Dive into the Magic of Manatee Season: A Family-Friendly Guide to Crystal River and Homosassa Adventures

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Hey adventurous families! If you’re looking for a unique and educational getaway with your kids, Crystal River and Homosassa in Florida are calling your name. This winter and spring, these destinations become the playground for the West Indian Manatees during their annual migration. During Manatee Season, which lasts until March 31, you and your family can experience the wonders of these gentle giants in their natural habitat and get to swim with the manatees.

Things to do in Crystal River with Kids

Here are five family fun ways to make the most of your visit to the Manatee Capital of the World:

swim with the manatees

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1) Make a Splash with a Manatee Swim

Crystal River and Homosassa, known as the Manatee Capital of the World, offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for your family to swim with the manatees. This is an amazing experience, that we highly recommend. We swam with the manatees a couple years ago and it definitely one of our top ever experiences. There are many local guides that you can go out with. If possible, we would recommend a private or small tour so you have more time with the manatee.

2) Stroll the Three Sisters Springs Boardwalk

Explore the world-renowned Three Sisters Springs with a leisurely walk along the boardwalk. This one-acre springs complex provides breathtaking views of crystal-clear waters and the resident manatees. Paddlers can also get up close in kayaks or canoes, following the sanctuary guidelines established during Manatee Season.

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3) Discover Wildlife at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a must-visit for families. While exploring Florida’s native wildlife, you can witness manatees from an underwater observatory called “The Fish Bowl.” Boat tours along Pepper Creek offer additional opportunities to spot these gentle giants in their natural habitat.

4) Soar High with Right Rudder Aviation

For the more adventurous families, embark on an aerial tour with Right Rudder Aviation. Witness the magic of Manatee Season from a bird’s eye view as the manatees gather in the warm springs. These unique tours, conducted in a historic 1946 Piper Cub, are based in nearby Inverness.

5) Dive into Mermaid Magic

Explore the centuries-old fascination with mermaids at Mertailor’s Mermaid Aquarium Encounter. Your family can interact with sea creatures in touch tanks and enjoy daily mermaid shows in a 15,000-gallon Caribbean Saltwater Aquarium. For aspiring merfolk, Crystal River Watersports offers monofin swim lessons to live the mermaid experience.

Remember, during Manatee Season, certain areas are off-limits to protect the manatees. Stay informed with daily updates on sanctuary status by visiting the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page. Prepare for your adventure by learning your Manatee Manners online before your visit.

Where to Stay in Crystal River

Here are a few locations where you can stay during your time in the Manatee Capital of the World. One option is the Homosassa Riverside Resort, situated along the scenic Homosassa River, which offers comfortable accommodations and easy access to the area’s attractions. Another excellent choice is the Holiday Inn Express Crystal River, known for its convenient location and family-friendly atmosphere. If you prefer to stay in Tampa and drive to Crystal River, around a 1 hour drive,  check out the Westin Tampa Bay, which provides modern amenities and stunning waterfront views. Each of these hotels caters to the needs of families, ensuring a delightful stay while you explore the wonders of Crystal River and Homosassa Springs.

For more details on creating magical family memories in Crystal River and Homosassa, visit DiscoverCrystalRiverFL.com.

Images courtesy of Discover Crystal River


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