Seeing manatees in their natural habitat
None really, just don't stay for too many days or you might get bored.
Our first experience of living the SNOBIRD life was fun
Crystal River Springs is a town that is not given the attention it deserves. It is a part of Florida that every local should experience. It is a small town with a uniqueness no other state has to offer. Crystal clear water, vast amounts of fish, bright blue private grotto spring that is TEEMING with manatees in the winter months. I did a dive back...more
the coastal heritage museum is located in the old crystal river city hall. the old city hall was built in 1939 and is listed on the national register of historic places. the coastal heritage museum is part of the citrus county historical society based in the old citrus county courthouse in inverness. an interesting place to visit in the crystal...more
this interesting state park is located on the crystal river near the town of crystal springs. the first native americas to visit this site was the deptford culture around 500BC. these people were hunter-gathers and did not have a highly developed social society. around 300AD the deptfords were replaced by the weedon island culture. the weedon...more
crystal river preserve state park is located near crystal river archaeological state park just north of the town of crystal river. this sixty one acre park has saved a large section of the crystal river from developement. crystal river reserve offers hiking, fishing, and canoeing. a great place to see florida wildlife.more
pictured is a stele at the crystal river state archaeological state park. steles are ceremonial rocks that were placed here about 440AD. this stele has two eyes and a mouth carved into it. a cache of small stones, animal bones, and charcoal was found at it's base.more
pictured is burial mound F. this mound is 20 feet high and has a diameter of 70 feet. the dead were buried with their personal possessions such as jewelry, tools, and pottery. copper earrings were found at the site that indicated trade with indians as far away as ohio.more
Each year thousands of visitors flock to the Park to see manatees close up. This park is one of Florida's most treasured destination spots on 180-acres at the headwater of the Homosassa River. The park houses manatees which are unable to return to the wild due to injuries-usually due to motor boat propellers. There have been 2 recent manatee births...more
Just got back from a wonderful visit to my inlaws in Inverness, Florida. There were so many neat and interesting things to do while we were there but the most exciting thing by far was a trip to swim with the Manatees. What a wonderful experience it was to snorkel with these gentle creatures up close. There are several outfitters in town that offer...more
What an incredible experience! The first manatee we saw was so friendly. We swam with him for 20-25 minutes. He swam right over to us and was very curious. I took lots of pictures, got to pet him and get an up close look at manatees in the wild.We also saw a few groups of mothers with their calves and a few others swimming by themselves. The first...more
there are three springs along the crystal river. the main spring is located downtown near hunter springs park. sadly the spring is surrounded by condos and apartments so there is no public access. you can reach the spring by boat or you can swim to it from hunter park. also there are tour operators that will take you to the spring. the main spring...more
There are lots and lots of companies offering tours. They pretty much all go to the same place. I literally saw just about every tour parked side by side and you all swim in the same area regardless of how much you paid.The real differences I can see:-Homosassa River or Crystal River-Does the Guide help you spot manatees-What time does the tour...more
There must be dozens of places in Crystal River to take you on a snorkel/scuba tour with the Manatees, but this one really pleased us. For $15 (off season) plus equipment rental as needed, we were out for about three hours with a knowledgeable, friendly guide. They've been around for many years, and their experience and expertise shows.more
1203 NE 5th Street, Crystal River, Florida, 34429, United States
Good for: Solo
9301 W Fort Island Trl, Crystal River, FL 34429
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
This is a good place to stay. Rooms are nice and clean. Hotel is in good condition. It's close to...more
charle's fish house is a very good seafood restaurant just north of downtown crystal river on US19. good local seafood selection moderately priced.
439 Reviews and Opinions
The Crystal River-Homosassa Springs area is located equi-distance between Orlando and Tampa, Florida. I think it is easier to fly into Tampa as Orlando is usually full of conventioneers and tourists to Disneyworld/Epcot. I arrive at the Tampa International Airport where I rented a car and drove south on the Suncoast Parkway Toll Road. Driving on the Toll Road is much faster than taking the Hwy. 98 to Hwy 19 route.
The total driving time from Tampa Airport to Crystal River was approx 1 hour. You do need a car to drive around in Crystal River-Homosassa Springs.
This shop which is located in the Best Western Motel in Crystal River probably has the largest selection of manatee items in the area.
What to buy: Manatee souvenirs
I love trying interesting meats as I travel so I was happy to see Alligator Tail on some menus in the area. The tail came as little nuggets, not a whole strip of meat that I expected. The taste was pretty good, kind of like chicken. It definitely makes a nice appetizer and is well worth trying!We tried it at a restaurant named Clawdaddy'smore
The Homosassa River is premium manatee viewing with the Crystal River being the second choice. I spent 3 nights in Crystal River so I booked manatee snorkel tours with 2 different companies - both excellent.The reputable manatee tour companies do not allow you to swim after the manatees - they must approach you and you cannot swim after them. The...more
Favorite thing: Swimming with the manatees in the spring-fed waters around Crystal River was an amazing experience! I would recommend "Birds Underwater" Dive Shop and you might want to stay at the Plantation Inn, a real "old Florida" hotel that is very nice and near the dive shop. It is right on the water and even has a heated swimming pool. And for breakfast, try Grannies, at the entrance to the Inn----good food at reasonable prices. A final tip: take a change of clothes and a few towels with you on the boat and most of all, enjoy :")))))