Tours and Tickets

Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge provided by River Ventures

Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge
5
Book in advance
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$79.81
per adult
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Recommended by 98% of travelers
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
Free cancellation
Not sure? You can cancel this reservation up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
Tour snapshot
Chance to swim with the manatees under the direct supervision of a guide
Duration:
3h
Taking Covid-19 safety measures
Group size:
10
Ticket type:
Mobile
Free cancellation
About
Get in the water with Florida's endangered manatees on this snorkeling tour to the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, with several time options to suit your schedule. With your guide's careful supervision, you'll safely swim and snorkel around these slow-moving giants and learn about their biology and behavior, as well as the conservation efforts that protect them. Pack light, as your wet suit, snorkel gear, and mask are provided.
Know before you go
  • Duration: 3h
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Available languages
English
Highlights
  • Learn about their biology and behavior, plus efforts to protect them
  • Get expertly fitted for a wet suit, mask, and snorkel
  • Guides take photos of you, so you can stay in the moment
  • Opt to purchase a CD of the high-resolution images
What to expect
Meet your guide and group at the tour office, located in downtown Crystal River. Multiple times are available throughout the day; early morning tours offer the best times to swim with the manatees. Watch a video about the manatees and get an introduction to the rules of swimming safely around these endangered animals. Get fitted with a mask and wet suit to ensure the best possible conditions for your wildlife adventure. Slip into the water and float weightlessly near the large creatures, who are known to swim slowly and forage on the river's bottom for sea grass meals. While you swim, your guides will take photographs of you, both above and below the water, so you’ll have plenty of memories to share but can stay focused and in-the-moment. Back at the office, you can opt to purchase a CD of your high-resolution images.
Know before you go
  • Duration: 3h
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Available languages
English
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Highlights
  • Learn about their biology and behavior, plus efforts to protect them
  • Get expertly fitted for a wet suit, mask, and snorkel
  • Guides take photos of you, so you can stay in the moment
  • Opt to purchase a CD of the high-resolution images
What to expect
Meet your guide and group at the tour office, located in downtown Crystal River. Multiple times are available throughout the day; early morning tours offer the best times to swim with the manatees. Watch a video about the manatees and get an introduction to the rules of swimming safely around these endangered animals. Get fitted with a mask and wet suit to ensure the best possible conditions for your wildlife adventure. Slip into the water and float weightlessly near the large creatures, who are known to swim slowly and forage on the river's bottom for sea grass meals. While you swim, your guides will take photographs of you, both above and below the water, so you’ll have plenty of memories to share but can stay focused and in-the-moment. Back at the office, you can opt to purchase a CD of your high-resolution images.
Need help booking?
Call the number below and use the product code: 7336P2
Important information
Inclusions
  • Use of equipment (mask, snorkel gear and wet suit)
  • Beverages (bottled water, coffee and hot chocolate)
  • Professional guide
  • Introductory/instructional video offered in English, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish
Exclusions
  • Gratuities
  • Food and beverages (unless otherwise specified)
  • Photo DVD (available to purchase)
  • Towel and swimsuit
Duration
3h
Departure details
  • 498 SE Kings Bay Dr, Crystal River, FL 34429, USA River Ventures Manatee Tour and Education Center. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your tour time.
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Adult pricing applies to all travelers
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Wetsuits are available in all sizes from toddlers (2 years old and up) to adults up to 5X
  • It is advised that you have your swimsuit on underneath your clothes for a quicker check-in
  • Please bring a towel and a plastic bag to hold your belongings
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Children under 3 years old are not allowed on this tour. Please call for other options.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Post COVID-19 Policy- We are mindful to thoroughly clean water vehicles between visitors.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 10 travelers
Inclusions
  • Use of equipment (mask, snorkel gear and wet suit)
  • Beverages (bottled water, coffee and hot chocolate)
  • Professional guide
  • Introductory/instructional video offered in English, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish
Exclusions
  • Gratuities
  • Food and beverages (unless otherwise specified)
  • Photo DVD (available to purchase)
  • Towel and swimsuit
Departure details
  • 498 SE Kings Bay Dr, Crystal River, FL 34429, USA River Ventures Manatee Tour and Education Center. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your tour time.
Duration
3h
Return details
  • Returns to original departure point
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Adult pricing applies to all travelers
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Wetsuits are available in all sizes from toddlers (2 years old and up) to adults up to 5X
  • It is advised that you have your swimsuit on underneath your clothes for a quicker check-in
  • Please bring a towel and a plastic bag to hold your belongings
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Children under 3 years old are not allowed on this tour. Please call for other options.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Post COVID-19 Policy- We are mindful to thoroughly clean water vehicles between visitors.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 10 travelers
Travel safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
What you can expect during your visit
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
1,097 reviews
Excellent
1,062
Very good
21
Average
9
Poor
2
Terrible
3

