Manatee Capital of the World
Nowhere else will you find more manatees in winter months than in Crystal River, Homosassa and the waters of Citrus County.
We’re the only place in the United States where you can legally swim with manatees and our guides are trained to make sure we treat this beloved threatened species with the utmost care and respect.
In March 2015, the State of Florida’s aerial survey found 6,063 manatees in Florida waters. Of those, over 1,000 manatees—fully one-sixth of the state’s entire population of manatees–was found here in the springs of Florida’s Citrus County.
Why so many manatees? Our epic springs, fed by the Florida aquifer, are the natural choice for manatees to seek warm water shelter when temperatures in Florida waters fall below 65 degrees (18C). In waters that cold, manatees experience cold stress and even hypothermia. Springs are the natural sheltering choice for manatees since the springs have a constant temperature of 72 to 74 degrees (22-23C).
Crystal River’s Kings Bay has over 70 springs feeding out more than 600 million gallons (2.25B Litres) of water a day. It’s a first magnitude Florida springs complex. Homosassa Spring, a second magnitude spring, produces over 50 million gallons and is the source of the Homosassa River. Nearby, the Chassahowitzka River is also dotted with springs.
Where there are lots of springs, there are lots of manatees. Even in summer, when the water is much warmer, we still have hundreds of manatees here to see.
There are options for everyone to see manatees in their natural environment, from swimming with manatees to Kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding, to visiting the incredible boardwalks at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River and the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa.