Crystal River Destination Info
The most manatees anywhere, period.
In February 2018, the State of Florida’s Department of Fish and Game’s aerial survey found 6,131 manatees in Florida waters. Of those, one-sixth were found in one place: the waters of Crystal River’s Citrus County. Nowhere else in the world is there a greater number of manatees present in winter months.
The only place you can swim with manatees.
Crystal River’s Citrus County is the only place in North America where you can legally swim with manatees. Our guides are certified to make sure we treat this beloved threatened species with the utmost respect by using responsible passive observation techniques approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Epic Swimmable Springs
Kings Bay: With over 70 springs, a first magnitude springs complex.
Three Sisters Springs: This world renowned manatee spring in Crystal River is part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and Kings Bay Manatee Refuge.
Homosassa Spring: First magnitude Homosassa Spring draws hundreds of manatees to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
Chassahowitzka River: First magnitude springs in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, surrounded by lush Florida greenery.
Withlacoochee State Trail: 46 mile-long paved recreation & bicycle trail. One of the greatest triumphs of the Rails-to-Trails movement in the USA.
Withlacoochee State Forest: Voted one of The Ten Coolest Places You’ve Never Been in North America by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and home to the very rare red-cockaded woodpecker.
Crystal River Preserve State Park: With the gritty Seven-Mile Loop and Eco-Walk trails, it’s a hiker, mountain biker & birder’s paradise filled with all that is wild in Florida.
Diving for Scallops in Summer
In the warm summer months, manatees head out to the Gulf of Mexico and the Big Bend and Saint Martins Marsh Seagrass Preserve, one of the largest seagrass beds in North America. Swimmers head there too, drawn by the delectable Florida Bay Scallop. Diving for scallops—July through September-- is an unforgettable fun family adventure in one of the most incredible ocean environments on earth.
There are endless choices for kayaking, paddle-boarding, and canoeing with seven rivers, a chain of fresh water lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, and an intricate world of islands, marshes, and mangroves. Local rental establishments can help you start your adventure.
We are among the oldest Sport Fishing centers of Florida, with the Atlanta Homosassa Fishing Club and Homosassa Guides Association dating back a hundred years or more. American baseball legend Ted Williams retired here just to fish! Here, you always come back with your catch and many of our restaurants are happy to cook it up for you.
Welcoming Small Towns
Crystal River: One of the top centers of Florida eco-tourism with over 45 permitted guide operators and a world-class resort at The Plantation on Crystal River. There are plenty of hotel and food choices for a fraction of the cost of Tampa Bay, Miami, and Orlando.
Homosassa: Historic fishing village with ties to old Florida food and customs featuring the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Homosassa Riverside Resort, and the rustic MacRae’s of Homosassa resort.
Inverness: A thriving historical downtown provides a walkable nightlife setting on the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes and Withlacoochee State Trail.
Floral City: Quintessential old Florida with streets lined by elegant oaks draped in Spanish moss. Fresh-fruit from our orchards and farms can be had in abundance here. Also on the Withlacoochee State Trail. Crystal River & Citrus County is 1 hour and 15 minutes north of Tampa International Airport and just 1 hour and 45 minutes west of Orlando International by car.
Links to sample 3 day Itineraries: https://share.citrusbocc.com/index.php/s/Yakn7eX8gnSmjbQ?path=%2FPhotos
Link to photo library: https://share.citrusbocc.com/index.php/s/Yakn7eX8gnSmjbQ?path=%2FPhotos
Link to video library: https://share.citrusbocc.com/index.php/s/Yakn7eX8gnSmjbQ?path=%2FVideo
Winter Months Prime Time to Swim with Manatees and Dive at Plantation on Crystal River
A hidden gem along Florida’s Nature Coast, the Plantation on Crystal River has created two winter packages giving guests the chance to swim with the West Indian Manatee in Crystal River, Fla., the only location in North America where you can legally swim and interact with these sea cows in the wild.
Starting at $274 for two guests, the one night Swim with the Manatees package* includes:
• Accommodations in a garden view room
• Manatee snorkeling tour for two from the Plantation Adventure Center with all equipment needed (mask, snorkel and wetsuit).Tours leave directly from the on-property dock at Plantation Adventure Center & Dive Shop and provide hot chocolate and coffee on the enclosed boats and a hot shower facility for those guests who already checked out or snorkelers not staying at the resort.
• Breakfast for two at West 82⁰ Bar & Grill
• Welcome bag with plush manatee toy, fun facts and manatee interaction guidelines.
If guests would like to add a little more adventure and an additional night to their getaway, the resort is also offering a two-night Adventure Center package*. In addition to all the amenities from the Manatee package, guests receive an additional night and additional breakfast. A dinner at West 82⁰ Bar & Grill is also included, as well as a choice of a guided tour for two to one of Florida's most pristine rivers and fourth largest spring system in Florida, Rainbow River, all-day kayak rental, guided sunset kayak tour or guided kayak sunrise tour. The Adventure Center package starts at $549 for two people.
Manatee tours are offered year-round at Plantation’s Adventure Center & Dive Shop, headquarters for Florida’s best spring dives, but in the winter time guests are more than likely to see these gentle giants. During prime manatee viewing season, which usually runs from Oct.1-Mar. 31 depending on temperatures, guests will experience the truly unique travel adventure of swimming among hundreds of manatees as they play, eat, and socialize with one another. The manatees enjoy the year-round 72⁰F waters of Florida's second largest spring system – relatively warm considering manatee season is in the winter.
For more information about Plantation on Crystal River resort or Adventure Center & Dive Shop, visit PlantationonCrystalRiver.com or call 800-632-6262.
Plantation on Crystal River - *Based on double occupancy. Rate includes Sunday-Thursday stays. Resort fee additional. Call for weekend pricing. Water view, patio rooms, Junior suites and golf villas are available for an additional charge. Additional nights and people sharing room are available for additional charge. Rates subject to availability. Taxes and gratuities not included.
About Plantation on Crystal River
The eco-friendly Plantation on Crystal River is surrounded by the natural springs of King’s Bay and more than 25,000 surface acres of pristine lakes and rivers, as well as wildlife refuges and state parks. On site, the Plantation features a full-service family-oriented dive and tour operation marina, 12,000 square feet of meeting and event space, 18-hole golf course, 9-hole executive course, Aveda spa, delectable dining and inviting accommodations. Guests have the unique opportunity to swim with the manatees, rent a pontoon or Jon boat, relax by the riverfront pool, enjoy a game of croquet on the manicured lawn, or hire a guided fishing charter. With more than 1,600 feet of seawall, overnight guests can tie up their boats at any of over 80 spaces. A golf school and SCUBA certification classes are also available to guests of the hotel.
Link to Plantation on Crystal River images: https://share.citrusbocc.com/index.php/s/Yakn7eX8gnSmjbQ?path=%2FPlantationCR_Resort
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