Located along central Florida’s “nature coast,” Crystal River, a part of Three Sisters Springs, is the quintessential destination for wildlife enthusiasts. A sanctuary for manatees, the beloved mammals are known to settle in the calm streams when the gulf’s waters change temperature. Crystal River is one of the few areas visitors can actually get into the turquoise, spring-fed springs and swim or snorkel with the fascinating giant manatees. Situated around King’s Bay, Crystal River is designated as an Outstanding Florida Waterway and is an amazing location for fishing, golfing and scalloping. Crystal River State Archaeological State Park, a National Historic Landmark, is one of the longest continually occupied sites in Florida and is a well-kept attraction for the area. The Crystal River mounds in the park are thought to be burial grounds for the indigenous tribes that historically settled the area.
Glass bottom boat tours in Crystal River are spectacular and exclusive to Crystal River’s clear waters. It is the only place in the country where one may personally experience manatees and scallops in their native habitats. The unspoiled spring water of Crystal River has a mystical allure, with Rainbow River nearby, a colorful eco paradise with a bubbling mineral gulf floor. Canoeing, kayaking, fishing and snorkeling are some of the best ways to maximize your experience of Crystal River.
With restaurants such as Vintage on 5th, Just A Cupcake and Dan’s Clam Stand, everything about Crystal River says intimate and personable; a true “hands-on” destination. Whether you’re an underwater adventurist, a manatee lover or a novice wildlife explorer, Crystal River has something for you.
Where To Eat:
Located in Crystal River’s downtown core, Vintage on 5th serves a variety of farm to table dishes with food friendly wines in a pine-wood, classic dining room.
What To Do:
For a reasonable fee, Paradise Boat Tours offers a three hour manatee snorkel tour, scalloping snorkel tour or glass bottom boat eco tour.
Where To Stay:
Plantation on Crystal River is a 50-year old traditional southern style hotel with golf villas, water view rooms and junior suites. Children 16 and under stay free.