In Florida’s hot summer months, what better way to relax than in cool 72 degree natural spring water? Three Sisters Springs is one of several springs in Kings Bay at the headwaters of the Crystal River within the boundaries of Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. It is the only spring in the refuge which can be reached by land and which is open to the public. Three Sisters is a very special spring as it is a winter sanctuary for West Indian manatees. Because of this, portions of the springs are not open to swimming from November 15th to March 31st annually. During this winter span, visitors can still view the manatees from the shore or designated swimming areas if the choose.
Outside of the restricted winter months, or in designated areas, Three Sisters Spring is open for swimming, tubing, kayaking, canoeing, boating, fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. There is a gift shop and picnic areas onsite, however camping and pets are not allowed. Admission to the springs is free so it is a popular destination for locals in the summer months.
Water in the springs is crystal clear so you can see fish easily against the white sandy bottom. You may also spot rays and manatees in the river. You must be careful when swimming, however, as the current of the river is quite strong. At some times, hundreds of manatees can be witnessed at the area around the springs. Although they are gentle creatures, you should not pet them as there is a fine of over $100 if you are spotted doing so by a ranger. It is always best to go on weekdays as weekends are quite crowded.
Photo courtesy of www.visitcitrus.com