We are totally taking advantage of the three day Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend with a little family trip. We have wanted to camp at Manatee State Park in Florida for a while, but I did not realize how hard it would be to book a campsite. We were way too late in our planning to secure a campsite so we decided to stay in a little Inn on Cedar Key, a tiny island off the coast. The trip was amazing! Cedar Key is tiny and remote. We biked the whole island over and over again. We sat and watched amazing sunsets together and gorged ourselves on the best donuts ever! It is a quaint little fishing town where everyone knows everyone and no one locks their doors. We loved it!
We spent one day at Manatee State Park. This was super fun! The park is part of the protected warm springs area in Florida. The water stays in the mid seventies year round so the manatees swim in during the cold winter months to keep warm. Unfortunately it has not been cold enough yet this year for them to be in the springs. We did rent a canoe and got to see two manatees migrating from the river towards the springs. It was so awesome! We sat in the canoe and just watched the first one we spotted for a good 30 minutes. The water from the springs to the river is crystal clear so he was easy to spot and watch. The second one we spotted was cruising out of the channel from the springs back to the river. We canoed right along side him for a few minutes before he really took off. This was by far one of the coolest things we have done as a family.
After canoeing we changed and swam in the springs. The water is an amazing blue color and the the place where we were swimming was the opening to an underground cave system that goes 90 feet underground. There were a lot of scuba divers checking out the cave systems. They say when it gets really cold out there can be as many as 300 manatees huddled together in the springs where we were swimming!