Things to do in Crystal River

Our most recommended things to do in Crystal River

Homosassa: Gulf of Mexico Airboat Ride and Dolphin Watching

1. Homosassa: Gulf of Mexico Airboat Ride and Dolphin Watching

Glide through the saltwater marshes and shallow waters of the Homosassa River and Gulf of Mexico aboard a powerful airboat. Look for bottlenose dolphins and other wildlife in their natural habitat to reconnect with nature. Feel the speed beneath you as you twist and turn through the mangroves, canals, and backwaters. Access areas that other boats can't reach and encounter abundant wildlife off the beaten path. Marvel as your US Coast Guard Captain and guide safely pilots the boat at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Get an adrenaline rush as you traverse the waterways and soak up the natural beauty on all sides. Every day is different when it comes to the wildlife, but a morning ride is highly recommended if you hope to encounter animals in the wild. The diverse birdlife will truly amaze you, while West Indian manatees can sometimes be seen on a good day.

Crystal River, Florida: 3-Hour Swim with Manatees

2. Crystal River, Florida: 3-Hour Swim with Manatees

Get back to nature and discover the home of the world’s largest population of endangered manatees in the winter on an adventure to Three Sisters Springs. Get the chance to interact with the curious, gentle giants in their natural habitat.  Learn all about the animals in a classroom-type setting and get tips for your snorkel tour to make the most of your day. Hear about "passive interaction" that ensures that the animals enjoy the experience just as much as you do! Then, journey to the estuary with a Coast Guard captain aboard a covered pontoon boat. Marvel at the wildlife around you, and get up close to the sea cows as they move slowly through the water. Head back to base camp to visit the one-of-a-kind gift shop and purchase unique souvenirs. Get tips on what to do in the Kings Bay area, along with directions from the well-informed staff to other local attractions and restaurants.

Crystal River Small Group Swim with Manatee Tour

3. Crystal River Small Group Swim with Manatee Tour

Swim with manatees in the spring-fed King’s Bay Wildlife Refuge in Crystal River, home to the world’s largest population of the endangered creatures during the winter. Encounter these gentle giants in their natural habitat. Benefit from the services of a Coast Guard certified captain and in-water educator and photographer. Learn about the animals in a classroom-type setting and get tips to make the most of your day. Hear about passive interaction to make sure that the animals enjoy the experience just as much as you do! Then, suit up and board a covered pontoon boat to immerse yourself in the manatees' world. Be treated like royalty aboard the boat and see the wildlife refuge in style. Return to the facility at the end of your adventure and visit the one-of-a-kind gift shop! Hear about other local attractions and restaurants, and get answers to any questions you may have before you depart.

Orlando: Manatees Swim, Snorkel and Boat Day Tour

4. Orlando: Manatees Swim, Snorkel and Boat Day Tour

Swim and snorkel with one of the sea's most gentle creatures, the endangered Florida manatee, and take an exhilarating airboat ride. Head to the picturesque Crystal River – home to the endangered “gentle giant of the sea,” the Florida manatee – where you can choose to snorkel or swim. Have a chance to interact with these beautiful creatures if you’re lucky. Have some lunch, and then enjoy a fully-narrated airboat ride. Learn more about this southern state's wildlife from the knowledgeable tour guide.

Orlando: Manatee Encounter, Snorkeling, and Airboat Ride

5. Orlando: Manatee Encounter, Snorkeling, and Airboat Ride

Snorkel thorugh marine life in the Crystal Rive on this day trip from Orlando. Ride in a comfortable and airconditioned bus to Homosassa Springs State Park for a guided visit. Find out about manatees and go for an airboat ride on the Withlacoochee River. In the morning, head out to the beautiful Crystal River area to start your snorkeling adventure. Explore the river and admire unique wildlife in its natural habitat. Learn about the magnificent manatee and have the opportunity to see them up close. Next is a guided visit to the Homosassa Springs State Park. Discover local wildlife, including the endangered Florida panther, black bears, red wolves, bobcats, alligators, and more. Learn about the park’s manatee rehabilitation program and stop at an underwater observatory built over the mouth of a spring. Enjoy a packed lunch before heading to the Withlacoochee River, to end your day with an exciting airboat ride. Ride through this area which is another natural haven, where you can see more local wildlife. Feel the thrill of skimming over the water with an exhilarating trip in a flat-bottomed boat.

Orlando: Swim with Manatees and Homosassa State Park Visit

6. Orlando: Swim with Manatees and Homosassa State Park Visit

The gentle manatees of the Crystal River await your arrival on this delightful day-long tour where you can swim with these curious creatures. Your day will begin with complimentary pickup from one of the key meeting points in Orlando, Kissimmee, Lake Buena Vista and Disney. You will then be whisked away to the picturesque Crystal River. Crystal River is home to the curious and endangered manatee. Also known as Sea Cows, these creatures are most definitely the gentle giants of the marine world. Here you have the chance to snorkel or swim in the clear blue waters. Manatees are curious creatures and will often come to greet those who choose to snorkel or swim. They may even roll over to be tickled! Those who prefer to stay above water may wish to simply sit back, relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. After lunch at your own expense, you will visit the beautiful Homosassa State Park, one of Florida’s best kept secrets. There, enjoy the chance to see many of Florida’s endangered species, such as the state panther, and watch the manatees again from an underwater viewing chamber. Fun, relaxed and light-hearted, this day-long tour and swim with the manatees is the perfect tour choice for the whole family!

Homestead: Guided Manatee Snorkeling Tour in Kings Bay

7. Homestead: Guided Manatee Snorkeling Tour in Kings Bay

Discover the joy of swimming with the Florida manatee, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee on this guided riverboat tour. Choose from a tour option with or without a tasty breakfast. Enjoy drinks like coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and bottled water on your day trip.  Be picked up from your accommodation in Homestead and relax on the transfer to the riverboat. Hop on board and cruise out to where the manatees are most active. Listen to a tutorial on passive observation and how to get the best experience during the tour. Use the changing facilities to put on the included wetsuit, mask, and snorkel. Get into the water for some face-to-face interaction with manatees. Have help from your guides to ensure you have the best chance of interacting with these gentle giants. Take home some memories with help from you in-water guide who be taking videos and pictures of your manatee experience, which are available for purchase once you return to the dive shop.

Other Sightseeing Options in Crystal River

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What people are saying about Crystal River

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 499 reviews

Irish Dave was our guide and he was great. We had a good time and he explained why the gulf water was so clear and how it helps the coast. He also talked about the mangroves and how they help the environment. He was very informative. Dave even did a u-turn when he spotted a mamma manatee and her calf so we could all see them - and then he talked a bit about the manatees and how to spot them. This was our first air boat ride and it was great!

All very professional but also friendly. Fantastic experience, most amazing birthday present for me, would recommend this trip to all people who love and respect our wildlife. Saw a mother and baby which was the high light and having the guide take pictures makes it a memory to treasure. Don’t mind that there are few facilities for changing but it Would be nice to have more than one toilet there.

Wonderful guide. Learned so much about the importance of the waters that protect the coast - Saw marine life and the operator made sure we hung around long enough to get good photos. This is an experience I will look forward to sharing with me family each year.

Our guide Dave and captain Troy delivered an amazing experience! Although out of season we saw a nursing calf and interacted with a number of manatees. It was all we hoped it would be. I would definitely recommend the small group experience. Thank you

Irish Dave did a great job! Our airboat ride was excellent. We would do it again!