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Crystal River Tour with Everglades Airboat Ride and Optional Manatee Adventures

star-4.5
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Orlando, United States
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icon12 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English

Overview

Spend a day in one of central Florida’s natural manatee habitats on this guided cruise and Everglades airboat adventure. Begin with a boat ride on the Crystal River. Then, swim and snorkel in an area known for manatee sightings, and before an exciting airboat tour on the Withlacoochee River. Visit Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, one of the best places in the state to watch manatees, as well as other animals, such as bears, panthers, and alligators. Breakfast and a picnic lunch, plus an Orlando-area hotel pickup and drop-off are all included.
  • Wildlife adventure to the Crystal River and Withlacoochee River from Orlando
  • Take a narrated boat cruise along the Crystal River, and spend time hanging out in a natural manatee habitat
  • Enjoy a thrilling Everglades airboat tour on the Withlacoochee River
  • Visit Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to watch a manatee-feeding session and see bears, panthers, and alligators
  • Breakfast, a picnic lunch, and Orlando-area hotel transfers included
The day of sightseeing begins with breakfast in Orlando. Meet the guide and the rest of the tour group on a pickup from select locations. Then, head to Crystal River, the gem of Florida's beautiful coast and home to one of the world's largest populations of endangered West Indian manatees.

Out on the water with the provided equipment, take an optional swim or snorkel. Spend time hanging out in the manatee’s natural habitat alongside certified dive masters. Learn more about this harmless mammal and why it’s under threat due to a loss of habitat.

After the cruise, enjoy a picnic-style lunch overlooking the manatee sanctuary at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.

The adventure continues in the afternoon with an airboat tour along the Withlacoochee River. Keep an eye out for manatees, dolphins, and a variety of other wildlife. Finally, visit Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, one of the best places in the state to view manatees. Witness an entertaining and educational feeding session with a park ranger, then look for bears, panthers, alligators, or even a hippo while exploring the rest of the park.

The tour ends with a return trip to Orlando and hotel drop-off.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Crystal River
Your day starts in Orlando with breakfast. Then, it's off to join a team of manatee experts for a narrated boat cruise on the picturesque Crystal River, home to one of the world's largest populations of endangered West Indian manatees. Learn how this large, harmless aquatic mammal is under threat due to loss of habitat. With your provided mask and snorkel, you are encouraged to go for a swim in an area known for manatee sightings while under the guidance of certified dive masters.
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Wild Bill's Airboat Tours
After your cruise, enjoy a picnic-style lunch overlooking this beautiful sanctuary. Your adventure continues in the afternoon with a 30-minute airboat tour on the Homosassa River. During your airboat ride, keep your eyes peeled for manatees and dolphins, as well as a host of other wildlife.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
To end your day, visit Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, famous throughout Florida for its efforts in rehabilitating injured animals. You'll see more manatees during an informative and entertaining feeding session with a park ranger. You may also spot bears, panthers, alligators and even a hippo as you explore the rest of the park. Afterward, you'll be taken back to Orlando. Please note: Manatee season is from October to March. Sightings are very common, however as the animals are wild, no guarantee can be made.
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Included

