Plantation Resort on Crystal River

by | Jan 6, 2024 | Lifestyle

One of the great things about living in or visiting Florida is finding a hidden gem among all the theme parks, restaurants, and outlet malls. For example, a hidden gem along Florida’s Nature Coast is the Plantation Resort on Crystal River, an ideal location to swim with the state’s legendary manatees that abound in the river’s clear waters.

The resort has a new one-night package offering guests the rare chance to enter the underwater world of the West Indian Manatee. The Plantation Resort on Crystal River is in Crystal River, FL. – is the only location in North America where swimming alongside and interacting with these “sea cows” in the wild is legal. Hundreds of the slow-moving mammals are making their way from the cooler winter waters of the Gulf of Mexico to Crystal River’s network of pristine springs, where the waters remain a constant 72°F (23°C). It’s an ‘only in Florida” experience that truly is memorable.

To celebrate the winter return of the manatees, Plantation Resort on Crystal River offers a Swim with the Manatees package. Starting at just $298 for two guests, the package includes:

  • One-night accommodations in a garden-view room
  • Manatee snorkeling tour for two from the Plantation Adventure Center, with all equipment provided (mask, snorkel and wetsuit)
  • Welcome bag with plush manatee toy, fun facts, and manatee interaction guidelines

Offering the area’s premier manatee tours, the Plantation Adventure Center & Dive Shop is located at the resort, providing semi-dry masks, snorkels, and wetsuits that allow for maximum buoyancy and body heat retention, avoiding the need for cumbersome floatation devices. All manatee tour boats are enclosed and provide hot chocolate and coffee, warming boat coats, and towel service. All tour captains are licensed, insured, and USCG certified, and each boat is equipped with power poles to limit environmental impact. Upon return from their tour, guests are treated to a hot shower facility and changing rooms for those who already checked out or snorkelers not staying at the resort. High-quality photos and videos are available for purchase after the tour. Manatee tours leave directly from the resort’s on-property dock at the Plantation Adventure Center.

Manatee tours are offered year-round at the Plantation Adventure Center & Dive Shop, headquarters for Florida’s best spring dives, but guests are more likely to see more of these gentle giants in the winter months when they seek out the relatively warmer waters of Florida’s second largest spring system. During prime manatee viewing season, which usually runs through March 31, depending on temperatures, guests can experience the truly unique travel adventure of swimming among hundreds of manatees as they play, eat, and socialize with one another.

The eco-friendly Plantation Resort on Crystal River is surrounded by the natural springs of King’s Bay, more than 25,000 surface acres of pristine lakes and rivers, wildlife refuges, and state parks.  On-site, the Plantation features a full-service family-oriented dive and tour operation marina, 12,000 square feet of meeting and event space, an 18-hole golf course originally designed by Mark Mahannah, an Aveda spa, and dining accommodations.

Guests can swim with the manatees, rent a pontoon or Jon boat, relax by the riverfront lagoon-style pool, enjoy a game of croquet on the manicured lawn, or hire a guided fishing charter.  With more than 1,600 feet of seawall, overnight guests can tie up their boats at any of over 80 spaces. Golf school classes and private lessons are also available to hotel guests.

Photos Courtesy of Plantation Resort on Crystal River


About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">Steve Pike</a>

Steve Pike

Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career covers Major League Baseball, the NFL, and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World, and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the website for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa, and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California.