From November – April, Three Sisters Springs is the penultimate haven for manatees in Florida. These peaceful giants, or floating baked potatoes of the ocean, in my opinion, are located here in the HUNDREDS. So don’t do what we did this year and go in June (though there will be significantly fewer people and the springs are still amazing). With some of the bluest water in Florida, you will want to make a trip to Three Sister Springs.
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📍3 Sisters Springs – Crystal River, Florida 🔰Make sure to save this post so you have the info for later!! ::: Most of the springs in Florida you can just show up to, hop in, swim around, rent a tube and float on down, after paying a small state park fee/ tube rental/ shuttle fare- thank kind of thing. 3 sisters springs however is NOT like that. If you visit the “park” you will not be able to access the water, only look at it from the boardwalk or take the trolly tour. From November- April this spring is TEEMING with manatees, I’m talking HUNDREDS just chillin around. It’s really late in the season so we didn’t see any on our trip, but if you want to be able to swim with the manatees, you’re gonna need a game plan, and there are pretty much 2 options you can do. 1. Take a manatee swimming tour. This will have a guide who will take you right to the manatees, give you a set amount of tome to swim, and then you head back. Also the more expensive option. 2. Rent kayaks or canoes! (Or bring your own!!). We used @captainmikeskayak and left around 12 and didn’t have to be back until 4:30 and had a blast! We could go where we wanted, packed our own coolers (full of white claw & pbjs) and had a phenomenal tome exploring on our own. If you are headed to 3 sisters, this is totally the way I recommend doing it! ::::: #crystalriver #hashtagflorida #realflorida #loveflorida #sunshinestate #floridafun #iloveflorida #discover #floridasprings #bohotravellers #floridastateparks #explorida #threesisterssprings #staysaltyflorida #cleargram #bestofthesunshinestate #visitflorida #pureflorida #simplythekeys #thefloridakeys #keyslife #floridasun #travelingsoul #whiskinibikinis #unlockthekeys #keywestlife #floridakeyslife #thekeys #flkeys #floridagirl
Three Sisters Springs – Our Adventure
I, along with a few of my girlfriends, decided to make a day out of a trip to Three Sister Springs. Half of us being native Floridians, the springs are a common summer trip, but only Lauren, from Pensylvania, had ever been to Three Sisters. This made it the perfect location. The crystal clear water and sandy bottom meant a perfect recipe for underwater photos. All girls meant a sing a long road trip and lots of spiked seltzer.
From St. Augustine, Three Sisters Springs is about a 2.5-hour drive, 3 with potty breaks. We left at 8:30 am and arrived just before noon. Loaded and launched kayaks, and we were swimming in no time. Now, unfortunately, since all the manatees have left the springs and headed to the coast for the summer, we didn’t see any on this trip. I definitely intend, however, to don my wetsuit this fall once the manatees are back and snorkel with them so I can get up close and personal to these big ‘ole babies.
Pro Tips for Three Sister Springs
It is important to note that if you just show up to Three Sister Springs park, you will not be able to access the water. You can stand around on the boardwalk and look at the manatees from above, but you won’t be able to swim with them.
The only way to actually swim with the manatees is by water access. You can do this in a few ways.
1. Join a tour group that has a set time & amount of passengers.
This is probably one of the easiest options, and for those who aren’t totally comfortable on the water and don’t have your own snorkel gear. This is the method I recommend to you non-Floridians and landlubbers. It is a set excursion, they bring you there and back. The guide will be with you the whole time and assist you if you need anything. The downside to this though, is that you don’t have your own flexibility. It will be in about the middle ground as far as pricing. Since it doesn’t matter how close to the springs and there will be a wide range of options for companies to choose from.
2. Hire a private boat to take you to the springs.
The same idea as above, except you are on your own time with just your own people. You have the flexibility of the final option below, but the ease of the one above. The only downside, however, is the cost will be the most expensive.
3. Rent kayaks and take yourselves there.
The option we chose, and therefore my favorite, is to rent your own kayaks. We brought coolers, our snorkel gear, cameras, bags, the whole 9 yards, and were able to find the springs with ease. If you are nervous on the water or would need to buy or rent snorkel gear, I might think before choosing this option, because it could go from the cheapest, to more expensive than a guided tour fast. But, if you have your own stuff or can access some easily, I would take this route. We used Captain Mike’s Kayak rental (they also do tours) and had a blast and the whole process was super duper easy. They are very friendly, gave us a map, and sent us on our way!
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