Kayaking in Crystal River to Three Sister Springs Florida is an experience that everybody should try when visiting Florida. Visitors come from all over the country every year to this specific area for one reason and one reason only, manatees. Florida is world-famous for being the home of one of the most beautiful and gentle sea creatures in the world, the manatee. There are many natural springs all over Florida where you can go to see these beautiful creatures. Three Sister Springs Florida is one of these natural springs. In this blog post, I’ll be going over everything you need to know about visiting the springs. Also, I’ll be going over my experience kayaking in Crystal River to the springs.
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About Three Sister Springs Florida
The crystal clear waters of Three Sister Springs Florida has long been a refuge for these animals and plays a key part in their protection. These naturally formed springs are so crystal clear you can see straight down to the bottom. With over 250,000 visitors annually, Three Sister Springs Florida is an entire tourist attraction in itself. The surrounding town clearly shows their love of the manatees and the springs. Many people travel from very far just to enjoy the springs. There is a visitor center where you can pay admission to see the springs via walking trails that surround them. This is a simpler way to view them, although you cannot actually access the springs this way due to erosion concerns.
Swimming is allowed in the springs and I highly recommend doing so. It is very cold water but invigorating at the same time. Be sure to bring some goggles so you can see under the water. Please note, that you cannot swim in the springs through land access. Due to erosion concerns, getting into the springs has been blocked off so people are not standing on the bank. The only way to swim in the springs is when you enter via kayak. Also be aware that since this is Florida, alligators do live in the area but are not really a concern in the springs. I asked the people working at the kayak rental facility and they said it has never been a concern.
For those of you that don’t know, the manatee is an herbivorous marine mammal and is also referred to as the sea cow. They are incredibly adorable animals and very slow-moving and slow-paced. During a large portion of the year, they are out at sea. But during the colder winter months, they move into the shallows of Florida. During this time of year, the water temperature is higher so they move inland. At this time of year, you can see literally thousands of them together. But even during the warm months of the year, you should be able to see some manatees anywhere on the Florida coast. As of 2021, manatees are considered a threatened species but during most of my life, they were endangered. Thankfully efforts to increase their population sizes have been helping at least a little.
For these reasons, there are lots of rules regarding interacting with manatees put in place for their protection. Under no circumstances should you ever touch or attempt to get near any of the manatees. Doing so is a crime and is punishable by law. If you end up kayaking through a rental company, there are lots of rules that you must follow. I won’t list them all here because you will learn all about them through whichever company you choose. I really appreciated how in-depth all of the tutorials were. It makes you feel like they are very committed to protecting these animals.
Kayaking in Crystal River and the Springs
Kayaking in Crystal River to the Three Sister Springs is definitely the best way to experience it. I also saw a lot of people paddleboarding to the springs but that seems a bit tiring after a while to me. The specific place that our kayaks were launched from was a little far away from the springs but it was a beautiful paddle there. The entire area is actually residential so there are private homes along the entire paddle. A lot of these homes have water access. How cool would it be to live in one of these homes near the springs?
It takes about thirty minutes to paddle to the springs from the launch spot but totally worth it. When you enter the springs from the river, there is almost a magical element to it. All the amazing shades of blues and greens fill up crystal clear water with gorgeous moss covered trees draping everywhere. It is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in all of Florida. It is hard to put into words how magical the experience is. Especially when there are not many people there, you feel like you’re in your own private oasis. Because of the time of year I visited, there weren’t any manatees in the actual Three Sister Springs but I saw some on the kayak there and back.
After we were finished in the springs, we just kayaked around the area a bit. There are other things to see nearby and you can see manatees swimming around in the canals as well. You will also see lots of amazing water birds like loons, ducks, geese, and much more. There is even a little beach area that you can kayak up to. It’s not the nicest beach but it looks great for kids. We then headed back to return the kayaks and saw a few more manatees along the way. It was the perfect day kayaking in crystal river to the Three Sister Springs Florida.
My Experience Kayaking in Crystal River with Hunter Springs Kayaking
There are many different kayak rental companies that you can go with. I chose to rent from Hunter Springs Kayaking mostly because they had availability. I decided to do this trip somewhat last minute and some places that I called were fully booked. Eventually, when I did get a rental with a different company, they had to cancel my booking last minute because of a COVID shutdown. But thankfully I was able to get a last-minute booking with Hunter Springs Kayaking. I had a really great experience with them.
They have multiple options for kayak rentals, both single and double occupancy and they even have clear bottom kayaks. Those were a bit on the pricy side so I decided to just go with the standard. The facility is very nice and everything was explained very well. This location was a little farther away from Three Sister Springs Florida than some of the other kayak rentals but it just meant a little bit of a longer paddle time. Overall I had a really great experience with Hunter Springs Kayaking and would highly recommend them for your next kayaking in Crystal River trip.
My biggest tip of all is to get there as early as possible. By the time we got to the springs from the kayak launching spot, it was about 10 AM. And that was really nice and not too crowded. The springs themselves are very small so it’s best to try to go when it is not busy. We stayed and hung out in the springs for about half an hour and by the time we were leaving we saw about 40 people on their way to the springs. So it definitely would not have been nearly as enjoyable if we were constantly bumping into other people’s kayaks. So most definitely, get there as early as you can. Honestly, I would even suggest going earlier than we did.
Three Sister Springs Florida Conclusion
In conclusion, if you are even considering kayaking in crystal river to Three Sister Springs Florida just book it now. It was such a fantastic experience and a really fun active way to spend the day. Even though during my trip we only saw a handful of manatees, it was really magical. They’re such gentle giants and you really just feel such a sense of calm around them. The natural beauty of Florida is some of the best in the country and you’ll definitely see that if you make this trip. I can’t say enough good things about this experience. Be sure to check out Hunter Springs Kayaking if you are in need of a rental. This is not a sponsored post or anything, I just really enjoyed their service.
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