Traveler Photos

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
188 Reviews
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
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1 star
Reviews by Viator travelers
star-5
Great Day's Adventure
CatherineJustright
, Mar 2020
An ample sack Breakfast and Lunch were provided (thank you!). Our boat Captain was Alex, in-water guide was Tayla, both did a great job answering questions and keeping the group together. We enjoyed a cool day, 64 degrees and a water temperature of 72 was the perfect combination to see a large number of manatees. We were able to swim with the manatees and saw a mother and pup among the herd. Our airboat Captain Craig (I think) must have the very best job in the world, beautiful river and airboat. What more do you need?
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
You are very correct the trip is so amazing that you do not need anything else. I am happy to hear that you had a great time on your tour. Please keep us in mind for your next tour.
star-5
Manatee fun
Janme
, Feb 2020
Great fun. Everyone helpful and friendly. Nice sack breakfast and lunches. We did bring extra snack and water, since teens eat a lot. Thank you!!
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Thank you for the comments! Being out in the nice central Florida air always makes you hungry! ;)
star-4
Manatee snorkel
Elizabeth O
, Dec 2019
Tyla was our snorkel guide and she was amazing. The airboat captain was amazing as well. The tour guide who drove the bus was nice, but you could tell he didn't want to be working. I understand why, being Christmas Eve and all, but it still was sad. He rushed us and made us feel bad if we werent on time. If time is such an issue, then they should make the tour have longer parameters. I still would do it again.
icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
Thank you so much for your feedback. Apologies you felt that way but I can ensure you that was not his intentions at all. We are very sorry that you felt that way about the guide. We are happy to hear you enjoyed the tour! Thank you again!
star-5
Manatees September 19
Wanderer709512
, Sep 2019
Great tour saw lots of manatees Maddy and Nicky great guide and driver Only disappointment was air boat ride being at slow speed due to flood area
icon Response from Host , Oct 2019
Thank you for your feedback! I am happy to hear you had a great time on the tour. We are sorry about the water levels but we are happy to know that the airboat captains we use are safe and reliable. As you can imagine the water levels are out of our control and we trust in our captains to make that decision for our guests safety. We would love to have you back soon on one of our tours!
star-4
Great experience but could be more organized!
littlespeak
, Jul 2019
My son and I loved the experiences on this trip but it could be more organized. The biggest frustration was the lack of information or itinerary, and the fact that many of the details are incorrect. Also, meals are provided but they are not great and food allergies are not well accommodated. That being said, my son and I would do it again in a heartbeat! First of all, hotel pickup is not provided. We walked twenty minutes to be picked up at Rosen Points Hotel. Our pickup time was 8:10, but we were picked up at 8:20 in a huge tour bus with a restroom and Wi-Fi . Unfortunately, we were then driven to Senior Frogs to get in a mini van. Breakfast was passed out (croissant, peach yogurt, Sunny D and a peanut butter granola bar) and we left at 8:40. As we were pulling out we learned that the wetsuits were mandatory and Cash Only. This was the first time I heard mandatory and cash only! We arrived in Crystal River at 10:30 after a restroom stop at 9:40. The boat ride and snorkeling was from 11:00-1:00. It was pretty incredible and we saw quite a few manatees. We changed and were able to purchase photographs and souvenirs. We left at 1:30 and lunch was eaten on the bus (Capri Sun, water, ham sandwich, BBQ chips, mandarin oranges and a bag of cookies). We arrived at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Springs Park at 2:00. We did not get to see any of it because we had to eat lunch at the park due to my son's peanut allergy. It looked pretty neat. At 3:00 we left for the airboat ride. That lasted from 4:00-4:45 and was very fun and beautiful! We arrived in Orlando at 6:00 but there were several different stops. We were dropped off across the street instead of Rosen Pointe by 6:30. My biggest suggestion would be to wear swim clothes under your clothes and take whatever you need to change afterwards. I would also bring extra food and cash. I had a large backpack that I left on the bus and a smaller bag for valuables that you can carry with you. I also wish I had brought a disposable waterproof camera for the manatees. My cell phone was perfect for everything else. Also, there was a lot of tipping involved. The dive shop and airbags ride allowed tipping on credit cards. The bus driver Nikky told everyone that he expected at least 15% of the tour price but it was hard to decide how much to tip everyone else since I had no idea of prices. With all this being said, my son and I loved the trip!
icon Response from Host , Jul 2019
