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Swim with manatees in Florida

  • Crystal River, Florida, United States of America (USA)

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 21 March, 2024

These docile, endearing and sadly vulnerable mammals are found in only a few last strongholds of the world – Western Australia, Vietnam and here in Florida.

At Crystal River in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, they gather in their hundreds to bask in the warm river water and to graze on seaweed.

More habituated to people here than in other locations, you can dive or snorkel closer to them than anywhere else; curious and playful, individuals often come right up to you.

Logistics

Price from: £45
Minimum age: 3
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around
Duration: 3 hours

Getting there & doing it

Trips operate from Crystal River, where boats will ferry you the short distance to where the manatees are, and usually last around three hours. Walk-ins are welcomed but are subject to availability, so book ahead to avoid disappointment.

All equipment is provided, including wetsuits, but take a towel. Children of two years and older can participate. Private groups tours are also available with advance notice.

When to do it

Several hundred manatees can be found in the river in winter. In summer there are fewer, around 50-70. Water temperatures are consistent all year.

Tours run daily all year round. Start times vary by operator, but there are several departures a day, usually in the early morning (the optimum time for interactions).

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Manatee Snorkel Tour with In-Water Divemaster/Photographer

  • Crystal River

Swim alongside the gentle giantson our professonally guides snorkles tours. Our tours include: full 5mm wet suits, mask, snorkel, hot chocolate, coffee, water and towel service. All our tours leave from our onsite private docks, with heated changing facility and hot showers!! This is a small-group tour of 14 travelers.

Price $70

Min age 1

Rating 4.93 / 5 [2111 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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3 Hour Swim with Manatees in Florida

  • Crystal River

Since 1995, Fun 2 Dive has guided tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world on this most special experience. We are one of the pioneers. Our captains are all U.S. Coast Guard licensed Master Captains and all of our staff and guides are enrolled in a national drug consortium and are subjected to random drug screening. Our location is a full service brick and mortar tour center with manatee gift shop. Our gift shop is unlike any other with over 99% of the gifts found in our gift shop strictly manatee related. You wont find a larger selection of manatee merchandise in one place anywhere, not even online. We commit to you to do everying in our power to deliver a 5 star experience that you and your family will never forget. Thank you for chosing to make your vacation special with us.

Price $70

Min age 3

Rating 4.95 / 5 [2030 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Manatee Swim Tour with In Water Photographer

  • Crystal River

Our Manatee Swim tour at Explorida was Voted Trip Advisors 2022 "Top Ten Bucket List Experience in THE WORLD!" Swimming with the manatees is a once in a lifetime experience so do it right! Dont cram into a small dive shop. Spread out and enjoy plenty of space at Explorida! The Explorida Adventure Center offers a large, top notch facility that is climate controlled with indoor changing rooms for your privacy. Our boats are U.S. Coast Guard inspected and certified, which means they are allowed to carry more than 6 passengers, have all necessary safety equipment, and are in tip top shape. Dont get stuck on a clunker! Book with Explorida! We are dedicated to the customer experience and will not disappoint! Let us prove it!

Price $70

Min age 3

Rating 4.96 / 5 [1806 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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

  • Crystal River

Join River Venture’s 5-star crew and dive into the ‘OG’ swim with manatee experience with our HD photographer. Our full service, one-stop shop can guarantee manatees and more! The ‘OG’ of Swim with Manatee: Dive into the world of manatees with the largest and most experienced center in Crystal River and Homosassa – since 2004! Manatee Guarantee Optional Upgrade($): No manatees? No worries, we’ll refund you. Tour options for any budget: Save money or splurge, we have a tour for you. Manatees, Dolphins & Airboats: Combo-Tours, book for the manatee and stay with the dolphins Over 5000 5-star reviews online! Need we say more?  Your A-Team: Expert guides, pirate captains, underwater photographers and booking wizards Eco-Edutainment: In-classroom presentation. Learn from our passionate guides.

Price $65

Min age 3

Rating 4.91 / 5 [1681 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Guided Small Group Manatee Snorkeling Tour with In-Water Photographer

  • Crystal River

Enjoy a close, personal encounter with the West Indian Manatee as you snorkel with them under the guidance of a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captain. Our small group (no more than six guests) tours are conducted daily in the beautiful Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. Get up close and personal with these amazing mammals and learn about the ecosystem and their habitat.  Unlike many tours, these Captains will actually swim with you and your group to ensure that you have a memorable experience. While in the water, your captain/tour guide will take high-definition photos and videos of you and your group which you will be able to view and purchase at the end of your trip.  Your price includes all snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel, wetsuit) and complimentary coffee or hot cocoa.

Price $79

Min age 3

Rating 4.95 / 5 [1103 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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