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7/19/19 — 7/21/19 7/19/19 — 7/23/19 7/19/19 — 7/25/19 or
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Swim with Manatee Tour - Endangered Encounter (3 hr) - Crystal River × Book Now 2 Available Book Now 2 Available Book Now 44 Available Book Now 41 Available Book Now 41 Available Book Now 25 Available
Swim with Manatee Tour - Endangered Encounter (3 hr) - Crystal River

Swim with Manatee Tour - Endangered Encounter (3 hr) - Crystal River

Our manatee encounter and snorkel tour is world famous for a reason; there is nothing else like it! The refuge is comprised of springs and filled with unique wildlife. This tour on a covered pontoon boat allows you to see it all up close.

Enjoy the unique privilege that is exclusively ours here in Citrus County Florida by swimming with the manatees in the spring-fed King’s Bay Wildlife Refuge! Crystal River is home to the world’s largest population of endangered manatee during the winter season, and even a small population the warm months.  Having the chance to encounter these curious, gentle giants in their natural habitat is an adventure that your family will never forget! 

Embark on your journey with a Coast Guard Certified Master an an in water chaperon, educator and photographer. Your tour will run three hours from start to finish and everything you will need is included for one price. You will begin at our full-service tour facility, where you will be educated about the animals in a classroom type setting and receive tips for your snorkel tour to make the most of your day. You will be taught the in’s and out’s of ‘passive interaction’ as this ensures that the animals enjoy the experience as much as we do! You will then be suited up and transported to the dock, where a Coast Guard certified covered pontoon will be waiting for you. This rich estuary will amaze…..birds, fish and wildlife abound! Submerge yourself in the manatee’s world! Finish your adventure by viewing your Captain’s photos back at our facility and be sure to visit our one-of-a-kind gift shop! Our well-informed staff will direct to other local attractions, restaurants and answer of your questions before you are on your way.

We guarantee that after you meet our friendly gentle-giants you will never be the same! You will never forget your adventures here in Crystal River, and chances are - we will see you again!

This encounter with our endangered manatee is done on a covered pontoon and is perfect for all levels of snorkel experience. Don’t miss the boat!

  •  3 hour tour from start to finish
  •  Masks, snorkels, and wetsuits included
  •  Bottled water included on board
  •  Photo package available at the end of your tour
  •  Our group pontoon boats hold an average is 8 people
  •  7 days a week, year round!

6:15 am   7:15 am  9:15am   10:15am   12:15 tour added in ‘manatee season’

*PLEASE BE ADVISED OF CURRENT TOUR CONDITIONS*

**Remember that once the weather starts to get warm in March, manatee begin their migration away from the springs and become more elusive. It is very important in the warm seasons to have REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS about how many animals you will see, under what conditions and how long it may take to find them. The COLD weather brings them to the area to enjoy our fresh water springs, but once the Gulf temps begin to warm, the manatee become more difficult to find and tend to be located closer to food sources where the water is not always clear. Also, spring brings hundreds of people to the area hoping for a glimpse of these amazing animals…COME EARLY MORNING if you hope to avoid the crowds. We add tours later in the day as capacity demands, but conditions deteriorate as the day goes on.  If you are hoping to see dozens of manatee in clear spring water, than a springtime visit may disappoint.  If you need more details about what to expect when visiting us in spring or summer, please visit our conditions page or call us anytime! We are always honest about conditions and encourage our visitors to do their research!

*THREE SISTERS SPRINGS is managed by US Fish and Wildlife who reserves the right to close the area to swimmers at any time. During cold spells when the animals are thermoregulating in the spring area, it will be closed to avoid harassment and ensure the animals can rest. We MAY OR MAY NOT be able to access this one acre spring (part of the 600 acre refuge area) and that is something we can not predict from day to day. Only parties with an in-water guide will be allowed into both Three Sisters and King Spring during ‘Manatee Season’

What to bring

Wear your bathing suit...that way you are ready for a quick change into the wetsuit. Bring a towel, most people will bring these along on the boat. Keep season and air temps in mind. If it is cooler, it is a great idea to bring a sweatshirt, jacket or even a full set of loose fitting clothing to slip on after you get out of the water. If you have young children, this is especially important, be prepared with warm clothes....always better safe than sorry! The water here is always 72 degrees, and for some that is quite chilly! Feel free to bring a bag onboard the boat to keep your personal items, but we HIGHLY recommend not bringing anything of value on board the boat. During warmer weather most people will wear their wetsuits back to the shop and change into their clothes when they return from the trip. Bring what you feel you need, but no worries we will take care of the details!

Tour Info


It is very important to have realistic expectations when it comes to a wild animal encounter! Every trip is different and the experience is unique for each individual. In the cooler weather the animals migrate to this area and congregate here for the protection of the warm water springs; when the weather warms they can move about going wherever they want! These are wild animals and we can not control their migration. Manatee spend their lives searching for food, mates, sleeping and playing....it is hard to predict what state they will be in when we encounter them. The early mornings tend to be the best time to find the animals and best chance of seeing them near the springs where the water tends to be more clear. Remember it is very simple, cold weather = many manatee; warmer weather=lower manatee counts and more time looking for these endangered animals. Even seeing a few manatee is a phenomenal adventure!

Where do we meet?


We meet at our full service Manatee Tour and Educational facility in Crystal River. You will be checked in, and offered complimentary coffee, tea or hot cocoa. Upon tour time, we take you into a classroom type setting where we learn about the animals, the eco-system and watch a short video of rules required by the US Fish and Wildlife. This is a wildlife refuge and it is very important that we fully inform you as to what the rules are and how to behave if you hope to view a manatee up close! We will fit you for a wetsuit, direct you to our climate controlled changing rooms and gather up your group. We take care of transporting you the very short drive to the dock, where your Captain is waiting for you! After your tour, we will drive you back to River Ventures. You can help yourself to coffee and cocoa, use the restrooms and changing rooms, check out the gift shop and view the photos from your adventure!

Are the boats covered? What about bathrooms?


Our manatee boats are all fully covered with clear vinyl enclosures that can be rolled up or down depending on weather conditions. Each boat is also equipped with a flushable porta-potty inside a curtained privacy area that can be used as a changing room for those that wish to put on dry clothing for the short ride back to the dock.

How many people do you take on your boats?


Our boats are US Coast Guard Certified, inspected and stability tested for your safety and are designed to hold anywhere between 6 and 16 swimmers and/or observers. Keep in mind that we control the amount of people on our boats, but we can not control the amount of people on the water. We go on a manatee search and all the tour companies go where animals are found......so after 9 am, especially on weekends, Holidays or during manatee season, the waterways can get very crowded with people. At 6:15 you get out while the refuge is at its quietest and the manatee are still in their most relaxed state. We know it’s early....but it tends to be the best experience for our customers so we don’t mind the wake-up call!

Do you provide us with an in-water tour guide?


Yes, we provide a US Coast Guard Licensed Master Captain AND an in water Chaperone, tour guide and photographer! We take pride in having the best Captains and guides in the business and they go above and beyond to ensure that your group has a safe, pleasant and educational experience. Our Captains are all Certified Eco-Tour guides through the Manatee Ecotourism Association in conjunction with USFW.....they do not only know how to drive a boat, but they are stewards for these animals and this eco-system, doing their best to stay abreast of all the latest in scientific research. They will ‘model’ the proper behavior to assure that the manatee are treated with the utmost respect......this is their house, we are just the visitors! Your guide will also take photos, from the boat, underwater and all around. These photos are available at the shop after your tour....that way you do not have to worry about your own camera and it’s a great way to take these memories home with you!

Are there rules we have to follow when we Snorkel With Manatee?


Absolutely! Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act and it is quite a privilege that we get to have this sort of encounter! Both the State and Federal Government oversee the protection of these animals and the guidelines get stricter every year. These laws are in place to help protect the animals and they will be enforced here in the Wildlife Refuge, people can be ticketed, fined and removed from the water if behavior is deemed inappropriate or illegal. When you arrive at the shop prior to your tour we will cover all the dos and don’ts so you are fully informed before you hit the water!

How long is the boat ride to the manatee?


There is not ‘one spot’ that we go to look for manatee and there is not ‘one area’ that we visit every day, every tour. We go where we can find animals. In the winter time, that may be a short 8 to 12 minute ride to a spring. But in the warmer weather, we may have to look for much longer. In the cold weather we have many in the area and it typically does not take long to find them, but when it gets warm patience is a requirement!

How many manatee will we See?


Please remember that manatees are an endangered species and seeing even one of these majestic beasts is a great privilege. Our tours are conducted in their natural habitat and they are free to come and go as they please. No two days are ever the same, and no two tour times are the same either. Weather, tidal influences and time of the year affect the conditions daily and it can never be predicted just how many manatees you will see. During the colder months we have a large concentration, but if there is a considerable warm spell they will become difficult to find. Because this unique eco-system is a prime manatee habitat, we have a small resident population even in the summer. We never guarantee that you will find or encounter manatee and how many you see is tough for us to predict as well.

Can I ride the boat and not swim? What if I do not know how to swim?


We always welcome observers and you can often see the manatee from the boat. They sometimes come very close and give you an awesome view! We are only allowed so many passengers on the boats, so an observer does have to pay for that seat. Bring your cameras and binoculars and enjoy the surroundings of the refuge! If you are not a strong swimmer then you must use your own judgment. Are you comfortable in the water with a floatation device? Do you get anxious and upset in the water? We must remain calm and still near the animals, so ‘swimming’ is not as important as being able to relax and float!

Are there age limits?


Children must be at least 3 to go on the group tours, but younger babies are allowed on a private tour. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, and very young children must understand enough to be calm and quiet in order to not scare the animals away. Children should be comfortable in the water and parents should stay close at all times for safety. We have wetsuits in all sizes and provide snorkel vests and flotation noodles if kids need a bit of assistance staying at the surface without swimming.

Are there any hidden fees? Do you have discounts?


Our tour price includes everything you need to swim with the manatee! There are no hidden fees or ‘up charges’ for wetsuits, snorkel gear, parking or other unexpected expenses. A picture CD of your tour is optional when you return to River Ventures and you can even view these photos before you decide to purchase them. Our tour price is an AWESOME DEAL for what you receive in return.....most of our customers agree on this! However, we do offer group discounts for 10 or more people. Typical group discounts are 10% savings. We also do combination discounts, meaning that if you book a morning manatee tour and an afternoon airboat we will offer you a discount. Custom packages are available for large groups, just call or email for details.

What about weather conditions?


Rarely do we ever have to cancel because of weather conditions...a little rain doesn’t stop us! Because we are on the coast, storms will often move through quite quickly and even if we delay it will not take away from your tour time. Our boats are covered to protect you and your belongings from the elements if you wish to stay dry. If we need to cancel because of inclement weather you will be offered a refund, reschedule or gift certificate.

What is your cancellation policy?


We require (5) days advance notice if you can not make your scheduled tour reservation. We pre-charge all credit cards to guarantee the seats and we do not process cash refunds for short notice cancellations. This is consistent with an airline, hotel and other swim with manatee tour companies. Our Captains are scheduled according to the number of guests we have any given day, and we appreciate your
commitment to be on time and honor your reservation. If you do need to cancel last minute, please contact as ASAP and we will offer you gift certificates with no expiration date or a chance at another tour time.

