Crystal River Florida & Three Sisters Springs is one of the few places in Florida where you can swim with an abundance of wild Manatee in crystal clear turquoise water.
I have been wanting to visit this place for YEARS but I never seemed to find the right opportunity. Now that I’ve moved to Florida I finally took a family gathering trip here this February to search for my own Manatee swimming experience as well as try out some new underwater filming gear.
This video was SO much fun to edit because I ended up with more beautiful footage than I knew what to do with. Three Sisters Springs is absolute perfection!
WATCH THE VIDEO ▶︎ CRYSTAL RIVER FLORIDA & THREE SISTERS SPRINGS
The best time to visit Crystal River to swim with Manatee is in the winter- November through March to be exact. The reason you can find Manatee hanging out here is simply because the water in the Florida gulf becomes too cold, and Manatee prefer it a bit warmer. However, as soon as the water in the gulf warms back up, the Manatee will head back out in search of food.
The warmer temperatures that we experienced on this trip were lovely, although this prompted the Manatee to head back out to their usual home just days before we arrived. Even with no Manatee, Three Sisters Springs did not disappoint, as it was still BEAUTIFUL to see and film.
I actually think this is one of my favorite Instagram posts of all time!
Crystal River Video Gear
Some new video production gear I got to test out on this trip included the Dome Lens– which I’ve had for about a year now, but had yet to find the right situation to really put it to the test.
The idea is that the plastic dome pushes the water away from the lens of the GoPro, creating this half up/ half down shot ability. It has the potential for some awesome shots, and I look forward to experimenting with it more.
Since filming this video, I’ve found an even better model of the Dome Lens for our GoPro Hero 6. Check it out HERE.
I will DEFINITELY bring it back to Crystal River next year to photograph and film the Manatee in the water with this lens!
This trip to Crystal River was my first big adventure with the GoPro Hero6 after making its initial GoPro Hero6 Review video. The new GoPro did not disappoint and I found that it works extra well in bright sunlight and of course, underwater.
Although I was only using the Dome Lens on the Hero4, it’s available for the 6 as well and I can’t wait to get one!
Watch this video to learn more about the new features that are exclusive to the GoPro Hero6- and see some fun film tests with my sweet baby girl.
More Video Gear
I really broke out just about everything to make this video. My Canon Vlogging Camera is always the centerpiece of filming a vlog like this, and the DRONE footage added a nice compliment to offer a sense of place, especially in this video.
It was so cool to see an aerial perspective of Three Sisters Springs, and understand exactly where we parked the stand up paddle board and then swam into the springs.
I also brought along my beloved OSMO camera for our trip along the boardwalk at Three Sisters Springs. I love this camera because it creates footage that looks like a drone, but isn’t a drone because it doesn’t actually fly. You can end up with some super smooth grounded shots this way.
This video covers some details on the DJI OSMO
Traveling to Crystal River Florida
As far as details on how to travel to Three Sisters Springs and Crystal River Florida, here is what I learned during my adventure.
Crystal River is a small town in Florida. It’s about an hour and 45 minutes west of Orlando.
Three Sisters Springs is the most beautiful viewing area for Manatee, although you can also see them all along King’s Bay, and other places in Crystal River.
There are lots of Manatee tour options available, although you can also navigate the waters independently, as we did. I think next year we might take a tour, just to be CERTAIN we find all the best Manatee.
One major question I had before this adventure was, how cold is Crystal River? How cold is Three Sisters Springs? I imagined it was warm since the Manatee come here to get warm. Not so much. It seems Three Sisters Springs is 72 degrees year round. Chilly, but not too terrible.
As I demonstrated in the Crystal River Video, you can venture into Three Sisters Springs by swimming, or by walking along the boardwalk. The Visitor’s Center offers a trolly to take you in, or you can park and walk in yourself. Entrance fee’s range from $15 for adults with discounts for Seniors, Children, and Military- categories which everyone in our party fell into.
You can find all the best and most updated information about the Three Sisters Springs Visitors Center on their website.
Did you enjoy this video of Crystal River Florida? Do you have any favorite spots in Florida you think I should visit? Let me know in the comment section here or on my YouTube channel!