Evelyn T
5 contributions
Family
If I could give our adventure with Captain Irish Dave and Courtenay 6 stars, I would in an instant. We went on the 6:30am tour and it was such an incredible experience. Both Dave and Courtenay were helpful, funny and insightful. They truly made this experience a memory for us. I highly recommend the early morning tour because it was small and very private. The sun rising over the bay was such a good welcome. The manatees were busy munching their breakfast. We saw lots of other cute critters as well. If you are headed that direction, DO NOT miss this experience. My 10 year old daughter said she liked this moment better then 2 days in Universal. That should sell it right there.
Written August 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

coffee_wc
Warner Robins, GA4 contributions
It's hard to put this experience into words. It wasn't on a bucket list. It wasn't even something I wanted to do my whole life. I found it on a whim when trying to find something different to do along with our annual PCB trip. My teen daughter and I went with River Ventures after reading reviews and watching youtube videos. I'm so glad I did. Do this. You will NOT be disappointed. Captain Tanner and Liz were absolutely the best thing right after MANATEES about this trip! They were funny, knowledgable. They worked well together and they made our experience the best even though it is JULY and they can't promise manatees. They both gave 100% of their time to making our trip memorable. We saw at least 6-7 of them today! Liz made sure you could hear the baby manatees "talking" to mom, she told us when to listen to them chew the grass under water. She helped search them out and she even calmed us with a gentle voice when there were quite a few coming up under us and we were a little nervous. She took pictures of our experience so we could give 100%. I could've stayed out there all day! Thank you for helping us make memories to last a LIFETIME! Thank you!
Written July 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Aspen T
5 contributions
Friends
My group of 7 friends took the 6:15 am tour on a chilly Saturday morning in April. The staff at the shop were friendly and helpful, even at 6am. Everyone was wearing masks and respecting social distancing while inside the shop. The wet suits they provided were clean and dry and definitely made the early morning chill much more tolerable. The ride to the dock was very quick and the driver was professional and courteous. Trisha, our guide, and Wayde, our captain, were awesome! They definitely knew a lot about the manatees and where to find them. It was obvious they cared deeply for the safety and comfort of the animals while also working to provide us with the best manatee snorkel experience. There were very few other boats and snorkelers around that early in the morning, and the manatees seemed excited to see a new group of humans. They came right up to us, bumping us and rubbing against us to be pet. We saw over 20 manatees and a zillion fish, including a huge school of tarpon. Highly highly recommend this tour, and if you can stomach getting up early, it is well worth it!!
Written April 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Liana A
3 contributions
Couples
Our boat captain mike and our tour guide crystal were both fantastic and made our excursion all the more amazing. They were both extremely knowledgeable, helpful, down to earth with a good sense of humor! We got up close and personal with several manatees and it was just incredible. I would highly recommend this experience and would def say to come at 6:15 am when it is less crowded. The only part that left a really bad taste in my mouth was that not a single person working in The building was wearing a mask. I think it’s almost offensive as even if you don’t think Covid is real or whatever your opinion is about the current pandemic, not wearing a mask simply shows you really don’t actually care about the paying clients coming into your facility. I would really recommend to the staff here that you start doing so because it’s a really simple gesture of showing you care about your patrons.
Written August 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for this feedback..and even though we appreciate you giving the experience a 5 star....we also take note of the covid related feedback! We have been considering this factor since we reopened and we have not made masks mandatory for our staff or visitors. As time passes though, we realize that there are not many places you can visit now, even a store, that do not require a facial covering. We feel incredibly privileged when our visitors choose us; and we've been confident that we are taking many steps behind the scenes to keep everyone safe (lower capacities, one group in the building at a time, new disinfecting strategies for gear and for the building, tours spread out, lower private rates, hand sanitizer and face masks on request) but we acknowledge that some of visitors expect more from us. We have had visitors enter the building and immediately get angry that ANYONE is wearing masks (Ive been yelled at twice, very loudly about the flu) and Ive had a couple groups ask for the van to be disinfected as they watch and refuse to enter the building. This is a very unique time in history and this is probably one of the most divisive subjects we will ever have to deal with. Overall we've felt like most people currently traveling are comfortable in Florida even though there is little mandatory as far as protection in our state. Im not sure we can make everyone happy on this front, but we do feel incredibly responsible to our guests....and we are so sorry you did not feel this was reflected in our service. This feedback is causing us to reconsider, we will workshop this with our crew and ownership....and by tomorrow we may have a different policy in place. We honestly DO CARE, but we have been on the fence as to what we will REQUIRE. We have been trying to leave the decision for face coverings up to the individual, but we hear you. We know that to some, this is simply not enough. Thanks again for bringing up the subject, and thank you for looking past this shortcoming and granting us 5 stars! That says the world about Mike, Crystal AND your generosity of spirit!
Written August 14, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Katie P
3 contributions
Family
This was an AWESOME experience. Our guide, Lindsey M was awesome and took such good care of us. My daughter can be strong willed, especially when nervous, and she towed her around for me so I could have some time to really enjoy the manatees and my boys. I cannot stress how much I appreciated that! It also helped my peanut become so much more comfortable with the manatees so we could really enjoy the experience together.