  • Duration : 3 Hours (approx.)
From USD $59.00

Enter Number of Participants *

Choose a Time *

Book Now
Semi-Private VIP Manatee Tour - Pontoon of Privilege (4 hr Heated) - Crystal River × SOLD OUT SOLD OUT Book Now 7 Available Book Now 16 Available Book Now 14 Available Book Now 11 Available
Semi-Private VIP Manatee Tour - Pontoon of Privilege  (4 hr Heated) - Crystal River

Semi-Private VIP Manatee Tour - Pontoon of Privilege (4 hr Heated) - Crystal River

We will let you in on a secret! You can get the high-end experience, with an affordable price tag! Our new luxury pontoon aims to amp up the manatee encounter and deliver a more personal event! This boat is enclosed and heated for winter.

Enjoy the unique privilege that is exclusively ours here in Citrus County Florida by swimming with the manatees in the spring-fed King’s Bay Wildlife Refuge! Crystal River is home to the world’s largest population of endangered manatee during the winter season, and even a small population in the warm months.  Having the chance to encounter these curious, gentle giants in their natural habitat is an adventure that your family will never forget!

Embark on your journey with a Coast Guard Certified Master Captain and in water chaperone, educator and photographer. Your tour will run four hours from start to finish and everything you will need is included for one price. You will begin at our full-service tour facility, where you will be educated about the animals in a classroom type setting and receive tips for your snorkel tour to make the most of your day. You will be taught the in’s and out’s of ‘passive interaction’ as this ensures that the animals enjoy the experience as much as we do! You will then be suited up and transported to the dock, where a Coast Guard certified covered pontoon will be waiting for you. This rich estuary will amaze…..birds, fish and wildlife abound! Submerge yourself in the manatee’s world! Finish your adventure by viewing your Captain’s photos back at our facility and be sure to visit our one-of-a-kind gift shop! Our well-informed staff will direct to other local attractions, restaurants and answer of your questions before you are on your way.

We guarantee that after you meet our friendly gentle-giants you will never be the same! You will never forget your adventures here in Crystal River, and chances are - we will see you again!

Be treated like royalty on our Komfort Kruiser and see the Wildlife Refuge in style! Customized, luxury pontoon seats up to six and offers you a comfortable, more personalized 4 hour excursion! 

  • Coffee, tea, hot cocoa, juice, water and Captain’s cocktails included
  • In water tour guide and photographer provided at no extra charge
  • Maximum capacity of 6 people
  • Fully enclosed and heated during the winter months
  • Mask, snorkel, wetsuit all included
  • Photo package available at the end of your tour for an additional charge
  • Departing from River Ventures - Crystal River

Available 7 days a week

Check out our SUNSET VIP Manatee Snorkel for additional availability on this boat!


*PLEASE BE ADVISED OF CURRENT TOUR CONDITIONS*


*Remember that once the weather starts to get warm in March, manatee begin their migration away from the springs and become more elusive. It is very important in the warm seasons to have REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS about how many animals you will see, under what conditions and how long it may take to find them. The COLD weather brings them to the area to enjoy our fresh water springs, but once the Gulf temps begin to warm, the manatee become more difficult to find and tend to be located closer to food sources where the water is not always clear. Also, spring brings hundreds of people to the area hoping for a glimpse of these amazing animals…COME EARLY MORNING if you hope to avoid the crowds. We add tours later in the day as capacity demands, but conditions deteriorate as the day goes on.  If you are hoping to see dozens of manatee in clear spring water, than a springtime visit may disappoint.  If you need more details about what to expect when visiting us in spring or summer, please visit our conditions page or call us anytime! We are always honest about conditions and encourage our visitors to do their research!

*THREE SISTERS SPRINGS is managed by US Fish and Wildlife who reserves the right to close the area to swimmers at any time. During cold spells when the animals are thermoregulating in the spring area, it will be closed to avoid harassment and ensure the animals can rest. We MAY OR MAY NOT be able to access this one acre spring (part of the 600 acre refuge area) and that is something we can not predict from day to day. Only parties with an in-water guide will be allowed into both Three Sisters and King Spring during ‘Manatee Season’


WHAT TO BRING


Wear your bathing suit...that way you are ready for a quick change into the wetsuit. Bring a towel, most people will bring these along on the boat. Keep season and air temps in mind. If it is cooler, it is a great idea to bring a sweatshirt, jacket or even a full set of loose fitting clothing to slip on after you get out of the water. If you have young children, this is especially important, be prepared with warm clothes....always better safe than sorry! The pontoon is open, with a bimini style top, so being prepared for the elements is important. Warm clothes, hat, sunscreen, etc. The water here is always 72 degrees, and for some that is quite chilly! Feel free to bring a bag onboard the boat to keep your personal items, but we HIGHLY recommend not bringing anything of value on board the boat. During warmer weather most people will wear their wetsuits back to the shop and change into their clothes when they return from the trip. Bring what you feel you need, but no worries we will take care of the details! On the VIP we provide you with bottled water and other assorted beverages, but you are welcome to bring whatever else you would like!


Tour Info


It is very important to have realistic expectations when it comes to a wild animal encounter! Every trip is different and the experience is unique for each individual. In the cooler weather the animals migrate to this area and congregate here for the protection of the warm water springs; when the weather warms they can move about going wherever they want! These are wild animals and we can not control their migration. Manatee spend their lives searching for food, mates, sleeping and playing....it is hard to predict what state they will be in when we encounter them. The early mornings tend to be the best time to find the animals and best chance of seeing them near the springs where the water tends to be more clear. Remember it is very simple, cold weather = many manatee; warmer weather=lower manatee counts and more time looking for these endangered animals. Even seeing a few manatee is a phenomenal adventure! With your private VIP adventure, you get 4 hours on the water and this can make a huge difference. More time on the water equals more chances to see wildlife and create memories!

How long is the Manatee Swim Tour?


The semi-private VIP tour is a 4 hour adventure. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT THAT YOU ARRIVE NO LATER THAN YOUR SCHEDULED TOUR TIME!! Our boats operate on a schedule ....and it can be very difficult to deviate from that for a late party. Don’t miss the boat.....please arrive on time!


