With more than 700 different springs and recreation areas to choose from when wanting to visit a Florida Spring, it can be tough deciding where to go and what to do with your time there. Allow us to recommend Kings Bay in Crystal River, without a doubt one of the most exciting and interesting spots in the entire state!
Kings Bay is a first-magnitude complex of Florida springs that boasts more than 70 springs that pump out 600 MILLION GALLONS of freshwater from the Florida aquifer every single day. Some of the major springs within the complex include King Spring, Tarpon Spring, Three Sisters, Hunter Spring, Jurassic Spring, House Spring and the curiously named Idiots Delight!
The water of the springs in Kings Bay remains at a constant 72 degrees year-round, providing a cool break for dippers during the hot summer months, and a warm bath during the cooler winter season.
Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
There is also the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge which consists of 20 islands spread out in and around the Kings Bay area. This is an 80 acre large refuge that is only accessible by boat, and it has been in operation since 1983. The mission of the refuge is to protect the precious and wonderful West Indian Manatee. Manatees of all kinds are a very familiar site across parts of Florida, and in 2012, Kings Bay was designated as a Manatee Protection Area known as the Kings Bay Manatee Refuge. The refuge is maintained by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and they do amazing work to help these unique animals be safe.
During the winter, the area harbors and becomes home to more than 350 manatees at any given time.
Swim with the Manatees
Visitors who wish to get up close and personal with manatees are in luck, as Crystal River is one of the ONLY places in the state where you are legally permitted to swim with the creatures in their natural habitat. Tourists can embark on a memorable snorkel and swim tour that goes through the river, providing an amazing insight into the lives and behaviors of the mammals that are affectionately known by many as the ‘stones of the sea’. They are a lot more interesting than stones, we can assure you!
If you are a Florida Springs Passport HOLDER, you will receive an EXCLUSIVE DEAL when booking with Manatee Tour & Dive at Hunter Springs Kayak Rentals. Manatee Tour & Dive will leave you with incredible memories and this tour is APPROVED by Florida Springs Passport. Click HERE to become a Florida Springs Passport HOLDER!
Hunters Springs Park
As we mentioned above, there are a number of different springs to discover and explore when visiting the Kings Bay area. The Three Sisters, Hunter Spring and Jurassic Spring in particular are spots that are popular all year round, offering opportunities for swimming, picnicking and general rest and relaxation in a beautiful natural setting. The best way to access these springs is through Hunter Springs Park. This park has parking onsite but the spaces are limited. The park offers a small beach area leading to a roped-off swimming area, kayak/canoe launch, a boardwalk along the waterway where you are likely to spot waterbirds, a playground area, and other amenities.
If you are looking to kayak in Kings Bay and explore all of these wonderful springs, Florida Springs Passport HOLDERS will receive an EXCLUSIVE DEAL at Hunter Springs Kayaks & Tours.