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Among the Manatees in Crystal River

An encounter with these animals is an experience that will take your breath away and which you will never forget.

What exactly is a manatee?

Manatees are large, sturdy and cumbersome mammals, which move quietly through the water while swimming or floating. The nicest thing about these animals is their snout, they seem to have a smile on their face all the time. These animals have been living on our earth for 50 million years. They were briefly threatened with extinction, but over the last years the population increased and there is again a large population of manatees. A fun fact about these animals is that they are related to the elephants and you can even see it in their snouts. During the summer months, these animals reside in the sea, but in the winter months they migrate to warm and fresh waters.

Crystal River in Florida, the best place to admire manatees

Crystal River is arguably the best place in the world to view these animals, the manatees, in the winter months. From the Gulf of Mexico, the manatees migrate to the shallow and fresh waters of Crystal River Florida.

Winter is the season to visit Crystal River Florida

So the best season to visit Crystal River in Florida is winter. The largest population of manatees can be found here from November/December to March. In March the manatees start migrating back to the Gulf of Mexico with their youngs and the population of manatees in Crystal river is shrinking again.

When we were planning our trip through Florida, it quickly became clear that a stop at this town was a must. Our tour was in April, so it was quite late in the season and the chance of spotting manatees was not that great. But we really wanted to try it.

How do you explore the waters at Crystal River Florida?

There are several ways to explore the waters off Crystal River Florida. However, it is not recommended to use boats with a motor, because they can be dangerous for the manatees who live here. Every year many animals are injured by these engines. A friendlier way to explore Crystal River is by kayak and that's what we did. We rented a family canoe from the Crystal River Kayak Company For 60 dollars we could canoe for 4 hours.

Protecting Manatees is important in Crystal River Florida

We were given clear instructions on departure with our kayak. Not endangering manatees is at the top of the list of the businesses and homes in Crystal River Florida. The entire town of Crystal River is dedicated to these animals. And while canoeing through the canals, you pass various houses and everywhere there are signs for the preservation of the manatees. The residents of Crystal River really do everything they can to protect the manatees, there are many speed limits in the waters of Crystal River, there are canals where motorboats are not allowed at all and the residents even plant sea grass to ensure that the manatees always have enough food.

Looking for manatees in Crystal River Florida

The Crystal River Kayak Company gave us instructions on where we had the best chance to see manatees in these waters. But we were also told that most of the manatees had already left for their summer home, so they couldn't guarantee us that we would see one. There was still a mother swimming around with a newborn baby, but we had to be really lucky to just meet this one.

Such beautiful blue water in the channels of Crystal River Florida

Not too hopeful, we started our journey through the Crystal River canals. What a beautiful area for canoeing, with the most blue and clear water, overhanging trees and a sense of serenity. Of course we hoped to see a manatee. But even without seeing manatees, this area is really beautiful to discover. Kayaking through Crystal River really gives you a wonderfully peaceful feeling.

Unfortunately for us there was no manatee to be seen in Crystal River Florida

We went to all the places recommended to us, but we couldn't find a single manatee. After more than an hour and a half of canoeing, we came to a somewhat larger lake. We paddled all the way across the lake, but still no manatee to be seen. But we did have a view of some beautiful American houses. Somewhat disappointed we paddled back to the Crystal River Kayak Company. It was unfortunately not to be, but we still had a wonderful morning in a beautiful area.

Will we still see a manatee in Crystal River Florida?

"Shall we try one more time in that little bay over there?" We weren't too hopeful, but we decided take a look one more time. Suddenly we heard a kind of bubbling sound and a large shadow swam towards our canoe. All four of us were completely silent when we saw the manatee swimming with her young right under our canoe. She floated calmly next to us and every now and then a nose came up.

What a special experience Crystal River Florida is

It was so special. Manatees are impressive animals that, just like the surroundings of Crystal River, radiate a feeling of serenity. After floating side by side for about ten minutes, the manatee went her own way again and we saw the nose of her young emerging in the distance until they were completely out of sight. And completely impressed we continued our way back.

Crystal River, een must do stop tijdens je rondreis door Florida

We are still so glad we added this stop, Crystal River, to our Florida tour, because we will never forget it. You suddenly feel very small when you can admire such large, special animals in their natural habitat. Now we were traveling with two children aged four and that is why we chose to canoe. But you can also snorkel between the manatees. And if you are looking for something less active, you can also book a boat trop where you just have to sit quietly and watch the surroundings

Crystal River Kayak Company

Adress: 1422 SE US Hwy 19, Crystal River, FL 34429, Verenigde Staten

For more information about the Crystal River Kayak Company, click HERE for the website.

See belows some accommodations in the surroundings of Crystal River.


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