Do you provide us with an in-water Tour Guide?


Yes, we provide a US Coast Guard Licensed Master Captain AND an in water Chaperone, tour guide and photographer! We take pride in having the best Captains and guides in the business and they go above and beyond to ensure that your group has a safe, pleasant and educational experience. Our Captains are all Certified Eco-Tour guides through the Manatee Ecotourism Association in conjunction with USFW.....they do not only know how to drive a boat, but they are stewards for these animals and this eco-system, doing their best to stay abreast of all the latest in scientific research. They will ‘model’ the proper behavior to assure that the manatee are treated with the utmost respect......this is their house, we are just the visitors! Your guide will also take photos, from the boat, underwater and all around. These photos are available at the shop after your tour....that way you do not have to worry about your own camera and it’s a great way to take these memories home with you!


Are there rules we have to follow when we Snorkel With Manatee?


Absolutely! Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act and it is quite a privilege that we get to have this sort of encounter! Both the State and Federal Government oversee the protection of these animals and the guidelines get stricter every year. These laws are in place to help protect the animals and they will be enforced here in the Wildlife Refuge, people can be ticketed, fined and removed from the water if behavior is deemed inappropriate or illegal. When you arrive at the shop prior to your tour we will cover all the dos and don’ts so you are fully informed before you hit the water!


How long is the boat ride to the manatee?


There is not ‘one spot’ that we go to look for manatee and there is not ‘one area’ that we visit every day, every tour. We go where we can find animals. In the winter time, that may be a short 8 to 12 minute ride to a spring. But in the warmer weather, we may have to look for much longer. In the cold weather we have many in the area and it typically does not take long to find them, but when it gets warm patience is a requirement! With our enclosed houseboat you will be comfortable on even the chilliest winter day!


How many manatee will we see?


Please remember that manatees are an endangered species and seeing even one of these majestic beasts is a great privilege. Our tours are conducted in their natural habitat and they are free to come and go as they please. No two days are ever the same, and no two tour times are the same either. Weather, tidal influences and time of the year affect the conditions daily and it can never be predicted just how many manatees you will see. During the colder months we have a large concentration, but if there is a considerable warm spell they will become difficult to find. Because this unique eco-system is a prime manatee habitat, we have a small resident population even in the summer. We never guarantee that you will find or encounter manatee and how many you see is tough for us to predict as well.


Can I ride the boat and not swim? What if I do not know how to swim?


We always welcome observers and you can often see the manatee from the boat. They sometimes come very close and give you an awesome view! We are only allowed so many passengers on the boats, so an observer does have to pay for that seat. Bring your cameras and binoculars and enjoy the surroundings of the refuge! If you are not a strong swimmer then you must use your own judgment. Are you comfortable in the water with a floatation device? Do you get anxious and upset in the water? We must remain calm and still near the animals, so ‘swimming’ is not as important as being able to relax and float!

What about weather conditions?


Rarely do we ever have to cancel because of weather conditions...a little rain doesn’t stop us! Because we are on the coast, storms will often move through quite quickly and even if we delay it will not take away from your tour time. If we need to cancel because of inclement weather you will be offered a refund, reschedule or gift certificate. It’s a good idea to prepare for worst case scenario on the VIP pontoon.

What is your cancellation policy?


We require (5) days advance notice if you can not make your scheduled tour reservation. We pre-charge all credit cards to guarantee the seats and we do not process cash refunds for short notice cancellations. This is consistent with an airline, hotel and other swim with manatee tour companies. Our Captains are scheduled according to the number of guests we have any given day, and we appreciate your commitment to be on time and honor your reservation. If you do need to cancel last minute, please contact as ASAP and we will offer you gift certificates with no expiration date or a chance at another tour time.

  • Duration : 4 Hours (approx.)
From USD $84.00

Enter Number of Participants *

Choose a Time *

Book Now
Semi-Private Premium Houseboat Manatee Tour - The Outstanding Odyssey (4hr Heated) - Crystal River × × × Sold Out × × ×
Semi-Private Premium Houseboat Manatee Tour - The Outstanding Odyssey (4hr Heated) - Crystal River

Semi-Private Premium Houseboat Manatee Tour - The Outstanding Odyssey (4hr Heated) - Crystal River

Our manatee snorkel tour is not to be missed! Doing it with a small group of like-minded individuals makes the experience even more breathtaking! Our semi-private houseboat is a comfortable ride, with heat, bathroom, snacks and hot cocoa.

This sleek vessel gives new meaning to the term ‘Bay Windows’! Whether it is just you or a few friends who would like to embark on the manatee snorkel experience there are many options…..This is one of our favorites! Highly recommended by Manatee Fun staff is our one- of- a- kind houseboat. The large windows fill the cabin with light and provide nearly 360 degree line of sight plus a unique rooftop viewing platform for when the boat is anchored. What an incredible sight! Spacious and heated, ride in comfort no matter how chilly the winter winds blow! Sit on the couch overlooking the Refuge waters, sip on your hot cocoa and feel all your worries melt away!!

  • Tour is approximately 4 hours from start to finish
  • Wetsuit, snorkel, mask all included
  • Snacks, water and hot cocoa served
  • Fully enclosed with heated cabin and bathroom
  • Boat seats a maximum of 6 people

*PLEASE BE ADVISED OF CURRENT TOUR CONDITIONS*

*During warm weather we have a small number of manatee. Your best chance to see animals and avoid CROWDS is to go on the earliest tour possible. There is never a guarantee to see wild manatees and the refuge is very busy by 9am. Even in winter months, if there is a warming trend, manatee numbers will decrease significantly. Please have realistic expectations regarding wildlife. 