Emerson, our captain, was so safety minded and clearly took his job seriously. They both stayed calm even in a bit of a hairy moment when the weather started to cause some problems. I felt incredibly safe with both Lindsey and Emerson the whole time! They were knowledgeable about all of the marine life and so patient with all our questions. We even finally figured out what the jumping fish at our AirBnB are (mullets - the fish, not the hairstyle)!

I also really appreciated how respectful River Ventures was to the animals. They really stress passive observation and do everything they can not to stress out the manatees. Lindsey also tried to educate a group of private boaters who were being less than respectful. I felt really good knowing my kids were being taught how important it is to be respectful of the wildlife around them. The pics they took were awesome as well, and totally worth the $30 not to have to worry about a waterproof camera case, etc.

All around an AMAZING experience! I would do it again in a heartbeat. My kids (9, 11, 13) and husband (39) all loved it.
Written June 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tim B
1 contribution
Couples
We went on the trip in the spring which is not the main season, however, it didn‘t take us long to find a spot where we could swim with 6 manatees. We were able to float right next to those gentle giants which was fascinating.
The trip was amazing, everybody who is close to Crystal Springs should find some spare time to do this.

Our tour guide Marissa and our captain Irish Dave did a great job entertaining but also teaching us a lot of things about Manatees. It was a little windy a chilly on the boat that day but they took good care of us and offered coffee and hot chocolate.

Highly recommend!
Written April 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hannah M
9 contributions
I went on the semi-private first available morning tour and it was the best experience of my life! After a brief lesson on how to safely interact with manatees to keep them and ourselves safe we headed to the boats. Our guides found some manatees almost immediately and they were very curious and swam with us for an hour or more! The guide Liz and captain Pete were very knowledgeable and excited to be giving us this magical experience. I definitely recommend the early morning tour, we were the only ones out there at first and the semi-private tour I took meant only 4 other customers were on the boat with me. Plenty of time and privacy with the manatees! I will never forget the experience and I will definitely be back!
Written December 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Savannah C
Louisville, KY2 contributions
Captain Kelly and our Guide, Shana Banana were amazing and a great team! If you're looking for a good experience and not just a couple of nice pictures, I would recommend specifically requesting them. They got us so close to the manatees, but made sure we knew how to interact with them respectfully. They were very personable and knowledgeable, answering all of our questions. I really liked their ethos and obvious sense of personal responsibility toward the manatees. They were not afraid to advocate for the animals, which, if you are an animal person like me, is a major plus. Winter will obviously be the best time to see the sea cows, but they were determined and still found a momma and calf for us to hang out with in late April. Great tour for families, individuals, and everyone else.
Written April 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ben
Indiana2 contributions
Our family of 5 (teenage aged) did the 8:15 tour on December 30th 2020. From the time we arrived and put on our wetsuits to swimming and getting back was all a top-notch experience!
I highly recommend Captain Wade and guide Trish...they took us to a spot just before the Three Sisters Springs where it was less crowded yet still plenty of manatees. We saw several mothers with calves and other manatees who were very friendly! I'm convinced Trish is a manatee whisperer! She was able to bring the manatees right in and allow us to get up close and personal with them. Both Wade and Trish worked together to tell us when manatees were coming in; they were a great duo! I credit Wade and Trish for our great experience!
An added bonus; the complimentary hot chocolate onboard afterwards was delicious! Just what we needed to warm back up! Trish also took plenty of pictures of the experience that were available to purchase afterwards. The longer you stay in the water, the more pictures of you and the manatees you are going to get! Our family were the first ones in and the last ones out, and therefore we were in most of the pictures.
Everyone in our family loved this experience; especially since I was initially the only one who wanted to go. I highly recommend for anyone who has ever wanted to do this, and even for those who are a little more weary of it! It was one of my favorite things I've ever done. Be sure to go with River Ventures!
One additional observation: if you have younger children, I don't recommend doing this unless they are capable of being very quiet and very still in the water. One of the younger ones in our group (a different family) did not enjoy this experience as much and accidentally frighted a manatee away at one point. Had we not seen as many manatees as we did, this could've been very disappointing.
Written January 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jen
Georgia1 contribution
We went with Gavin and Jojo. Mom with two kids and I didn't expect the youngest (5yo) to get in at all, I just wanted the oldest (14) to have fun, he is a natural snorkeler. Everyone from the front desk to our captain and tour guide was amazing. We saw two manatees, they helped me with my youngest in the water even though I didn't expect them to. They made us so comfortable! All three of us saw manatees, my youngest kept everyone on the boat entertained and laughing. And as we were leaving, he told Jojo "Thank you for showing me your creatures". Amazing memories for mom!! Thank you so much for taking care of my kids diverse age group. We had a blast!
Written July 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 1,032
About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

