springs State Park outside Orlando is home to the largest spring on the St. Johns River and a designated national manatee refuge. On this 3-hour excursion your group will paddle to the entrance of the spring run, park the kayaks, and then walk the entire length of the spring run with a guide to spot and photograph the native wildlife. Afterwards you’ll retrieve your kayak and paddle to the Snake River or Hontoon Island. The Hontoon Island area of the river is packed with manatees, otters, and sun-worshipping gators. Overhead bald eagles, ospreys, and red shoulder hawks scan the water and marshes for their next meal. On the riverbank, large wading birds, coots, morehens, and the occasional wild hog can be seen. There’s a nature trail on the island that leads to an ancient Indian shell mound. The park is noted for its large owl population and extensive Indian artifacts including the state’s largest totem pole.