*THREE SISTERS SPRINGS is managed by US Fish and Wildlife who reserves the right to close the area to swimmers at any time. During cold spells when the animals are thermoregulating in the spring area, it will be closed to avoid harassment and ensure the animals can rest. We MAY OR MAY NOT be able to access this one acre spring (part of the 600 acre refuge area) and that is something we can not predict from day to day. Only parties with an in-water guide will be allowed into both Three Sisters and King Spring during ‘Manatee Season’

What to bring

Wear your bathing suit...that way you are ready for a quick change into the wetsuit. Bring a towel, people will bring these along on the boat. Keep season and air temps in mind. If it is cooler, it is a great idea to bring a sweatshirt, jacket or even a full set of loose fitting clothing to slip on after you get out of the water. If you have young children, this is especially important, be prepared with warm clothes....always better safe than sorry! The water here is always 72 degrees, and for some that is quite chilly! Feel free to bring a bag onboard the boat to keep your personal items, but we HIGHLY recommend not bringing anything of value on board the boat. During warmer weather most people will wear their wetsuits back to the shop and change into their clothes when they return from the trip. Bring what you feel you need, but no worries we will take care of the details! As a private tour you are welcome to bring snacks or a cooler. On the houseboat we provide you with snacks, hot beverages if desired and bottled water, but you are welcome to bring whatever else you would like to bring!

Tour Info 

It is very important to have realistic expectations when it comes to a wild animal encounter! Every trip is different and the experience is unique for each
individual. In the cooler weather the animals migrate to this area and congregate here for the protection of the warm water springs; when the weather warms they can move about going wherever they want! These are wild animals and we can not control their migration. Manatee spend their lives searching for food, mates, sleeping and playing....it is hard to predict what state they will be in when we encounter them. The early mornings tend to be the best time to find the animals and best chance of seeing them near the springs where the water tends to be more clear. Remember it is very simple, cold weather = many manatee; warmer weather=lower manatee counts and more time looking for these endangered animals. Even seeing a few manatee is a phenomenal adventure! With our private houseboat, you get 4 hours instead of 3 and this extra hour can make a huge difference. One more hour on the water equals more opportunity to view wildlife and create awesome memories!

Where do we meet?

We meet at our full service Manatee Tour and Educational facility in Crystal River…we call it The Manatee Mecca!! You will be checked in, and
offered complimentary coffee, tea or hot cocoa. Upon tour time, we take you into a classroom type setting where we learn about the animals, the eco-system and watch a short video of rules required by the US Fish and Wildlife. This is a wildlife refuge and it is very important that we fully inform you as to what the rules are and how to behave if you hope to view a manatee up close! We will fit you for a wetsuit, direct you to our climate controlled changing rooms and gather up your group. We take care of transporting you to the dock where your Captain is waiting for you! After your tour, we will drive you back to River Ventures Manatee Mecca. You can help yourself to coffee and cocoa, use the restrooms and changing rooms, check out the gift shop and view the photos from your adventure!

How long is the Manatee Swim Tour?

This houseboat is a 4 hour adventure. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT THAT YOU ARRIVE NO LATER THAN YOUR SCHEDULED TOUR TIME!! Our boats operate on a schedule ....and it can be very difficult to deviate from that for a late party. Don’t miss the boat.....please arrive on time!

Is the boat covered? What about a bathroom?

Our houseboat is cozy and fully enclosed. It is heated, with a front and back deck, so you can enjoy the comfort of the cabin or the fresh air outside. One of the great benefits of the houseboat is that there is a full stand up bathroom, with a flushable toilet. Between the heat and the bathroom, you will be the envy of all on the waterway!

How Many People do you take on your boats?

The houseboat accommodates 6 passengers with comfort. Keep in mind that even if your group is very small, we can not control the amount of people on the water. We go on a manatee search and all the tour companies go where animals are found......so after 10 am, especially on weekends, Holidays or during manatee season, the waterways can get very crowded with people. Remember this is the last place in Florida where we can share the animal’s natural habitat so getting out early to beat the crowds almost always ensures a better experience! On the early tour you get out while the refuge is at its quietest and the manatee are still in their most relaxed state. We know it’s early....but it tends to be the best experience for our customers so we don’t mind the wake-up call! If you have a larger group we can put you on one of our many larger boats. We can accommodate a small or very large group.

Do you have a wetsuit that will fit me? Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

We have wetsuits for children to adults up to 5x. These are full wetsuits, 3mm that are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized daily with hospital grade. We do require that you wear a wetsuit while on a tour with River Ventures....this helps for many reasons. The wetsuits keep you warm and buoyant we must stay at the surface of the water without diving down towards the animals. We do our best here to ‘float with Manatee’, staying still and calm so we do not stir up the water or scare the animals away. If they are sleeping or eating we must not disturb them during observation and the wetsuits can help us
keep still as to not disturb their natural behavior. If you have your own gear that you would like to use we encourage you to do whatever makes you most comfortable. If you choose to bring your own gear keep in mind that this is a shallow water snorkel, so advanced diving gear is not needed. We no longer use fins, and they will not be allowed around the manatee. Use of fins can stir up the water affecting visibility, and also can give the perception of chasing. We never need to be faster than the manatee, we remain calm and let them approach us!

Do you provide us with an in-water tour guide?

Our US Coast Guard Licensed Master Captain will be your in water Chaperone, tour guide and photographer! We take pride in having the best Captains in the business and they go above and beyond to ensure that your group has a safe, pleasant and educational experience. Our Captains are all Certified Eco-Tour guides through the Manatee Ecotourism Association in conjunction with USFW.....they do not only know how to drive a boat, but they are stewards for these animals and this eco-system, doing their best to stay abreast of all the latest in scientific research. They will ‘model’ the proper behavior to assure that the manatee are treated with the utmost respect......this is their house, we are just the visitors! Your Captain will also take photos, from the boat, underwater and all around. These photos are available at the shop after your tour....that way you do not have to worry about your own camera and it’s a great way to take these memories home with you!

