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Crystal River is the manatee capital of the world.

In 2015, a survey of Florida’s manatee population found 1,000 of the state’s 6,000 manatees here. And, it’s the only place in Florida where you can legally swim with manatees – an experience you’ll never forget!

Why so many manatees? It all comes down to the abundance of crystal-clear springs that feed our rivers including seventy springs in Crystal River’s Kings Bay alone. Visit or swim in spectacular Three Sisters Springs where hundreds of manatees gather in winter or see them anytime at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park’s underwater observatory.

Afterwards, feast on freshly-caught seafood in one of our seaside villages. Enjoy the night-life in the pubs and restaurants of historic downtown Inverness. It’s a cycling paradise, too, with the 46-mile long Withlacoochee State Trail winding through one picturesque village after another under a shaded canopy of moss draped oaks alive with the sound of birds.

This is real Florida: really fun, really friendly, really wild, and without the traffic – really! You won’t miss out on the Florida Resort Experience either. Stay in comfort and style at the world-class Plantation on Crystal River. With a 36-hole golf-course, a top-rated restaurant, and manatee, fishing and kayak tours leaving hourly from the Plantation Adventure Center, there’s plenty to do. Or if you just need to relax, check into the day Spa or lounge about the waterfront pool and Tiki Bar. You’ll feel wonder again in Crystal River, Florida.

Top 5 Experiences

  • Swim with manatees: The Crystal River region attracts more manatees each winter than any other place in Florida and it’s the only place you can swim with manatees. Tours take place year-round but the largest numbers of manatees are between November and March.
  • Kayak and paddle-board Florida Springs: Florida’s springs defy imagination – crystal-clear waters welling up from beneath the earth in white sandy coves. Paddle and plunge in the Chassahowitzka River’s incredible Seven Sisters Springs or scuba dive in underwater caves in Crystal River’s King Spring.
  • Scalloping: An underwater Easter Egg Hunt in the Gulf of Mexico! Snorkel in warm water above shallow grass beds teeming with starfish, sponges and wonderful neon blueeyed scallops. Take them back into town where local chefs specialize in cooking up delicious meals with your catch. June to September.
  • Airboat Rides: A flight of fancy beyond compare. Fly over the waters of the spring-fed Withlacoochee River in these quintessential Florida boats. See wildlife including alligators and limpkins and enjoy the ride.
  • Withlacoochee State Trail: Bicycle through quaint towns in the Tsala Apopka Lakes Region. Quaint towns, fresh Florida fruit stands, and wonderful food choices all along the way.

Sightseeing & Tours

  • Swim with Manatees – Swim with manatees in the Kings Bay Manatee Refuge or take a boat cruise on the river. A great activity for adults and children alike, encounter these friendly, gentle giants in their natural environment. From £43pp.
  • Private Manatee Tour – Encounter manatees on a private 3-hour tour for your family and friends! An experienced guide will introduce you to these gentle giants in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge for an experience you'll never forget. From £61pp.
  • Airboat Adventure and Dolphin Tour – Lookout for alligators, birds and dolphins as you take a trip on an airboat around Homosassa's backwater. Hold on tight! From £32pp.

Key Attractions

  • Kings Bay Manatee Refuge in Crystal River
  • Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Homosassa
  • Withlacoochee State Recreation Trail, Inverness
  • Crystal Rier Archaeology State Park, Crystal River