Criss-crossed by peaceful woodlands, glittering waterways and harmonious nature reserves, Crystal River is paradise for nature lovers. Visitors flock to the area’s waterfront resorts and mid-priced hotels to swim, sail and snorkel in the heavenly waters or spot the gentle manatees who migrate here to escape chillier waters each winter.
Plantation on Crystal River, Ascend Hotel Collection
Combine action-packed days on the water with lazy days by the pool at this sprawling eco-friendly resort that families will love. Surrounded by the renowned natural springs of Kings Bay, the property has an 18-hole championship golf course, a croquet lawn, volleyball and tennis courts and a lovely lagoon-style pool lined with sun loungers and a fun tiki bar. Head to the on-site adventure center to arrange kayaking, fishing and boat tours from the private dock or splurge on treatments at the tranquil Aveda spa.
Just off Highway 19, two miles from downtown, Hampton Inn is still just ten minutes from the Crystal River Preserve and Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Parks for days spent hiking and ogling manatees. Meanwhile, city restaurants are close at hand, or you can cool off with a dip in the hotel’s outdoor pool – just don’t leave without gorging on the complimentary freshly baked waffles each morning.
A world away from the big-name chains, the small Retreat motel is all about personal touches – think individually decorated bedrooms with vibrant bedspreads and striking geometric tiles, and a front desk staffed by the friendly owners, who will happily direct you to the best local seafood restaurants. King’s Bay Park, Hunter Springs and the Three Sisters Springs are all within walking distance for a dream holiday without the hassle.
Birdwatchers, golfers and water sports enthusiasts will love the Best Western’s convenient location on Spring Feds Bay. Just off the main highway, the hotel is a handy gateway to the great outdoors, and is surrounded by golf courses, nature trails and the mirror-clear river for sailing and jet-skiing. City lovers don’t need to panic, though: the independent shops, waterfront restaurants and lively bars of Crystal River are still close by.
As the only hotel on the main spring in Kings Bay, the Port Hotel is a water-based wonderland. Rent boats and kayaks, snorkel with the area’s famous manatees or jump straight in to swim in the bath-warm spring water. If that sounds like too much hard work, join a leisurely dinner cruise or grab a seat at the waterfront bar to toast the fiery orange sunset with a cocktail.