“Bucket list” experience provides outdoor adventure of a lifetime
CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (Nov. 12, 2020) – In Crystal River, Florida, Sunday, Nov. 15, marks the official start of Manatee Season, when hundreds of the slow moving mammals make their way from the cooler winter waters of the Gulf of Mexico to pristine springs throughout the area. Known as the Manatee Capital of the World, the Crystal River area is home to an amazing network of springs along Kings Bay and the Homosassa River, where the waters remain a constant 72°F (23°C). It is also home to the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, the only refuge in the United States specifically created to protect critical habitats for the manatees. Crystal River and Homosassa are the only places in North America where swimmers can experience an up-close encounter with manatees in the wild, with an increased opportunity for more encounters during manatee season, which ends March 31, 2021.
“Whether it’s your first time, or you get to swim with them every day, a manatee encounter is amazing,” says John Pricher, Director of Discover Crystal River. “As travelers are seeking safe, outdoor experiences to enjoy with their close friends and families, we believe they will find the Crystal River area to be just the right place to make that happen.”
This year, local tour companies have made safety a top priority for passengers and as well as manatees. Many outfitters are offering semi-private and private boat tours, and carefully cleaning all swim and snorkel gear to ensure visitors have the safest, most rewarding underwater experience possible. For the gentle giants, all tour companies are educated to be stewards for the manatees, making sure swimmers, paddlers and boaters adhere to the rules and stay outside designated sanctuary areas.
New for this year, visitors can expect to see improvements at Three Sisters Spring Refuge. Though there is no ramp access to the springs from the refuge, the area is popular for its winding boardwalk, where manatees can easily be seen, thanks to the crystal clear water. The refuge has paved the entry road for cars and opened restrooms for park users (temporarily closed).
Plan your trip and learn more about manatee season at DiscoverCrystalRiver.com.
About Crystal River, Florida
Widely known as the Manatee Capital of the World, Crystal River and Homosassa are among the only places in North America where swimmers can have an up-close encounter with manatees in the wild. Located on Central Florida’s Gulf Coast, Crystal River and the surrounding cities of Old Homosassa, Inverness and Floral City are an authentic showcase of outdoor adventure and scenic beauty. Within tens of thousands of acres of protected state parks, forests and wildlife refuges, visitors can explore miles of bicycling, walking, birding, horseback riding and hiking trails to unlock a wild and wonderful world of natural, recreational and archaeological treasures. Pristine swimmable springs and a shimmering network of rivers, lakes, marshlands and mangroves make Crystal River perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, boating, fishing, scalloping and floating. Feeding the fun is a creative collection of restaurants, pubs, bistros and bars serving up freshly caught seafood and other seasonal favorites all year long. Begin your adventure at DiscoverCrystalRiverFL.com or call (800) 587-6667.