Are there rules we have to follow when we Snorkel With Manatee?

Absolutely! Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act and it is quite a privilege that we get to have this sort of encounter! Both the State and Federal Government oversee the protection of these animals and the guidelines get stricter every year. These laws are in place to help protect the animals and they will be enforced here in the Wildlife Refuge, people can be ticketed, fined and removed from the water if behavior is deemed inappropriate or illegal. When you arrive at the shop prior to your tour we will cover all the dos and don’ts so you are fully informed before you hit the water!

How long is the boat ride to the manatee?

There is not ‘one spot’ that we go to look for manatee and there is not ‘one area’ that we visit every day, every tour. We go where we can find
animals. In the winter time, that may be a short 8 to 12 minute ride to a spring. But in the warmer weather, we may have to look for much longer. In the
cold weather we have many in the area and it typically does not take long to find them, but when it gets warm patience is a requirement! With our enclosed houseboat you will be comfortable on even the chilliest winter day!

How many manatee will we see?

Please remember that manatees are an endangered species and seeing even one of these majestic beasts is a great privilege. Our tours are conducted in their natural habitat and they are free to come and go as they please. No two days are ever the same, and no two tour times are the same either Weather, tidal influences and time of the year affect the conditions daily and it can never be predicted just how many manatees you will see. During the colder months we have a large concentration, but if there is a considerable warm spell they will become difficult to find. Because this unique eco-system is a prime manatee habitat, we have a small resident population even in the summer. We never guarantee that you will find or encounter manatee and how many you see is tough for us to predict as well.

Can I Ride the Boat and Not Swim? What if I do not know how to swim?

We always welcome observers and you can often see the manatee from the boat. They sometimes come very close and give you an awesome view! We are only allowed so many passengers on the boats, so an observer does have to pay for that seat. Bring your cameras and binoculars and enjoy the surroundings of the refuge! If you are not a strong swimmer then you must use your own judgment. Are you comfortable in the water with a floatation device? Do you get anxious and upset in the water? We must remain calm and still near the animals, so ‘swimming’ is not as important as being able to relax and float!

Are there age limits?

Children must be at least 3 to go on the group tours, but younger babies are allowed on a private tour. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, and very young children must understand enough to be calm and quiet in order to not scare the animals away. Children should be comfortable in the water and parents should stay close at all times for safety. We have wetsuits in all sizes and provide snorkel vests and flotation noodles if kids need a bit of assistance staying at the surface without swimming.

What about weather conditions?

Rarely do we ever have to cancel because of weather conditions...a little rain doesn’t stop us! Because we are on the coast, storms will often move
through quite quickly and even if we delay it will not take away from your tour time. Our boats are covered to protect you and your belongings from the elements if you wish to stay dry. If we need to cancel because of inclement weather you will be offered a refund, reschedule or gift certificate.

What is your cancellation policy?

We require (5) days advance notice if you can not make your scheduled tour reservation. We pre-charge all credit cards to guarantee the seats and we do not process cash refunds for short notice cancellations. This is consistent with an airline, hotel and other swim with manatee tour companies. Our Captains are scheduled according to the number of guests we have any given day, and we appreciate your commitment to be on time and honor your reservation. If you do need to cancel last minute, please contact as ASAP and we will offer you gift certificates with no expiration date or a chance at another tour time.

  • Duration : 4 Hours (approx.)
From USD $84.00

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Semi-Private Houseboat Manatee Tour - The Manatee Confidential (3hr Heated) - Crystal River × Sold Out Book Now 9 Available Book Now 6 Available Book Now 12 Available Book Now 12 Available Book Now 6 Available
Semi-Private Houseboat Manatee Tour - The Manatee Confidential (3hr Heated) - Crystal River

Semi-Private Houseboat Manatee Tour - The Manatee Confidential (3hr Heated) - Crystal River

Crystal River’s best kept secret delivers the experience of a high end semi-private tour at an affordable price! This adventure is 3 hours from start to finish and is only available for up to 6 participants.

Shhh…we have a secret! Our Manatee Fun Houseboat is an awesome semi-private option. You get to enjoy the personal attention of being with a small group but pay just a portion of the price of private tours! Manatee Fun specializes in accommodating less than 6 passengers per vessel, and that can make a huge difference when it comes to the quality of your encounter.

As one of the cleanest, most stylish vessels on King’s Bay,  you’ll be the envy of other visitors who are often times disappointed at the condition of their tour boat. On cold days we close the windows and doors and turn up the heat to take the chill off and keep you comfortable. On the warm, summer days the insulated walls keep you cool and protected from the Florida sun. At Manatee Fun, we care about your experience and our reputation so we strive to go above and beyond!

Enjoy the unique privilege that is exclusively ours here in Citrus County Florida by swimming with the manatees in the spring-fed King’s Bay Wildlife Refuge! Crystal River is home to the world’s largest population of endangered manatee during the winter season, and even a small population the warm months.  Having the chance to encounter these curious, gentle giants in their natural habitat is an adventure that your family will never forget!


Embark on your journey with a Coast Guard Certified Master Captain and an in water chaperone, educator and photographer. This tour will run three hours from start to finish and everything you will need is included for one price. You will begin at our full-service tour facility, where you will be educated about the animals in a classroom type setting and receive tips for your snorkel tour to make the most of your day. You will be taught the in’s and out’s of ‘passive interaction’ as this ensures that the animals enjoy the experience as much as we do! You will then be suited up and transported to the dock, where your Manatee Fun House Boat will be waiting for you.

King’s Bay’s rich estuary will amaze…..birds, fish and wildlife abound! Submerge yourself in the manatee’s world! Finish your adventure by viewing your Guide’s photos back at our facility and be sure to visit our one-of-a-kind gift shop! Our well-informed staff will direct to other local attractions, restaurants and answer of your questions before you are on your way.


