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Sunshine River Tours - Crystal River Manatee Tours
1610 SE Paradise Circle, Crystal River, FL 34429
+1 352-777-1796
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Attraction details
Owner description: We conduct manatee swim encounters in the three sisters,kings and and several other springs in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. We also rent pontoon boats and kayaks. We are located on the main spring on the water with plenty of free parking and the best view of Kings Bay.
Tavares, Florida
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Awe Inspiring”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2012

Recently, I traveled to Crystal River with a specific purpose in mind. I wanted to swim with the manatees of Florida. I booked with this attraction months in advance and when I drove up on their new location I was less than impressed. The cameras I was told were for hire were not charged and unavailable. They were only point and shoot cameras. There was only one changing room. BUT. . . Never judge a book by its cover. Although the office space is small and the souvenirs cheesy, you will not find a better venue for meeting manatees in thier natural habitat. This company puts a maximum of six people on thier pontoons. Only six! That almost ensures that your experience with the manatees will be very personal and intimate.The boat captain was very knowledgeable on manatees and the local waterways. We spent nearly three hours looking for the manatees and once found she was willing to stay longer so that everyone had an opportunity to interact with these wonderful gentle creatures.They are not beautiful animals to be sure but they are gentle, shy, and willing to approach humans.Even without the manatees, the time spent on the boat in glorious weather looking at beautiful waterfront homes is well worth the price of the ticket. I intend to go back but with the following in mind: bring a small bag to hold my wallet and camera, shorts and a hoodie and any drinks I may desire. Be aware there are no bathrooms. I missed many great photographic opportunities because I was under the impression that a camera would get soaked or stolen on the boat. The captain never leaves the boat and if you are remotely careful with your possesions they will be fine. Over all a very good deal for the money. I am going back!

Visited August 2012
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Perfect day!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2012 via mobile

We went during July, we are regular traveller to Florida coming every year. We normally do all the classic attractions in orlando, however this year we wanted to explore attractions which we don't normally do.
I've been wanting to go on the crystal river for years, this year we finally decided to go. At home we looked all the different providers of manatees tours, and decided on sunshine river tours after reading the reviews. We ring captain mike who sounds very laid back! :) and booked a few weeks before.
It took about 1hour and 45mins, and was a very straight forward route from central Orlando. We arrived about an hour early in the end but it quite nice to look around the marina. We booked the 10am one, thought the 7am was a bit early with the travelling. We asked how many would be on the boat and the lady said there was 16 on a boat! But in the end we were very lucky and got on the second boat which there was us a party of 7 and a couple. If I booked again i would probably book a private boat so I didn't risk being on the larger boat, but the couple we were with we're lovely and fellow Brits.
We set off with capt ken, who was lovely, and was very good at finding the manatees and pointing out other wildlife. You recieved all the snorkel, mask and wet suit, when waiting, which is why you arrive early. but I did bring my own scuba mask and snorkel. When you first get in the water, you'll get acclimatise to water temperature!, however warmer than British beaches. The first manatee I saw I generally thought it was a rock! But it moved. The second one we saw was a very playful young manatee who was playing with boat ropes, letting rub it belly, stroke it and swim by it. The water was clear enough to see it underwater. If I did the manatee tour again i would love to do it in October when it's manatee season, and there will be more manatees in the river. And next time I'm there I will defiantly be renting some kayaks ! :)

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Tampa, Florida
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Very Cool!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2012

If you like wildlife, you'll love it! The boat took us out, and we jumped in with snorkel gear. The manatees were in an area where swimmers are not allowed, but when they saw us, they came right over. They were very friendly and gentle. They came so close we could pet them as they swam by. Amazing!

Visited September 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hernando, Florida
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2012

All the Manatee tours are great! My wife booked this for my birthday with some friends and we all had a blast! This is now an annual event for us. Always interesting.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gulfport, Florida
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Love those manatees!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2012

If you visit Florida and don't see a manatee, you might as well stay home! This tour not only gives you to opportunity to swim with the Manatees, but gives you a 3 hour close up visit to them in their natural habitat. Our boat captain was very diligent in making sure we got to be with the manatees

Visited October 2011
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