Traveling is such a great way to get out and see so many great things! I love long trips, short trips, and everything in between! One of my favorite weekend trips from Savannah is to Crystal River, Florida. It’s about 4.5 hours from Savannah and makes a great weekend get-a-way!
Where to Stay
We stay at the Bella Oasis in Homosassa, it’s about 10 minutes south of Crystal River. We like to stay here because it’s cheap, it’s across the street from our favorite restaurant in the area, and it’s next door to the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. It’s a doors on the outside hotel…putting that out there, I know that’s not for everyone. We’ve stayed for years though and have never had any issues.
Kayaking with Manatee
We go to kayak with manatee! In my opinion it’s the best way to get on the water and see the manatee on your own time. We rent our kayaks from Hunter Springs Kayak. Their launch site is a 3 minute walk from their parking lot and the kayak to Three Sisters Spring, Hunter Springs, Jurassic Springs, and others is easy and fits perfectly into the 3 hour rental window. They also offer swimming with manatee tours, which I would highly recommend booking if you’ve never swam with the manatee.
We enjoy the kayaking but if you want to do the swimming either go with the tour or rent the wetsuits from the kayak company. Don’t pull a Christopher and whine about wanting to swim then change your mind the minute your knees hit the water!! He’s perfectly fine, just got the lesson he needed about the water being colder than he thinks. LOL
This is a small park in the area that makes a great afternoon stop. Usually when we go down we kayak Saturday morning then spend time after lunch at the wildlife park. Before COVID you could walk from the hotel over to the part of the park and take a boat to the entrance. This time we drove to the parking lot by the front of the park since the boats aren’t currently running.
The park has a good selection of wildlife from Florida, wild manatee are able to come up into the spring in addition to the manatee in the rehab program, and there is Lu, a 61 year old hippo.
There are tons of other things to do in the area, they are just a google search away. We usually go down Friday and get there after dark, spend Saturday kayaking and at the park, then come back home Sunday so other things to do just aren’t in the cards.
Where to Eat
Here’s the good stuff, right!!! Our ALL TIME FAVORITE place to each when we go to Crystal River is Michael Anthony’s Pizza. Seriously, we drive to Florida for a pizza joint! They have this white pizza, which I don’t have a photo of because we eat that thing so fast we forget to take a photo each time! It’s got these huge amazing dollops of ricotta cheese, my eyes roll in the back of my head every time I take a bite. They also have veal parmesan which is my favorite Italian dish of all time! If you go to Crystal River, find this place!
We also like Seafood Seller & Cafe. This a a great place for all types of seafood dishes with a cajun flair! Everything we had was delicious but we were especially surprised by how great the kids popcorn shrimp plate was.
A Great Weekend from Savannah
With so many great things to do a weekend in Crystal River is a must for anyone who is looking to do something fun that isn’t too far from Savannah. I promise there is a lot to do, we just have our set plan when we go and we don’t stray far from the path that works so well for us and we try to make this trip at least once a year. Manatee “season” is from November-March and where you can find manatee in the area year round they are clustered in the area during the season because of the warmer water from the springs during the winter when the ocean cools down.
Looking for other trips from Savannah?
Check out my Cumberland Island Day Trip post, if you are looking for something a little closer to home that doesn’t require an overnight.