The warm, spring-fed waters around Homosassa very close to Sugarmill Woods are an extremely popular refuge for the endangered West Indian manatee. The springs and rivers allow the manatees to escape winter’s cold and serve as a place where many manatees come to mate, give birth and nurse their young. In winter months, the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is home to literally hundreds of manatees.
Even closer to Sugarmill Woods is the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Visitors can see West Indian manatees every day of the year from the park's underwater observatory in the main spring. The park showcases native Florida wildlife including manatees, black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles, and river otters. There are Manatee programs three times daily. The Wildlife Encounter programs feature, snakes, and other native animals. Recreational opportunities include picnicking, nature study, and bird watching. The park features a children's education center, providing hands-on experiences about Florida's natural environment.