We guarantee that after you meet our friendly gentle-giants you will never be the same! You won’t forget your adventures here in Crystal River, and chances are - we will see you again!


  • Bottled  water  provided
  • In water tour guide and photographer provided at no extra charge
  • Fully enclosed  houseboat with bench seating
  • Boat commode with curtain to pull for emergencies
  • Mask, snorkel, wetsuit all included
  • Photo package available at the end of your tour for an additional charge
  • Departing from the Manatee Headquarters at River Ventures - Crystal River
Available 7 days a week

  • Duration : 3 Hours (approx.)
From USD $64.00

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Manatee Swim and Paddle Tour - The Manatee Paddle - Crystal River × × Book Now 2 Available Book Now 1 Available Book Now 12 Available Book Now 12 Available SOLD OUT
Manatee Swim and Paddle Tour - The Manatee Paddle - Crystal River

Manatee Swim and Paddle Tour - The Manatee Paddle - Crystal River

A unique and fun way to enjoy our privileges here in King’s Bay. We provide a shuttle boat, experienced Captain and your chosen paddle craft. Snorkel, ride or paddle on; we will find the Manatee and the choice is yours!

NEW and UNIQUE - Our guided "Manatee Paddle" with a shuttle boat for your assistance

Viewing manatee from a boat is a beautiful thing, but viewing them from your own paddle craft is an awesome experience! For those of you who would like to swim with Manatee's and combine it with paddling, this is the perfect opportunity.

NO PADDLE ACCESS TO 3 SISTERS SPRINGS from Nov. 15th - March 31st.

The idea is to have a boat with an experienced Captain to help you locate the Manatee, instead of having to paddle for hours to possibly find them on your own! The shuttle boat will also be close by, so if you’d like a  break from paddling then get on the boat and relax!  To begin your adventure, you will arrive at our shop and prepare for the Manatee encounter; gear, wet suit and all you need is included in your tour price. You will be transported from our facility to a shuttle boat where your paddle craft and Captain are waiting. You will explore the refuge in capable hands from a safe environment, and disembark on your own kayak or SUP when you are comfortable. You will have the opportunity to snorkel with manatees if you wish, or stay topside and take it all in as you paddle! This is a unique and fun way to view this ecosystem and get up close with these amazing animals, even in the warm months when they can be tougher to find.


Pick your poison! Would you like to experience the Wildlife Refuge from a Kayak or maybe try a Stand Up Paddle Board? This tour provides a pilot boat driven by a Master Captain that will act as your guide and instructor increasing your chance of finding wildlife and assisting paddlers on the adventure. 


· Paddle guide and short training for beginners

· Your choice of Kayak or Paddle Board

· Mask, snorkel, wetsuit, life jacket included

· 4 hour tour in warmer months, 3 hour tour in colder months (Nov 20  - mid March) 

· Bottled water, deck bungee

· Tour requires moderate physical activity


*PLEASE BE ADVISED OF CURRENT TOUR CONDITIONS*

*Remember that once the weather starts to get warm in March, manatee begin their migration away from the springs and become more elusive. It is very important in the warm seasons to have REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS about how many animals you will see, under what conditions and how long it may take to find them. The COLD weather brings them to the area to enjoy our fresh water springs, but once the Gulf temps begin to warm, the manatee become more difficult to find and tend to be located closer to food sources where the water is not always clear. Also, spring brings hundreds of people to the area hoping for a glimpse of these amazing animals…COME EARLY MORNING if you hope to avoid the crowds. We add tours later in the day as capacity demands, but conditions deteriorate as the day goes on.  If you are hoping to see dozens of manatee in clear spring water, than a springtime visit may disappoint.  If you need more details about what to expect when visiting us in spring or summer, please visit our conditions page or call us anytime! We are always honest about conditions and encourage our visitors to do their research!

*THREE SISTERS SPRINGS is managed by US Fish and Wildlife who reserves the right to close the area to swimmers at any time. During cold spells when the animals are thermoregulating in the spring area, it will be closed to avoid harassment and ensure the animals can rest. We MAY OR MAY NOT be able to access this one acre spring (part of the 600 acre refuge area) and that is something we can not predict from day to day. Only parties with an in-water guide will be allowed into both Three Sisters and King Spring during ‘Manatee Season’

Tour Info

It is very important to have realistic expectations when it comes to a wild animal encounter! Every trip is different and the experience is unique for each individual. In the cooler weather the animals migrate to this area and congregate here for the protection of the warm water springs; when the weather warms they can move about going wherever they want! These are wild animals and we can not control their migration. Manatee spend their lives searching for food, mates, sleeping and playing....it is hard to predict what state they will be in when we encounter them. The early mornings tend to be the best time to find the animals and best chance of seeing them near the springs where the water tends to be more clear. Remember it is very simple, cold weather = many manatee; warmer weather=lower manatee counts and more time looking for these endangered animals. Even seeing a few manatee is a phenomenal adventure!

What do I bring?

Wear your bathing suit...that way you are ready for a quick change into the wetsuit. Bring a towel, most people will bring these along and keep on the boat and apply sunscreen. Keep season and air temps in mind. If it is cooler, it is a great idea to bring a sweatshirt, jacket or even a full set of loose fitting clothing to slip on after you get out of the water. If you have children, this is especially important, be prepared with warm clothes....always better safe than sorry! The water here is always 72 degrees, and for some that is quite chilly! Feel free to bring a bag onboard the boat to keep your personal items, but we HIGHLY recommend not bringing anything of value on board the boat. During warmer weather most people will wear their wetsuits back to the shop and change into their clothes when they return from the trip. Bring what you feel you need, but no worries we will take care of the details!


Where do we meet?


