Frequently Asked Questions About Swimming with Manatees

In order to assist you in planning a manatee tour, we have compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions. This should help you to learn about us and assist you in making reservations. We have provided directions to both the Nature Coast and to our pickup point.

Swimming with the manatees has been described as a spiritual experience. Additionally we have provided information on things to do in the local area, including accommodations and dining establishments. Our hope is that your visit to Crystal River will be memorable as well as fun.

How much does a Manatee Tour cost?

Costs vary from $35 – $99. We have specials throughout the year. Call for current prices.

What is your cancellation policy?

We require a 7 day notice on cancellations in order to receive a refund. This will ensure that we can rebook your seat since our policy is to only allow 15 persons per trip.

Are you available for group tours?

To ensure comfort for our passengers and the tranquility of the manatees we only schedule up to 15 persons on our 24 passenger tour boat. Our Ultimate Manatee tour is equipped with covered houseboats and accommodates only 6 persons on each tour.

Do you do dive instruction?

Yes, our associate is a certified PADI instructor.

Do you give scuba diving trips?

Yes. We have partners that will accommodate you for diving the King’s Springs in Crystal River.

I like to kayak. Can I rent a kayak?

I have kayaks for rent. Please visit my kayak rental website for more information.

Are there close by accommodations or home rentals?

For overnight lodging we recommend The Holiday Inn Express 1-352-563-1111 Book Online crystal-river/crtfl/hoteldetail Note: Holiday Inn Express offers our clients a 15% discount on rooms. In order to receive this discount you must call Holiday Inn Express directly. Call 352-563-1111 and mention “Sunshine River Tours”. For more information and other accommodations please click here.

How do I find you?

Here are driving directions to the Nature Coast and Crystal River, Florida. Directions Driving times are: 1.5-2 hours from Orlando, Tampa, Gainesville; 3 hours from Jacksonville; 3 hours from Sarasota; 3.5 hours from Tallahassee; 6 hours from Miami.

Are there age limits?

There are no age limits, just the ability to swim.

Why do you recommend wet suits?

The water temperature in the Crystal River and Homosassa River is a constant 72 degrees year around. This may seem warm but prolonged exposure could result in hypothermia. Therefore we recommend a wetsuit.

How long will we be in the water?

Manatee tours last approximately 3-3.5 hours.

What sort of protection from the weather can we expect aboard the tour boat?

Our boat is covered with clear plastic that can be raised or lowered and our boat is solar heated. Since we are only minutes from the springs weather is rarely a concern. However, we will cancel because of lightning activity.

Where do I change clothes?

You can change into a wetsuit in our shop. Additionally we have a curtained area on the boat that can be closed off to ensure privacy while changing.

What do I need to bring?

Bathing suit and towel. A sweat suit is recommended for after the swim.

How do I snorkel? I’ve never snorkeled before.

Your captain or mate will assist you in the water. For most it only takes a few minutes to become accustomed to snorkeling.

How big are the manatees?

Manatees can reach up to 2000 lbs or more but are very gentle and curious mammals that love to play. For more facts click on Manatee Facts.

How deep is the water?

The Homosassa River averages 3-10 feet deep. The Crystal River is somewhat deeper.

Can I take pictures?

Yes, it sometimes seems the manatees are posing for you. See Manatee Photos from one of our guests.

What else is there to do in the area?

Capt Mike has compiled a list of things to do in our area and most do not require a reservation. Ask him for a copy when you arrive for your tour.

What times are your tours?

Check our times on tour sites.

Do you offer private swim tours?

Yes, but only for groups of 15 or more or on our Ultimate VIP Tour (minimum 2, maximum 6 guests).

How about scalloping?

Scalloping season is from July 1-Sept 10. Please visit our scallop page for more information.

Do you provide airport or hotel pickup?

Yes, from Orlando and Tampa. Our affiliate Wayne’s Taxi can pick you up at the hotel or airport. Rates are $90 each way to/from Tampa and Orlando. We can accommodate up to 10 passengers.

For reservations call: 352.564.8294

Our Tours

Tour A
Crystal River Manatee Tour
Swim with manatees in the Crystal River, the highest concentration of manatees worldwide.  7am & 10am.
Tour B
Crystal River Manatee Tour
Our later manatee tour on King's Bay. Since manatees tend to rest later in the day, this tour is only scheduled by request.
Tour C
Our 1st Class Manatee Tour!
Private manatee tour from 2-6 guests. Enclosed Houseboat, heated in Winter. Swimming with manatees in several springs.  YEAR ROUND. 8 AM Only.
The Best Scalloping Tour
Enjoy a peaceful day on the water, scalloping in the Crystal River Florida area. Scalloping Tour is $75/Per Person, No Minimum, Includes Fishing License, Mask, Fins and Snorkel