We started off as just a couple of locals who were inspired by the privilege unique to Citrus County..… swimming with the manatees! We realized our desire to share this privilege with others, and uncovered a passion for doing it the right way!
We truly believe wildlife encounters have a legitimate place in education. We are proof that close-up encounters inspire more than a picture or a memorable story. When done responsibly these encounters can be a life-changing experience, and create other like-minded individuals who wish to be respectful of Mother Earth and her inhabitants.
We commit to delivering our visitors the best nature encounters in the most sustainable way. Locally owned AND operated, we care deeply about our community and the future of our wildlife encounters. We thrive off our desire to educate all visitors and hope to inspire the inner nature lover of each person that steps foot through our door. It is this inspiration that encourages improvements necessary to create a bright future for our manatee friends. It is this inspiration that is necessary to protect and preserve nature’s playground for our children and for future generations to come.
We pledge to offer our visitors the chance to Explore Florida in a way that supports our local community and respects our environment… all while building a connection with nature.
We love our manatees, but PEOPLE really are our specialty. We treat every visitor like a member of the family and we appreciate each and every guest. Be our guest, and we will strive to surpass your expectations! Our dedication to providing the highest level of personal care and the most stellar experience possible shines bright through your first point of contact with our company, to the moment we part ways as forever friends. We are the VIP visitors center in Citrus County. Other companies may say it, but we mean it! We want you to return time and time again, so our performance matters. We are not a fly by night operation that charges unexpected fees and makes you dress in a parking lot! If your desire is to feel like more than a $60 ticket, then Explorida is the place for you! Come find out for yourself…. We are waiting for you!
You can reach us from sunrise to sunset!! Our store hours are 6am – 5pm daily. You can reach us by phone from 5am-8pm. After 8pm, though, we need our beauty sleep to dream up our next adventure!!
We pride ourselves in being responsive to phone calls, voicemails, emails and special requests. If you somehow missed us, It will only be a short matter of time before we make contact with you. If is is a special request you are after, we are committed to going above and beyond to do the best we can to accommodate you. Special requests welcome!
We are incredibly easy to find with plenty of parking!!
Located in the historic downtown district of Crystal River, we provide the central most location for guests to swim with manatees and then explore the many other activities our charming town has to offer…. After your morning manatee snorkel tour with us, step on to our front porch for your choice of quaint local eateries. Enjoy lunch and take some time to browse the local shops, but be back at the Explorida Adventure Center on time for one of our many afternoon tours, like a dolphin cruise or champagne sunset tour!
When you Visit Citrus County, experience the Gem of the Nature Coast through one trusted source.
Our commitment to customer service and our unsurpassed reputation sets us apart from the masses. With over 20 years of combined experience in customer service, tour company operations, and environmental education, there is no other company more qualified to provide tours in Citrus County!
You can swim with manatees in Citrus County, Florida. Swimming with the manatees is a privilege that is unique to Citrus County, which is why the small county has earned its world famous title of the ‘Manatee Capital of the World’. Nowhere else in the world can you legally swim with the manatees in their natural habitat, as you can do with us! When looking for things to do in Florida, add swimming with the manatees to the top of your list, and let Explorida be your guide!
Swimming with the manatees is legal only in Citrus County, Florida. However, you MUST follow strict guidelines on every manatee swim tour. We can not forget that swimming with manatees is a privilege, and we must respect the manatee and their home.
When a guided manatee swim tour is done in a responsible way, it has little or no effect on the behavior of the manatees. By following strict guidelines, we are sure to never interrupt the natural behavior of our manatee friends.
We are animal lovers ourselves and would never intentionally hurt our gentle giants. That said, we know that what we do as an industry is extremely important. Not only do our guided manatee tours offer the opportunity to introduce you a threatened species in a way that facilitates a connection and a love for this animal, but being able to spend so much time with the manatees allows our captains to monitor our manatee population. Captains and guides consistently observe animal behavior and are usually the first to respond when animals are in need of care. As a result we are able to save many manatees that otherwise may have been left to perish. We also know that it’s important to give back and help the manatees whenever they need it. Many of our employees participate in manatee rescue efforts as well as water restoration projects. It is important to us to preserve the gift that Citrus County residents have been blessed with. That is our calling.
Manatees are a federally protected species, and there are rules in place for their protection. All of the rules are clearly outlined before each guided manatee snorkel tour with Explorida. These rules are based in respect for the animals, as we are visitors in their world.
At Explorida, we understand manatee behavior, and can help you make the most of your time in the water. It is important to remember that your behavior can have a significant impact on the quality of your manatee swim tour. We strive to go above and beyond what is legally required by law, and model proper behaviors to encourage the longevity of your animal encounter.
