People go to the Plantation on Crystal River for a variety of reasons and for me, it was for a few days of fun in the Florida sun. Besides it being a winter getaway for many east coasters, winter is an extra special time for the property.
Starting anywhere from late November and running through early March, Crystal River is home to thousands of West Indian manatees. While some manatees reside here year-round, winter is "prime time" for spotting manatees due to the warm water temperatures.
As an eco-friendly property, Plantation on Crystal River offers several excursions that allow guests to interact with manatees in a safe and non-threatening environment. Guests can either sign up for one of their interactive Manatee tours or rent a kayak for the day and explore Kings Bay solo.
Adventure aside, the plantation also caters to foodies with an appetite for inventive cuisine. With three restaurants including their West 82º Bar & Grill that serves fresh fare and their very own outdoors Tiki Bar. Many guests grab a cocktail at the bar and then take a dip in the resort's pool that overlooks the bay.
While I would describe the plantation as upscale, it's not over-the-top luxurious. I found this refreshing, especially because people typically flock to Crystal River for quiet retreats rather than serious pampering. That said, there is an on-site spa affiliated with Aveda called Spa Blue and their menu is very extensive. Definitely a good way to wind down the day.