9 Fun Things to Do in Crystal River

126.1 million out-of-state visitors came to Florida last year. Obviously, there is a lot to do in this state and plenty of experiences to be had.

If you’re visiting Crystal River, you may be curious about what activities you can plan for your trip.

You want to find excitement and build positive memories to take home with you after you go home.

Check out things to do in Crystal River below and see what sparks your interest for the upcoming vacation.

Things to Do in Crystal River

Here are 9 things you may want to consider doing when you’re visiting Crystal River and the surrounding area.

1. Swim With Manatees

One of the most popular things to do in the Crystal River is swimming with the manatees. It is one of the only places in the state of Florida that it is legal to do so.

Swimming with manatees can be a very rewarding experience for visitors because it is so unique.

There are swim tours available that help you stay safe and still have fun during this experience.

2. Crystal River Archaeological State Park

This is an incredible historic 61-acre site featuring burial and ceremonial mounds built by Native Americans.

There are six mounds in this location and Native Americans traded here and buried their deceased for almost 1,600 years.

One of the largest mounds directly overlooks Crystal River, so it is a wonderful spot to see the sunset and experience nature in the area.

3. Snorkeling Tour

Manatees don’t have natural predators and don’t eat meat. They generally only swim in shallow water and are slow animals. Most of the time, they are eating, swimming, and sleeping.

It can be hard to see them from a boat, so snorkeling is the best way to see and interact around these creatures. Manatees are protected by laws, so knowing the best way to interact with them is important.

Generally, they have a natural sense of curiosity toward humans that they see in the water and are quite gentle. The best time to give this a try is during the winter months, which is after the manatees have migrated.

4. Monkey Island

Monkey Island, located just south of Crystal River in the town of Homosassa and on the Homosassa River, houses spider monkeys! There are 5 of these small primates that you can come to see.

In the 1960s, a developer built a resort on the river. Monkeys from an attraction in a different area were creating problems in town, so the developer decided to move them to his resort area.

Since then, the monkeys have been cared for by employees of the resort and have fun watching people by the river.

5. Ferris Groves

This classic fruit stand has been enjoyed by visitors for over 80 years. The fresh fruits are wonderful and the retro experience you get will give you a wave of nostalgia that you won’t soon forget.

Ferris Groves is open between November and April, so check their calendar before you visit. You can get a variety of citrus fruits, but you’ll also find the “Ferris Berry,” which is probably the juiciest strawberry you’ll ever have.

In addition to the fresh fruit, you can now get salsa, candies, gourmet jam or jelly, and butter. You may even want to get a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice!

6. Airboat Tour

The first airboat that was ever registered in the United States was in Florida almost 100 years ago. Wild Bill’s Airboat rides will take you on an adventurous ride on the Withlachoochee River. You will not see manatees, but there are plenty of alligators!

There is a lot of history on these tours and give visitors a great way to see the area from a new perspective. Going on an airboat tour in Crystal River can be a fun experience for you, especially if you haven’t done it in Florida before.

Originally, these boats were used to fish and hunt in shallow water. A standard propeller engine cannot make it through the shallow water, so these are the best way to get around in certain areas.

7. Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins

If you are interested in history, this is a great way to learn about Citrus County’s old sugar plantation.

At 5,100-acres, the Yulee Sugar Mill was once a successful sugar mill in operation from 1850 until 1864. It provided sugar and sugar products to soldiers in the Civil War from the south.

Visitors are now able to see what is left of the plantation, including the 40-foot masonry chimney and a cane press.

8. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

This park is dedicated to the wildlife throughout Florida and is 20 minutes from Crystal River.

Visitors can come to check out the manatees at any time of year, but you also can get a good look at other wildlife, like alligators, reptiles, red wolves, birds, and even Florida panthers.

There is an underwater observatory that you can visit for eye-level views.

You don’t want to miss the chance to meet Lu, the hippopotamus. He is the oldest hippo in North America and is the only animal at the park not native to the state of Florida.

9. Rainbow Springs State Park

There are actually a lot of dog-friendly activities in the Crystal River area, but one of the best ones to consider is Rainbow Springs State Park.

Located about 30 minutes from Crystal River in Dunnellon, this is a beautiful park.

There are shaded trails all throughout that you can stroll along, but you also get to experience 3 waterfalls throughout the area. Dogs cannot get in the water in the swimming area.

This can be a very relaxing way to spend the day and give your pup some much-needed exercise. Even if you’re not in town with your dog, you could go and experience the relaxing atmosphere for yourself.

Ready to Travel?

There are a lot of things to do in Crystal River, but what you choose to do depends on how adventurous you want to be.

Whether you want to snorkel with the manatees, go scuba diving, visit the beach, or bird watch in some state parks, you’ll find the right activity for you.

If you want to get in touch with us, feel free to come to visit, call, or email with questions. We would love to help make your experience in Crystal River as fun as possible!