Manatees are protected by several laws that make it illegal to intentionally or negligently molest, harass, or disturb a manatee in the wild. Passive observation is the best way to interact with a manatee in its natural habitat.
The manatee viewing experience in Citrus County is unique, as it is legal to swim with the manatees… but passive observation is still encouraged. When on a guided manatee swim tour, the manatees may occasionally touch us and that is ok. Although it is never a guarantee, manatees will sometimes choose to engage with humans. We never swim up to manatees and put our hands on them, and we are committed to discouraging a ‘petting zoo’ mentality. These are wild animals and we would like to keep them that way.
Manatee swim tours are conducted year round, but some seasons are better for manatee viewing than others. It is extremely important to inform yourself of what to predict for your manatee snorkel tour so your group has realistic expectations. Generally speaking, during very cold weather there are many manatees in the area, but when it is warm we will see only a few. Tides, storms, sunlight and seasonal feeding habits can all affect daily conditions, as manatees are wild animals. It’s important to remind yourself while planning, that wild things are indeed wild, and many of these factors can not be controlled. If you ever want a more specific ‘guess’ or want a current update of conditions, you can always call us! We are always honest!
We find that our early morning manatee snorkel tours tend to have the most favorable conditions. And when we say early, we mean early! Being some of the first people on the water for a manatee snorkel tour can really be an amazing opportunity! If that early morning wake up call is not your style, you still have a chance to see and swim with manatees on our mid afternoon tours. Manatees tend to be most active earliest in the morning, so our later tours generally encounter more feeding or resting manatees that may not be quite as interested in us.
This is a question that no one can answer honestly, as we can only take an educated guess! The highest concentration of manatees in Citrus County is typically found through January and February. Winter cold spells provide us the best chance of seeing the most animals congregated together. During the warmer months, our manatee tours can be more like a manatee safari and even after searching we may only see one or two of our resident animals.
Although Crystal River has a very special population of resident manatees that stay with us year round, their behavior is influenced by feeding habits, seasonal weather changes, storms and tides. They are free to come and go as they please. We can never guarantee that you will see a manatee as they are wild animals and their behavior can never be predicted
The mask, snorkel, and wetsuit is provided on all manatee swim tours for no additional cost to you.
We do not provide fins, nor allow them on our tours. Most of our time on our tours is spent floating at the surface. Because we are not actually swimming, and never needing to swim faster than a manatee, fins really provide no practical use. Plus, on the majority of our tours, we are usually swimming in shallow water, and an inexperienced swimmer with fins can stir up the bottom affecting visibility for themselves and for others. Even if you are experienced diver, please understand that no fins for some, means no fins for all.
Yes, wetsuits are required for our manatee snorkel tours. When swimming with manatees, we do so most successfully when we float at the surface. Wetsuits are the key to floating at the surface, as they provide buoyancy.
We carry wetsuits in ALL sizes ranging from toddler to 5X. We have a wetsuit that will fit you!
An in water guide is provided on all Manatee swim tours. The in water guide is there to make sure you are comfortable, and to make sure that you follow the rules while on your manatee snorkel tour. They also photograph your experience for you, and those photos are available for an additional price after your tour.
Because we are swimming with manatees in their natural habitat, the visibility varies on every tour. In the colder months the manatees are more likely to congregate in the warmth of the crystal blue springs. In the warmer months, manatees can usually be found in areas of differing visibility as they are usually traveling in search for food.
When snorkeling with manatees, the depth of the area we find the animals will vary. Usually we find them in very shallow water, not more than 6 feet.
The amount of time in the water on each manatee tour will differ, depending on how active the manatees are. Sometimes the manatees will engage with us for a good amount of time, and other times they may not be interested in us at all. If this is the case, you will usually board the boat again to search for other animals.
Our boat is one of the only in the area that can run more than 6 passengers on a scallop charter, with a total allotted passenger count of 14 scallopers. This scallop tour can run as a semi private tour with no more than 8 guests, or as a private scallop charter for just your group. If it’s just a couple of you, we will add you to a group reservation with a capacity of 8.If you book 8 people or more, your boat will be private, and you will be offered a discounted price for more passengers! Gather up the friends and family – because more people equals more FUN!
Our boat is fully covered to protect you from the hot Florida sun! On our scallop charters, there will always be a place to kick back and relax in the shade!
