Swim with Manatees and Other Adventures for the Whole Family | Discover Crystal River
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Family Fun Days: Combining Adventures for a Memorable Weekend with Crystal River Watersports

Florida's Nature Coast beckons water-loving families seeking a blend of excitement and relaxation amidst nature's wonders.

To simplify your planning, we've crafted a day-by-day itinerary for a weekend filled with captivating experiences that exemplify Crystal River's charm. From scalloping to mermaiding, swimming with manatees, scenic boat tours, and more, we’ll guide you through the top family-friendly adventures above, in, and under the water with Crystal River Watersports so you can get your feet wet before you dive in.

CatBoats docked at Crystal River Watersports.

Day 1: Adventures Above the Water

Drive a CatBoat in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge

Prepare to captain your CatBoat beginning with thorough instructions from your seasoned guide. Practice your new skills in their lagoon while you get familiar with the controls before departing at full speed (25 MPH). Check out various areas within the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and visit the famous Three Sisters Springs. These 2-person catamarans are like go-carts on water and offer a unique, dry perspective, bringing you close to wildlife without getting wet. This adventure is suited for families with children aged 6 and older.

Charter a Private Boat on a River Cruise Eco Tour

For a more relaxed pace, explore Crystal River, Indian River, and King’s Bay in a 6-passenger boat on this River Sightseeing Cruise. Take in the picturesque surroundings and keep an eye out for wild pigs, deer, river otters, dolphins, manatees, and a wide variety of birds including herons, egrets, hawks, eagles, osprey, spoonbills, and cormorants. Enjoy the freedom to bring snacks and drinks while your USCG-certified Captain shares insider secrets and recommendations.

Two girls laying in the water with mermaid tails on.

Day 2: Adventures in the Water

Swim with the Manatees on Florida’s Nature Coast

From November 15 to March 31, manatee season is in full swing with 500 to 1,000 manatees traveling to the area for its warm water refuge. However, manatee tours are offered year-round with up to 100 manatees remaining in the area during the warm summer months.

Dive in with Crystal River Watersports for an extraordinary day alongside these majestic creatures. Suitable for beginners, this adventure provides a respectful and close encounter with awe-inspiring manatees, creating lifelong memories for your entire family. You’ll learn the proper way to behave in the water, never approaching manatees and passively observing while allowing them the exciting opportunity to come to you! Trips include masks, snorkels, snorkeling vests, and wetsuits as well as an in-water guide equipped with an underwater camera to capture your family's unforgettable moments.

Learn How to Swim Like a Mermaid

Embark on the Scuba Schools International Try Mermaid course for an enchanting family experience. This introduction to the world of mermaids and mermen will teach you how to swim with a mermaid monofin. Discover what it’s like to be a mermaid in a confined water setting and earn an SSI Try Mermaid recognition rating. Dress in colorful mermaid tails and let your imagination run wild as you explore a magical new realm. Ideal for adults and children aged 6 and older, this activity adds a touch of fantasy to your family vacation.

A group of people underwater scuba diving in clear water.

Day 3: Adventures Under the Water

Dive for Dinner on a Scalloping Trip in the Gulf of Mexico

From July 1 - September 24, enjoy the thrill of scalloping in the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Suited for all ages, this 5-hour excursion is likened to a relaxing game of hide and seek in the shallow waters of the Gulf. Equipped with snorkeling gear, immerse yourself in the underwater world and search the seagrass beds for delectable treasures. An ideal family bonding activity, scalloping also connects your family with nature and provides a dinner-gathering challenge.

Discover Scuba Diving

Try scuba diving for the first time in a confined water setting with an experienced instructor by your side. This course includes an introduction to the necessary gear, scuba safety, and an online class before you arrive at the dive shop. When you’re ready, the instructor will lead you to the pool where you can take your time acclimating before taking your first underwater breaths! Warning: Your family may get hooked on scuba diving.

A family of three standing on a boat and holding up their bags of scallops.

Crystal River Watersports, a family-owned business with 20+ years of expertise, understands your family's needs and offers convenient amenities like on-site rentals and a dive shop with supplies and souvenirs. Your family is in capable hands, ensuring a trip that not only entertains but educates on ecosystem preservation and respectful marine life interaction.

Pack your hat, sunscreen, and camera for a weekend of bonding, laughter, and learning with Crystal River Watersports. Whether bagging scallops, donning mermaid tails, observing manatees, or cruising on a boat, your family is in for an unforgettable vacation exploring the wonders of Crystal River, Florida. Book your escape today and let the aquatic adventures begin!

*This blog post is sponsored by Crystal River Watersports


Crystal River Watersports

Welcome to Crystal River Watersports, your PADI 5-Star home for Eco Tours on Florida's Nature Coast. We offer a wide range of activities that can be combined for a full day or even a weekend of fun....