In the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, not far from Orlando or Tampa, lives a herd of nearly 100 large and docile “sea cows” enjoying the year-round warm water temperatures. You can see them at their most active from December through to March.
Voyage edit: the best places to swim with aquatic animals
Swim with a group of wild Atlantic spotted dolphins only 50 nautical miles from Miami. “The more energetic we become, the more animated the dolphins are in their responses,” says the guide at Wild Dolphin Safari, whose adventures take place in waters of 5 to 10 metres.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to seven species of sea turtles, including the Hawksbill, which you can spot swimming throughout the year.
You can see these fascinating birds torpedoing through the water on nearly every snorkel or dive here. And, unlike many penguin habitats, the water in the Galápagos is fairly warm year-round.
Playful sea lion pups can be found in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez or the Galápagos, but a particularly picturesque spot to meet them is Marlborough Sounds, on the north-eastern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. Look further inland and you’ll spot puffins watching from the green hillsides too.