Thank you very much for your feedback. Due to the growing number of food allergies and dietary requirements we are not always able to alter our breakfast and lunch on this tour. We did however reach out in advance to see what we could due to help and did allow you to chose from a different menu at the State park, so that you could chose what was best suitable for your son. We apologize you didn't have as much time in the park as you normally would but we can not always determine how long ordering food from their establishment will be as this is not part of our planned tour. I am really happy to know that you and your son enjoyed the day regardless.
star-3
Mis represented
danielmX3412VR
, Aug 2018
Though the trip with dolphin tours was fun, the booking agent, Viator, needs to get their act together. When I booked our manatee snorkel and airboat trip, I called Viator instead of booking on their website as I had questions. One question was, do they offer pick up at our hotel? Their website says “pick up at select hotels“ The lady on the phone said we were staying at a selected resort. I asked several times and she assured me we would be picked up at the hotel. Well, when I called to confirm pick up, Dolphin Tours told me they do not pick up at hotels and had to meet at a designated location. So, we had to hire a taxi to take us to the meeting point. A 15 minutes ride and an added expense we weren’t planning on. Also, I asked about the breakfast. The Viator website say, “all you can eat breakfast”. We thought that was a good deal as we were traveling with to teen age boys. We told the boys not to eat as we were headed to a breakfast buffet. Well, when we got on the bus, we were handed a sack filled with a cold (almost frozen) crescent roll, jelly, Capri sun, sunny d and yogurt. Not the best choice for 2 growing boys and a person with diabetes. I wish I could copy and paste the Viator ad where it clearly states hotel pick up and all you can eat breakfast. The breakfast, lunch and excursion that dolphin tours provided was good, but was not as advertised by Viator. Viator definitely needs to get their act together and update their ads.
star-4
The guide was not familiar with the...
darren.sheldon
, Aug 2018
The guide was not familiar with the excursion and mentioned this a number of times, there is no where to practically change at the Dive centre and things felt a little amateurish. That said we had a really enjoyable day overall. Saw Wild Dolphins as well as lots of Manatees and a calf.
star-4
A good time
snooootybrat
, Jul 2018
I gave this tour 4 out of 5 stars because everything is not clear about the trip.. it was very confusing.. the snorkeling was fun. Our guides were amazing. The water was 72 degrees which is very cold so I'd recommend the extra wet suit for 10bucks. The diver for a take pictures which are very nice. You have to pay for them not sure how much they were. The airboat tour was a let down .. too short and you don't get to stop at all to see the wildlife.. you have to pay for a photo with the baby gator which they don't tell you upfront and you use your own camera. The wildlife reserve was nice.. overall is say it was worth the 120$
star-4
Great experience but a little misleading
mollyo145
, Jul 2018
I booked the review online and was excited to swim with tons of manatees. Unfortunately nowhere did it mention peak and non peak months. This would’ve been more helpful because apparently Winter are better manatee months than July. But we did see a few, including a mother and calf. And the experience itself was fantastic in the water and the airboat was fun too. They should let you know before you get on the airboat you’re going to get wet, because then we might left the phones and wallets on the bus or somewhere dry. I read online unlimited breakfast buffet so we came hungry in the morning. The breakfast was abismal. Very low quality croissant and nowhere near enough food. For a day full of swimming you need more than that and a juice box and a yogurt. The granola bar also had peanuts which I am allergic to. Very risky to put something like that in a bag that’s given to children and adults alike without asking if there are allergies prior. The lunch had more food, but still wasn’t enough. Especially after I had read what I did online, perhaps it changed recently? I was impressed with the driving of the bus driver Donald and his guide Madeline they were very knowledable and friendly. I felt guilty not tipping everywhere and everyone but we weren’t aware we needed to have so much cash on hand. Plus, this excursion wasn’t cheap! Over the day was very positive, but by 7:30pm when we departed the bus we were starving. They should include dinner or a pm snack for consumption on the way back to Orlando.
star-5
So, this is not...jump in the water...
Cornelia M
, Jun 2018
So, this is not...jump in the water and there are manatees...one must look for them, find them...and then proceed cautiously and carefully so as not to disturb them in their natural habitat...do not touch them says the guide...what to do if one little one is so curious about these 'new friends' it snuggles up and 'tastes' your diving mask...what graceful and totally amazing creatures. Thanks a million for allowing us to experience this part of the Everglades - it was an amazing experience. Together with the fun of the air-boat ride we had a wonderful day away form the rides and other experiences of Orlando.

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Product code: 2855MANATEE

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