By: River Ventures
Neil B
Neil B
00
Great day , Great Captain and Guide …..
Had a great trip with the family out on the water . Captain Wade and our water guide Trish were amazing. Got to see
BeachBumFarmer
BeachBumFarmer
00
Amazing Swim and Wade and Trish are awesome guides.
We went on a Manatee swim with River Ventures in Crystal River. EXCELLENT shop to tour with. WADE and TRISH were
Cheryl V
Cheryl V
00
Beyond fabulous!!!!
My daughter and I had an absolutely amazing time. I recommend them 100%; a fantastic company & staff
Jantravs4fun
Jantravs4fun
00
Scalloping tour
Came to Crystal the second time and wanted to scallop, first find was 574.00 second was 400.00 then found River ven
amberdC1720EY
amberdC1720EY
00
Rockin Scallop Trip
Such a great day! Ryan and Troy were great! They were knowledgeable and easy going, but most of all safe. Scallopin
CWL M
CWL M
00
Up close and personal with Manatees exceeded my expectations!
Experience of a lifetime! Captain Wade and guide and photographer, Trish, were absolutely the best! I definitely
B7361QAjenniferh
B7361QAjenniferh
00
Third trip so far
This was my third trip with River Ventures, and I will keep coming back. This was my favorite one so far, as Captai
hooligandery
hooligandery
00
Baby manatee!
Had an amazing time! Our guide Jojo was very fun and helpful, and we even got to see a baby manatee. Would love to
28katelynd
28katelynd
00
Captain JJ and first mate Jojo
Boyfriend and I decided a month ago we wanted to go to Florida and we made a last minute trip to swim with the mana
374louh
374louh
00
Family trip of a lifetime
We booked a family fun day which was a five hour private boat (could take six people in our party but we were just
steveward1501
steveward1501
00
Manatee Swim, not to be missed experience
Fantastic experience had by all the family. I cannot recommend this experience through River Ventures enough. The
Rinasam16
Rinasam16
00
Amazing experience
We went scalloped with Shanna and Matt. It was such an amazing adventure, Shanna did a great job guiding us to fin
G8336SLheatherd
G8336SLheatherd
00
Amazing Adventure!
This was our first time scalloping and Liz and Troy did not disappoint! They came highly recommended from family a
koriea514
koriea514
00
Excellent Tour
This was one of the neatest things I’ve ever done! I would love to go again! Shellie and Dave were the absolute bes
Nomad66221598595
Nomad66221598595
00
Great Outing
We saw a few manatíes and swam up close, the area was very beautiful. We also visited 3 sisters springs which was a
Frequently Asked Questions about Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge price starts from $79.81. Discover and book Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Tripadvisor

Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Tripadvisor

Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge is hosted by River Ventures. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact River Ventures on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Tripadvisor