Crystal River, Florida

A swim with manatees at Plantation Inn Dive Shop in Crystal River, Florida.

Are you looking for things to do in Florida that is both kid-friendly and outside the box?  Head over to Plantation Inn Dive Shop in Crystal River in northwest Florida for a fun-filled day that will leave the kiddos with memories forever.  Kids of all ages can enjoy this fun snorkeling and swimming activity.

Accommodations

We started our 10 day Florida vacation in Crystal River.  We booked an inexpensive room in Crystal River and arrived the afternoon before.  The Days Inn Crystal River had simple, but clean accommodations.  It is located about 20 minutes from Plantation Inn Dive Shop.  It was nothing fancy but had a pool for the kids to swim and had a Denny’s attached to it.

Manatees/Plantation Inn Dive Shop

We booked our Manatees through Plantation Inn Dive Shop.  There are several in the area, but we liked the reviews for this one. We were greeted by name as we walked into the dive shop and registered quickly. They quickly fixed us up with some wetsuits and showed the manatee ‘to do and not to do’ video.  They are also very strict with using biodegradable sunscreen. Keep those manatees safe! Check out my favorite here.

On the boat, we were given a safety brief and those that needed them were given their snorkel equipment. Off we went in search of the manatees.

I must warn you, July is NOT the time of year to do this. I knew this in advance, but we really had a hard time finding a manatee. We looked for a while, then went to Three Sisters Springs to snorkel. It was a pretty lagoon type setting, crystal clear water, not much going on in the water.

Back on the boat after that in search of more manatees. Again, I honestly don’t think we would have found any if there weren’t several boats out looking for them. We did find them and were able to get in the water with them. The visibility there was about 6 inches in front of your face. You couldn’t really ‘see’ the manatee until it came up to breathe (or mate as we got to witness)! The kids all had fun and we got some great pictures and video.
The dive shop does have bathrooms with hot showers for afterward. The shop is full of souvenirs, clothes and dive gear.

Again, the best time to go is November-February according to our guide. This is because the manatees are seeking warmer weather and a safe haven until summer we were told that often Three Sisters Spring is so jam-packed with them snorkeling is impossible.We had a great time and we all agree that we’d do it again

We had a great time and we all agree that we’d do it again

~M

Check out some more of my favorites from this vacation!

 


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