We meet at our full service Manatee Tour and Educational facility in Crystal River. You will be checked in, and offered complimentary coffee, tea or hot cocoa. Upon tour time, we take you into a classroom type setting where we learn about the animals, the eco-system and watch a short video of rules required by the US Fish and Wildlife. This is a wildlife refuge and it is very important that we fully inform you as to what the rules are and how to behave if you hope to view a manatee up close! We will fit you for a wetsuit, direct you to our climate controlled changing rooms and gather up your group. We take care of transporting you the very short drive to the dock, where your Captain and paddlecraft is waiting for you! After your tour, we will drive you back to River Ventures. You can help yourself to coffee and cocoa, use the restrooms and changing rooms, check out the gift shop and view the photos from your adventure!


Are the boats covered? What about bathrooms?


Our manatee boats are all fully covered with clear vinyl enclosures that can be rolled up or down depending on weather conditions. Each boat is also equipped with a flushable porta-potty inside a curtained privacy area that can be used as a changing room for those that wish to put on dry clothing for the short ride back to the dock.


How many people do you take on your manatee paddle tours?


This varies greatly from day to day; however as of now we can not take out more than 6 people on the paddle tours. The group stays together and needs to react to Captain’s instructions quickly in
order to see an animal.


Are there rules we have to follow when we Snorkel with Manatee or paddle near them?


Absolutely! Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act and it is quite a privilege that we get to have this sort of encounter! Both the State and Federal Government oversee the protection of these animals and the guidelines get stricter every year. These laws are in place to help protect the animals and they will be enforced here in the Wildlife Refuge, people can be ticketed, fined and removed from the water if behavior is deemed inappropriate or illegal. When you arrive at the shop prior to your tour we will cover all the dos and don’ts so you are fully informed before you hit the water!


How long is the paddle to see the manatee?


There is not ‘one spot’ that we go to look for manatee and there is not ‘one area’ that we visit every day, every tour. We go where we can find animals. In the winter time, that may be a short 8 to 12 minute ride to a spring. But in the warmer weather, we may have to look for much longer. Keep in mind when you are paddling, it can be physically demanding and require us to cover a lot of ground especially during the warm weather. In the cold weather we have many in the area and it typically does not take long to find them, but when it gets warm patience and perseverance is a requirement!


How many manatee will we see?


Please remember that manatees are an endangered species and seeing even one of these majestic beasts is a great privilege. Our tours are conducted in their natural habitat and they are free to come and go as they please. No two days are ever the same, and no two tour times are the same either. Weather, tidal influences and time of the year affect the conditions daily and it can never be predicted just how many manatees you will see. During the colder months we have a large concentration, but if there is a considerable warm spell they will become difficult to find. Because this unique eco-system is a prime manatee habitat, we have a small resident population even in the summer. We never guarantee that you will find or encounter manatee and how many you see is tough for us to predict as well.


Can I ride the boat and not swim? What if I do not know how to swim?


We always welcome observers and you can often see the manatee from the boat. They sometimes come very close and give you an awesome view! We are only allowed so many passengers on the boats, so an observer does have to pay for that seat. Bring your cameras and binoculars and enjoy the surroundings of the refuge! If you are not a strong swimmer then you must use your own judgment. Are you comfortable in the water with a floatation device? Do you get anxious and upset in the water? We must remain calm and still near the animals, so ‘swimming’ is not as important as being able to relax and float! If someone wishes to ride the boat and not paddle thats fine too, but they will still need to reserve and pay for their seat. 


Paddle? Swim? Both? How does this work exactly??


So many people have a desire to paddle here on the Refuge waters, they of course almost always hope to see manatee. This tour is designed to keep you close to a highly qualified ‘manatee hunter’ so you have a better chance to find animals from a kayak. When your Captain spots manatee, you will be instructed to QUICKLY AND QUIETLY paddle to the boat, grab your gear and enter the water if you desire to snorkel with the animals. You are always welcome to stay on your paddle craft if you don’t want to get wet! We often refer to this adventure as the ‘Surf and Turf’, because you get a bit of both experiences all in one package! Remember; listen to your Captain to make the most of this experience.


Can I go back to the boat if I get tired?


The paddle is designed to have you in close proximity to the pilot boat at all times. If you get tired, you can tie up your kayak and hop on the boat. After you swim, you may want to ride the boat back to relax and enjoy the enclosed environment in the cooler months. We always ask that you communicate with your Captain because he or she is responsible for you!


Are there age limits?


Children over 5 years of age are allowed on the group paddle tours, but it is recommended for older kids with at least moderate paddling ability. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, and very young children must understand enough to be calm and quiet in order to not scare the animals away. Children should be comfortable in the water and parents should stay close at all times for safety. We have wetsuits in all sizes and provide snorkel vests and floatation noodles if kids need a bit of assistance staying at the surface without swimming.


What about weather conditions?


Rarely do we ever have to cancel because of weather conditions...a little rain doesn’t stop us! Because we are on the coast, storms will often move through quite quickly and even if we delay it will not take away from your tour time. Our boats are covered to protect you and your belongings from the elements if you wish to stay dry. If we need to cancel because of inclement weather you will be offered a refund, reschedule or gift certificate. As a paddle tour, weather can be more of an issue and we try to be flexible. For instance, if there are high winds and paddling would be difficult we would offer the entire group an Endangered Encounter instead of a paddle. If all agree, we would refund the difference between the snorkel and the paddle and still get you out there! We do our best to work with our guests as most come a very long way for this adventure!


What is your cancellation policy?

We require (5) days advance notice if you can not make your scheduled tour reservation. We pre-charge all credit cards to guarantee the seats and we do not process cash refunds for short notice cancellations. This is consistent with an airline, hotel and other swim with manatee tour companies. Our Captains are scheduled according to the number of guests we have any given day, and we appreciate your commitment to be on time and honor your reservation. If you do need to cancel last minute, please contact ASAP and we will offer you gift certificates with no expiration date or a chance at another tour time. 

  • Duration : 4 Hours (approx.)
From USD $74.00

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