This post was in partnership with Citrus County FL, however all opinions are my own.
If you’re looking for a new place to visit that offers a ton of friendly fun, have Crystal River, Florida. I was fortunate enough to have a visit here and I’m already counting down the days until I can return.
When it comes to a fun getaway that can easily be packed full of activities, delicious food, and family memories, this is the trip for you.
Start packing your bags now because Crystal River, Florida is waiting to welcome you with open arms.
Plantation On Crystal River Hotel
Plantation On Crystal River is a super quaint hotel, it is perfect for families who are looking for a variety of activities while being on a budget. We stayed in a two queen bed room, and the fun part was that our room had a door that led to the outside, where you could walk out by the river or play sand volleyball.
The room had its standard set up of having a microwave and a fridge, one thing I really loved about our room was that we had a dehumidifier in our room. Having allergies this was great for us.
The hotel also has a Championship 18 hole golf course, and a pro shop. Which is great because they also offer golf classes!
Plantation On Crystal river also offer so many different activities on property, you can play chess, go to the pool, or enjoy a drink while being at the Tiki Bar. They do have a splash pad but due to covid right now it is closed. You can also book a variety of activities outside of the hotel for a small fee one of which was swimming with the manatees which we did.
We also had the pleasure of enjoying dinner our first night, and then breakfast every morning at the hotels own restaurant West 82 Grill. They offer a variety of food from steaks to seafood there is something on the menu for everyone. West 82 Grill is also great for kids they have a great variety for the kiddos as well, my kids really enjoyed their manatee pancakes every morning!
Plantation On Crystal River has a number of different specials they are offering right now so make sure to check out their website!
Things to Do in Crystal River, Florida
While there are many things to do in Crystal River, Florida, here are some of my favorites. Staying a day or a weekend really might not be long enough!
Crystal River Kayak Company And Dive Center
Right at the three sisters springs the Crystal River Kayak and Dive company offers an array of activities. You can go kayaking, paddle boarding, get a pontoon rental, or go diving. This was the first stop on our journey and really gave us a taste of what Crystal River is all about.
We really enjoyed kayaking down the three sisters spring, and the kids really enjoyed the water, I have to say we were super impressed by how clear the rivers and springs are in Crystal River. I can see why manatees love coming here!! We went half way up the spring however you can do the whole spring if you have time on your hands. Make sure to bring your sunscreen, and a hat as there is not a lot of shade, you can also go swimming if you like.
Explore Heritage Village
Located in the Downtown Crystal River Historic District, shop until you drop. There are so many great places to shop and spend money on local businesses and cute and quaint little restaurants. We really enjoyed stopping by the Tea House Cafe they had quite the variety of tea to choose from along with a great menu for lunch. We also bought some souvenirs from All About Nature gift shop! While you are in the village make sure you stop by Coastal Art Gallery they have so many wonderful paintings and creations from local artists up for sale, that are super impressive.
Visit Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Be one with nature at Florida State Parks. Getting out and enjoying the sights and seeing wildlife is a great thing to do in this area. There is so much beauty! Homosassa State Park has a lot to offer, there are so many different animals that you can see from Black Bears, Bald Eagles, and Panthers we loved the fact that it felt like we were in a zoo setting but it was very spread out. We also had the opportunity to see some of the local manatees get fed. Farther out from the park you can also venture out on a boat and go swimming.
Swim with the Manatees Tour
Have you always wanted to swim with the manatees? Now is your time! You can easily book a manatee tour and be one with them in the water. We had the opportunity thanks to Adventure Center which is located right within Plantation On Crystal River, there are docks located right next to the hotel where you can get on the boats. We had a blast with Capt. Mark and Dustin.
We have never seen a manatee so up close and my husband and 5 year old were able to super up close to them, my husband got to see a baby calf swimming and nursing with his mom. Something he said he will never forget.
My 8 year old didn’t go since he has autism the water being cold mixed in with the pressure of the wet suit he decided to stay on the boat with me. The tour itself is early in the morning we left around 7am and got back around 930am, they stopped at a couple of different places to see where the group could see some of the manatees.
One thing you should know about the tour is that you are not allowed to touch the manatees you are allowed to swim near them and not disturb them, which they go over all of that information while you are on the tour.
Pack your swimsuits and jump in. It’s certain to be a good time.
Tour the Withlacoochee State Trail & Inverness Depot District
Take a Self Guided Tour of The Depot District & Waterfront Parks and see what you see. From The Depot to the Cooter Pond Boardwalk, there are plenty of sights to take in as well as a couple of new playgrounds. The trails go around a beautiful lake, and you can see a couple of tributes including a memorial for 9-11.
Take a Withlacoochee River Air Boat Tour
Have you ever wanted to take an air boat tour? Hop on board and see what it’s all about! You can easily take a tour and be ready to go again. Just book ahead because the tours fill up fast. The kids had a blast on the Air Boat, this was my first time riding in one, and I have to say it was so worth it!
We saw a lot of different birds, and even managed to see a gator while we were out on the river, towards the end we kicked into high gear and ended up going fast. Who knew these air boats had so much power!
Places to Dine in Crystal River, Florida
After you spend the day doing a ton of fun activities, you’re going to be super hungry and ready to chow down. Here are some great options to chow down and eat.
You won’t find fake premade food here. Everything is made from scratch and delicious. There are even options for vegan/vegetarian as well so this is a great dining option for specific diets and allergy needs. We all ordered something different my kids ordered their classic dishes which consisted of hamburgers and chicken tenders and loved it.
I ordered a half a rack of baby back ribs, and let me tell you they were to die for! They fell right of the bone and have a tasty blueberry bbq sauce! My husband ordered the halibut, which by the way he quickly gulped it down speaks for itself. He said it was one of the best fish dishes he has eaten ever.
We loved that chef came out and asked us how we liked he food, and we love how culturally diverse their cuisine is and how it constantly changes.
Stumpknockers on the Square
Good Southern food is waiting for you at this tasty restaurant. Check out their fried green tomatoes and make certain to order some of their gator nuggets, too.
Wash it down with a tasty beverage and you’ve given your belly quite the treat!
While my time in Crystal River, Florida was short, it was an amazing few days. I spent my time making amazing memories, eating delicious food, and loving exploring everything that the town had to offer.
There were many things that were for adults to do but there were also a ton of family-friendly things, too!
The next time that you’re looking for a unique and fun place to visit, Crystal River, is the place to be. Especially for its beauty, we loved how much fun we could have outside as a family and how clear the water was! After just one visit, you’ll be hooked and ready for more!
Check out our instagram stories to see all of the fun we had while in Crystal River!
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