Last Updated on August 27, 2023

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Are you looking for the best manatee tour in Crystal River, Florida? Look no further!

Crystal River is renowned as the manatee capital of the world for its incredible numbers of manatees, also known as sea cows.

Experience the beauty of nature up close and discover the magic of endearing West Indian manatees and local wildlife for an unforgettable adventure.

In this blog post, we will delve into the best manatee tours and get a unique privilege and chance to meet these gentle giants in their natural environment. 

Top Choice √ Best Crystal River Manatee Tour

The ‘OG’ Manatee Snorkel Tour with In-Water Guide/Photographer




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Best Manatee Tours In Crystal River Florida!


Photo Credit-  River Ventures

2 divers swimming with 2 Florida manatees underwater in Crystal River, Florida, USA during a Guided Snorkel and Manatee tour

This tour is rated 5 Stars on Viator with over 1546 reviews!


Tour length- Approximately 3 Hours

Get ready to dive into a lifetime experience and get the chance to learn more about the manatees in Florida with this excursion. 

The private tour will start as you set sail along the crystal-clear waters of Crystal River connecting to King’s Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Creating a unique opportunity and the best deal for visitors to observe and interact with them up close. 

For an unforgettable experience, you can also swim and snorkel through the crystal-clear spring waters.  

Certified tour guides ensure both the safety of the animals and visitors, allowing you to get close while respecting the manatee’s natural behavior and following strict guidelines in protecting them. 

One personal touch of this private manatee tour is the presence of a professional photographer that will take photos and document every magical moment during your trip. 

Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking the best experience, or a large group and a whole family eager to share an educational adventure, this tour caters to all. 

Ultimately, snorkeling with the manatees is just one of the good reasons for this tour.

It’s also a humble and awe-inspiring experience that connects you to nature in a profound and perfect way. 


What’s included with this tour? 

  • Snorkel gear, mask and wet suits 
    • Food and beverages 
    • Professional guide 
    • Towel and swimsuit 

    Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

    This was a great experience for our family. My husband and I were nervous to take our 6 year old daughter but this staff went above and beyond for us! I would highly recommend them We will be adding this to one of our favorite memories as a family.


    Courtney J  




    Photo Credit- Real Florida Adventures

    underwater photo of a woman wearing diving suit and goggles while smiling alongside a Florida manatee in Crystal River

    This tour is rated 5 Stars on Viator with over 1180 reviews!


    Tour length- Approximately 12 Hours


    Explore the natural wonders and experience an intimate manatee encounter in the waters of King’s Bay Crystal River by a boat tour followed by an airboat adventure. 

    During this full-day tour, you will head to the Crystal River National Park where you can swim and snorkel with the young and adult manatees.  

    After an awe-inspiring manatee encounter, you will also experience amazing wildlife at Homosassa Springs State Park where you can see the Florida panther, alligators, flamingos, and more local wildlife in the area. 

    The master captain will navigate through a winding journey and utmost care providing an intimate experience with an airboat ride in the Everglades like no other. 

    To conclude your trip, don’t forget to enjoy swimming at the Withlacoochee River in its clear waters and witness more wildlife. 

    The best part about this tour is that lunch and transportation are included but you can definitely bring your own snacks if you want. 

    What’s included in this tour? 

  • Admissions to Homosassa State Park 
    • Lunch 
    • Necessary equipment, mask, and snorkel 
    • Professional guide 
    • Transportation 

    Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

    Everybody on this tour is super-friendly and knowledgeable. I strongly recommend this unique experience where you can float and swim near manatees. And visit the zoo and also the airboat in the wild river is speechless.

    Alexandru B  ⭐




    Photo Credit-Gray Line of Orlando

    a Florida west indian manatee swimming with a guide in the blue waters of Crystal River, FL during a guided tour

    This tour is rated 4.5 Stars on Viator with over 60 reviews!


    Tour length- Approximately 8.5 Hours 

    Don’t miss out on an exciting opportunity to experience a guided tour and a river venture toward the manatees of Crystal River. 

    If this is your first time, the adventure will begin with an exhilarating boat ride to Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge where you can see wild manatees and excellent wildlife service.

    The certified guides with extensive knowledge and passion for these gentle creatures will lead you on a heartwarming journey. 

    Beyond the Crystal River manatees, you will also explore the state parks including Homosassa where you can see a lush green forest, natural springs, and diverse wildlife. 

    As you journey along the picturesque landscape, keep an eye out for wild animals like dolphins, otters, endangered species of birds, and even alligators! 

    It’s definitely a paradise for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

    What’s included in this tour?

    • Snorkel equipment and mask 
    • Professional guide 
    • Admission to Homosassa State Park 
    • Lunch 

    Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

    The staff was friendly and extremely knowledgeable. I would definitely come back again. Very interactive and did a great job to make sure we were able to see the Manatee.

    Sherry S ⭐




    West Indian Florida manatee over and underwater photo at Crystal River Florida

    Frequently Asked Questions


    What Is The Best Month To See Manatees In Crystal River? 

    The Crystal River manatee season starts during the months of November and ends in March.  

    It is the best time of year to see manatees in the river because of the cold weather and lower water temperatures during these winter months when manatees seek only refuge in the warmer waters of Crystal Springs. 

    How Much Is A Crystal River Manatee Tour? 

    The cost of a Crystal River manatee tour can vary depending on the tour operator and the package you choose. 

    If you’re looking for an affordable option, The OG Manatee Snorkel Tour costs around 60-70$ for an approximate duration of 3 hours. 

    If you want to spend more time exploring Crystal River and its surrounding wildlife, the Manatee Adventure, Everglades Style Airboat, and Crystal River Manatee Swim or Boat Ride is your best choice costing around 100-150 $ each.  

    What Is The Best Time Of The Day To See Manatees At Crystal River? 

    The best time of the day to see endangered manatees at Crystal River is typically around early morning and late afternoon when the water surface is calmer, and the manatees are more active. 

    It is also a good time to book a Crystal River manatee swim tour earlier for fewer people and also get rid of the scorching heat in the afternoon. 

    Absolutely! Florida is considered to have the world’s largest population of manatees and is the best place for manatee sightseeing especially in Crystal River.

    Provided with a special use permit, you can also discover other wildlife in the area including different bird species, dolphins, alligators, and more. 



    manatee sea cow in the crystal clear waters of Crystal River FL, USA

    Final Thoughts: Crystal River Manatee Tours 

    In conclusion, going on a Crystal River manatee tour will allow you to connect and learn more about the gentle giants in the natural manatee sanctuaries of Florida. 

    No matter which tour operators or tour companies you choose, responsible interaction and education are at the forefront of their offerings. 

    Whether you’re with your family or a small group, Crystal River has a tour offering that caters to a wide range of preferences, ensuring an unforgettable journey.

    From a more personal experience to educational encounters, book your own tour today and create memories that will leave you with a lasting appreciation for wildlife and manatees!



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