We start and end our scalloping trip in Kings bay so that we can take a cool dip in the springs at the end of every scallop tour! The trip from Kings bay to the scallop grounds is about 35-45 minutes, depending on the location of the best scallop spots that day. The ride to the gulf is a beautiful one, so kick back and enjoy the breeze in your hair on the way there!
The perk of booking a chartered scallop trip is that we provide everything for you, including the fishing license! Save yourself the money and we will take care of it for you!
At Explorida, we really take pride in the quality of our gear—and we provide all you need for no additional cost! We have masks and snorkels, and fins in all sizes so lighten your load and let us take care of it!
The depth of the area in which we scallop varies depending on the tides. Usually the depth of the Gulf on our scallop tours ranges from about 5 feet to about 8 feet at high tide, with an average of about 5-6 feet.
YES!!!! Explorida is a full service company dedicated to providing you the VIP experience all the time, which means providing you a in water guide on every tour! Your in water scallop guide is there to make sure everyone is safe in the water, knows what they are looking for, and knows exactly how to scoop scallops! They also swim along side you to help you get closer to your scallop limit!!
The visibility for a scallop tour on a good day is amazingly clear. Most of the time you can see the grassy bottom from the boat! Of course, the visibility varies on every tour as tidal influences and weather patterns can affect it so we really can not predict what to expect on any given scallop tour!
For our scallop tours, the US Coast Guard counts every body on our boat as a seat, regardless of whether or not you swim. Because of this, we sell our scallop trips per seat and the price is consistent across the board.
Cleaning scallops is part of the experience… and your captain and guide will show you how it is done!! The best part of it all, is that they will not only show you how it’s done but they will do it for you as long as you are good to them!
YES!!!! Explorida is truly dedicated to the customer experience, which means will we shuck your scallops! This is a tough dirty job so be sure to be good to your captain and guide, and they will go above and beyond to ensure they take care of you!
Because we send you off with fresh, cleaned scallops – there are many places around town that can cook your scallops for you! Let us know you are interested in this after your charter, and we will point you in the direction of a few of our favorite local places!
Our boats are all covered to protect you from the HOT Florida sun! They are also all enclosed to protect you from the winter cold! Certain boats offer a traditional boat head, so call if you are specifically looking for that accommodation
If you decide to take a group tour, you will be booked with others. This is the best route for those looking for the most cost effective way to take a tour with us! When you book a private tour, your group will have the boat to yourself. Whether you have a small group of two or even a larger group, we have the perfect private tour for you!
Each tour we offer has a different passenger capacity. We can accommodate groups of 2 or groups of 16 on a single boat!! For larger groups, just give us a call and we will make accommodations for you, with a discount!
We often run promotions with promo codes for certain tours, and if you’re lucky enough to run across one be sure to provide the code at booking to receive your discount! Other than official promotions, we do not offer discounts for military personnel, children, or non-swimmers
All the gear that you need for your tour is included for every trip you take with us! There are no hidden fees or up charges for anything necessary for our tours! We are committed to being transparent, and hitting you with undisclosed upcharges does not align with our standards! Everything is included in the price.
There are no hidden fees associated with our tours! We are committed to being transparent, and hitting you with undisclosed upcharges does not align with our standards!
Whether you swim or not, the price per person is still the same on each tour. There are only so many seats that can be sold on each tour, and you occupy one of those seats even if you never get wet.
Regardless of age or size, the Coast Guard counts every person on the vessel towards the passenger count. Because of that, children are charged the same price as adults.
Due to limited seating, we request that you process any/all cancellations at least 5 days prior to your scheduled tour. Guests who process cancellations at least 5 days prior to ‘any’ scheduled tour will receive full reimbursement. Guests with short term cancellations (less than a 5 day notice) can reschedule at no additional cost or can opt for a gift certificate to reschedule at a more convenient time. In the event that we are required to cancel due to bad weather conditions, boat issues, or other circumstances beyond our personal control, you will be offered the opportunity to reschedule “or” receive full reimbursement.
If your group misses a scheduled tour, we will do the best that we can to accommodate you by rescheduling your party. In the event that you cannot reschedule, we will be unable to process a refund but will most definitely provide you with a gift certificate to return at a more convenient time.
We understand that many of our visitors travel from far far away to take a tour with us, so we do the best we can to work around bad weather conditions. In most situations, we are able to delay our tours to accommodate for bad weather. Very rarely do we have to cancel tours due to unfavorable weather conditions, but it does happen! In the event that it happens, we will offer you the chance to reschedule. If you are not able to reschedule, we will most certainly return your money!
We take your privacy and the security of your information very seriously! We are committed to keep in all payment information secure and NEVER EVER sell any of your contact information. You can count on us!