Want to swim with manatees? Here's your chance

Swimming with sharks may not be so appealing, but swimming with the manatees certainly is.

If you've always wanted to meet the ocean's most gentle giants, then dust off your snorkle and paddle down to Three Sisters Springs near Florida's stunningly clear Crystal River. 

The natural inlet is blocked off by concrete pillars that prevent boats from getting in (since they pose a risk to the manatees), but swimmers, canoers and kayakers are welcome between April and early November.

During the winter, the Springs are closed to humans to provide a sanctuary for the peaceful sea cows.

Manatees flock to the warmth of the springs (which usually stay around a balmy 72 degrees) during the colder months, which is why it's closed in the winter.

On chillier days, there can be up to 200 manatees at once. Even though the spring itself is closed, visitors can still view the sea beasts from outside the boundaries or from the viewing platform.

Future plans for the area include education kiosks, an environmental education center, and hiking/biking trails.

This story provided by Roadtrippers.com

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