Crystal River Travel Guide

  • Going up for air
    Going up for air
    by Tom_In_Madison
  • 2 sleeping manatees
    2 sleeping manatees
    by Tom_In_Madison
  • Crystal River
    by Tom_In_Madison

Crystal River Highlights

  • Pro
    maryellen50 profile photo

    maryellen50 says…

     Seeing manatees in their natural habitat 

  • Con
    MLW20 profile photo

    MLW20 says…

     None really, just don't stay for too many days or you might get bored. 

  • In a nutshell
    JudyinPA profile photo

    JudyinPA says…

     Our first experience of living the SNOBIRD life was fun 

Crystal River Things to Do

  • diving in 50 ft deep spring caverns

    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...

  • coastal heritage museum

    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...

  • crystal river archaeological state park

    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...

  • crystal river preserve state park

    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.

  • crystal river archaeological state park

    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.

  • crystal river archaelogical state park

    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.

  • crystal river archaeological state park

    pictured is one of two midden mounds at crystal river archaeological state park. these mounds consisited of oyster shells, fish bones, and pottery shards. these mounds were native american garbage dumps.

  • Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

    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...

  • Swim & Snorkel with the Manatees

    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...

  • Swim & snorkel with the manatees

    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...

  • crystal spring

    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...

  • hunter spring park

    hunter spring city park is the closest access to crystal springs. the park offers picnicking and a swimming area.

  • crystal river

    the beautiful crystal river is the main tourist attraction in the town of crystal river. the river originates from crystal spring in downtown crystal river and flows into the gulf of mexico. the river is famous for it's excellent fishing.

  • manatee tour

    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...

  • Crystal River Dive Center

    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.


Crystal River Hotels

Crystal River Restaurants

  • doug48's Profile Photo
    charle's fish house

    by doug48 Written Apr 13, 2008

    charle's fish house is a very good seafood restaurant just north of downtown crystal river on US19. good local seafood selection moderately priced.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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Crystal River Nightlife

  • irish pub

    burke's of ireland is a nice replica irish pub in downtown crystal river. good beer selection. casual.

  • Not the place for nightlife

    This is the place where you sleep at night after a long day swimming with the manatees or diving. With the exception of going to a restaurant there is very limited nightlife here - this is a primarily retirement community.

  • Crystal River Hotels

    9 Hotels in Crystal River

    493 Reviews and Opinions

Crystal River Transportation

  • Manatee

    by maryellen50 Updated Mar 6, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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Crystal River Shopping

  • More Manatees

    by maryellen50 Written Mar 6, 2003

    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

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    • Eco-Tourism

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Crystal River Off The Beaten Path

  • Try some Alligator Tail

    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's

  • So much nature everywhere

    The Gulf was about 10 miles from our location. The beach was not busy with tourists and liked just sitting next to the water and reading. There were four State Parks within 20 miles so we tried to visit all.

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Crystal River Sports & Outdoors

  • Snorkeling with Manatees!

    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...

  • Boat Tours in the area

    I did a sunset pontoon boat tour on the Homosassa River. It was a nice relaxing way to end the day. Another day I did the airboat ride to the Gulf of Mexico where we saw many birds. Jacket or windbreaker and camera

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Crystal River Favorites

  • gatorgirl's Profile Photo

    by gatorgirl Written Feb 1, 2005

    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 :")))))

    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling
    • Family Travel

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