Atypical Adventures in Crystal River, FL | Discover Crystal River

Atypical Adventures in the Sunshine State

One of the Only Places in the World Where Vacationers can Swim Alongside the Threatened Florida Manatee

Discover Crystal River, Florida is known as the Manatee Capital of the World due to the large Florida manatee populations that concentrate in the area from January to March each year. Visitors who yearn for an unforgettable adventure with an up-close animal encounter in a natural habitat will want to make room for a visit to Crystal River for their upcoming Florida vacation.

swimming with the manatees

Beyond an exhilarating experience swimming alongside the endangered Florida manatee — one of the only places in the world where vacationers can legally do so - vacationers may also want to explore the destination for additional adventures that reveal slices of Florida that are not usually associated with the Sunshine State. A few expeditions to consider:


Crystal River Archaeological State Park – A national historic landmark dating back to the time before Europeans arrived in the Americas. This 61-acre state park has burial mounds, temple mounds and an incredible view of Florida’s Crystal River. For 1,600-years people traveled great distances to bury their dead and conduct trade at this commanding spot on the Gulf of Mexico. The park is testament to extensive networks of trade, culture and commerce in pre-Columbian North America.


Fort Island Gulf Beach – A ten-minute ride from Crystal River, this intimate beach is like having a private getaway. The beach is small with native plants, birds and animals including dolphins and black skimmers. A food truck is usually onsite to provide nourishment for hungry swimmers and smaller children can enjoy the grassy playground area and easy access to the fishing pier. Fort Island Gulf Beach is perfect for families with young children or couples who want a reprieve from Florida’s jam-packed beaches.


Withlacoochee State Forest – If solitude, quiet walks, and inspiring scenery are on your list of vacation experiences, Withlacoochee State Forest is worth a stop. The Forest was named one of the “10 Coolest Places You’ve Never Been in North America” by the World Wildlife Fund. It’s also the third largest state forest in Florida with miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. An often overlooked aspect of the park are the unique caves that can be found in the Citrus Tract. Please be respectful of these caves as they do house bats and other wildlife!


Discover Crystal River, is the only place in the United States where travelers can legally swim with manatees. With more manatees than anywhere else in Florida, it’s The Manatee Capital of the World. The area is also home to pristine swimmable springs, endless bicycling, walking, birding and hiking trails. There are numerous choices for kayaking, paddle-boarding and canoeing as seven rivers, a chain of lakes, islands, marshlands and mangroves create the ideal environment for a day on the water. It is a wonderful choice for those who relish fresh-caught seafood. Summer is scallop season, fall is blue crab season and spring and fall usher in seasonal fishing seasons. The area is becoming known as a top choice for eco-travelers. Visit online or call 800.587.6667. Like us on Facebook, post a photo to our Instagram page or Tweet us!

Miles Saunders
Media Relations
Office: (352) 794-5506
Mobile: (352) 586-9206


Discover Crystal River
Official Guide to Crystal River in Citrus County, Florida

A National Historic Landmark, this 61-acre Native American ceremonial site was active and abandoned before Europeans ever arrived in the Western Hemisphere. It consists of burial mounds,...

Fort Island Gulf Beach includes a sandy beach, fishing and sightseeing pier, a boardwalk connecting the beach and the pier, and a boat ramp. The site includes bathrooms, outdoor showers, covered...