Crystal River
Crystal River
4.5
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Top ways to experience Crystal River and nearby attractions

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles635 reviews
Excellent
496
Very good
87
Average
33
Poor
12
Terrible
7

Kristin C
Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States168 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
We went today and saw numerous manatee. Even though it is late for them! It was wonderful to kayak here. We began at Hunter Springs park. Beautiful water and lots of wildlife of birds, turtles, manatee, owls. We were there get 9:15 so was able to get parking but it did fill up quickly. Would definitely kayak here again. It was fun exploring!
Written 27 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kimberly R
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Beyond and I mean beyond disappointed! I have wanted to do this for years and just went on March 17th and did not see a single
manatee. Our guide kept saying that the manatees have moved out because the weather was warmer. So they CLEARLY know when the manatees are there and when they are not. I was in Maui last year and they will
flat out not take people put for whale watching at the end of the season because they said it would basically be stealing peoples money! And this is what they did! They flat out stole people’s money!!!! My family and I spent $400 to see absolutely nothing!!!!!!! And our guide said to my husband “this is going to be a rough day” because he had many other tours to take out and knew they would see nothing!
They advised it as if you would see manatees for sure. This is highway robbery!!!!!!!!!!!
DO NOT DO IT!!!!!
Written 22 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

We3Wander
Virginia177 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
Captain Brody and Megan were fabulous guides. We had a great time swimming with the manatees. Got lots of manatee kisses and hugs on an early January morning. The water getting from the boat to the manatee area wasn’t clear at all. (Not that this is the fault of the company.) Two people in our group were expecting clearer water and got a little freaked out with not being able to see to the point that they decided to head back to the boat. They hung out with Brody while the rest of the group swam. He was very friendly, provided hot chocolate, and talked to them a lot about manatees and other things. The water cleared up in the main area and those of us who swam with the manatees had a great time.
Written 5 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alissa C
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
Dave and captain James where so nice and amazing I hope to see them again.i loved captain James jokes and Dave was so nice. So was James!have a great day and thank you!!
Written 19 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Danielle N
Osprey, FL5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
we had a blast. Scalloping is always a fun time. We stayed at a private home along the river and enjoyed every moment.
Written 30 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

James W
6 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023
We visited Hunter Spring park in Crystal River. It was very busy around noon when we visited, mostly locals launching their kayaks and paddle boards. We didn't see the small sign about paid parking as you enter the park, as we were busy looking for an open space among maybe 40 parking spaces.There is no signage on each space, just the two kiosks on opposite sides of the parking area. Be careful in Crystal River because it seems they have a mixture of "public parking" that is free and paid parking that is patrolled by ticket writers. We were there less than 30 minutes and we got a $50 ticket for not paying the $5 fee.
Written 22 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sue19702015
Wimborne Minster, UK6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023
Wonderful. Worth planning into your travels in Florida. Very special place . Best Western was the best hotel.
Written 9 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Josephine
8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023
Staff was amazing, Collin and Capt. Harold were the best, funny, knowledgeable and knew where to find these amazing animlas. Collin is a great photographer also
Written 23 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Calimpich
Aiken, SC13 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023
Our extended family vacationed here. The springs were our favorite thing, with kayaking and swimming offered in several locations. There is no beach here. We hiked and fished, kayaked, visited the state park wildlife place, took an airboat ride, and floated in tubes down a river where we were not allowed to use our own tubes. Those were our highlights. The bugs were unbearable, until a local told us to get Captain Ron’s bug spray, or something like that. I won’t be visiting this area again.
Written 9 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Richard M
Nashville, TN19 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023
As a kayaker in my seventies, I've been on many adventures, but kayaking down the Crystal River in Florida was truly an experience like no other. I had planned to launch my kayak at the Fort Island Trail Park and paddle about five miles to Fort Island Beach, where my brother-in-law, David, would be waiting for me with the boat trailer. However, battling wind, tide, and sometimes menacing boat wakes proved to be a challenging feat. Oh, and then there was the aggressive alligator but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

The paddle started off easy enough, a slight wind mitigated the heat of the day, and the scenery was lovely. Boat wakes were fun at first, but then became tiresome. Some boaters would slow down and some would even speed up, as if having a little mean fun with me. After a few hours, I desperately needed to take a break, stretch my back and eat a sandwich I had brought along. The thick rushes along the shore didn't look too inviting, but after some searching, I finally found a tiny patch of sand to beach my kayak. As I stepped out, my foot sank into the soft wet sand, and I had to step side to side to keep from losing my water shoes in the muck. Suddenly, I heard a low growling close by. I looked over the vast sea of rushes and saw a line of grass swaying back and forth. I was sure the growling came from an alligator who was on his way to check me out. Wasting no time, I threw my half-eaten sandwich into the boat and practically jumped into it.

Pushing off from the shore, I saw my instincts were right: a rather large alligator appeared out of the rushes and slithered across the sand into the water. I was ready to fend off the creature with my paddle but, to my relief, it changed course and headed up river. Although relieved that I wasn't attacked, I knew by then that I had judged the tides wrong, and it was harder going than I had planned for. Reaching the wide, island-filled mouth of the river, I was still a mile and a half away from my destination, and the wind and tides were not helping. Plus, each time I put down the paddle to check my position on my phone, I lost about 20 feet of progress. The last thing I wanted to do was give up, but it was becoming increasingly clear that I could go no further.

Just then, a huge manatee raised its head about 10 feet in front of me and bobbed up and down a few times before disappearing altogether. It was almost like the he or she was telling me that I had done enough and it was time to go back. However, it had been almost three hours into my trip, and it was difficult to face a two-hour journey back to my starting point. The map on my phone indicated some thin streams that appeared to go under the road which ran out to the point. Paddling back, I saw the mouth of a stream and turned into it. The first three tributaries came to dead-ends, but the fourth one was the charm.

I reached a small bridge supporting the Fort Island Trail, and I climbed out and pulled my kayak out of the water. But I was still determined to finish my journey somehow, so I decided to hitch a ride out to the point. I thought I looked fairly safe in my paddling gear, sunhat, and holding my paddle, but apparently, I was wrong. A number of cars and trucks whisked by until finally, a good Samaritan stopped and offered me a ride. I felt like I was in a time machine as I was whisked away in a fire-engine red vintage 1970’s Corvette, enjoying the wind in my hair and the open road. Arriving at my destination not in a kayak but a red Corvette, my brother-in-law was a bit surprised, to say the least. He was glad to see me but he also wanted to know where his kayak was!

Although I didn't finish the journey as planned, the adventure down the Crystal River was truly one of a kind. The breathtaking scenery, and the unexpected encounters with wildlife made it a journey that I will always remember. It may have been a battle against the elements, but it was a battle that I was glad to have experienced.
Written 14 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Crystal River - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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