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Crystal River Hotels - The Top Crystal River Hotels - Most-Visited, Highest-Rated, Best Budget

bay located suites plantation

Crystal River is a small town in Florida with a resident population of only 3, 539. It is located in Citrus County, which is on the Gulf coast of northern Florida just below the panhandle. Crystal River is known for its natural attractions and it is at the heart of the area being called Florida’s Nature Coast. The natural attractions of the town are mostly incorporated into Crystal River Preserve State Park and Crystal River Archaeological State Park. The most prominent of the natural features is Kings Bay, the second-largest spring-fed aquifer in the state. Crystal River has dubbed itself the “Home of the Manatee,” and it is known by the nickname “Manatee Haven” because it is the premiere viewing spot for Manatees in the world. It is also the only place in the United States where visitors can legally swim with and interact with manatees in the wild.

Because of tourism and the manatee visitors, there are a number of Crystal River hotels available for guests. These hotels are of all types – from large upscale resorts to roadside motels. If you are planning to visit the area, your choice in hotels can be narrowed by this guide, featuring the top Crystal River hotels in three categories: most-visited, highest-rated, and best budget.


The Plantation Golf Resort & Spa
9301 West Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429
Reservations: 800-632-6262
Phone: 352-795-4211

The Plantation Resort is a beautiful southern plantation-styled hotel that sits on 232 acres on the Bay amid the beauty of Crystal River. It is no wonder this is the most-visited of the Crystal River hotels. It provides the most amenities and luxuries of any other area hotel. Not only do Golf Enthusiasts enjoy the hotel, but anyone who is wishing for a little relaxation and pampering can enjoy it without ever getting on the 27-hole course. Also featured at The Plantation is a full-service spa with Aveda-brand products and activities such as swimming with the manatees, boat rentals, tennis, and fishing. All rooms include coffee makers, premium-channel TVs, and down comforters. Besides standard rooms, there are also patio rooms for easy access to the outdoors and junior suites. Standard rooms start at $129 per night and Suites start at $179 per night.


Holiday Inn Express Crystal River
1203 NE 5th Street, Crystal River, FL 34429
Phone: 352-563-1111
Fax: 352-563-1112

Although this is only a chain hotel, past guests unanimously rate it 5/5 stars, making it the highest-consumer rated hotel in Crystal River. The high ratings may have something to do with the fact that it is also the newest hotel in town. It is located near US-19 and US-44, so there is easy highway access. It is also near to the activities of the state parks and The Shoppes of Heritage Village. Amenities include a 24-hour business center, courier service, onsite and offsite fitness centers, and an outdoor pool. The complimentary Express Start hot breakfast buffet is provided every morning and for lunch or dinner an Applebee’s and Chili’s are located nearby. Rooms include microwaves, refrigerators, and LCD TVs. Rooms start at $84 per night.

Best Budget

King’s Bay Lodge
506 NW 1st Avenue, Crystal River, FL 34428
Toll-free: 866-598-1581
Phone: 352-795-2850

King’s Bay Lodge is the best budget hotel in Crystal River. This independently-operated establishment has consistently high ratings and low rates. It is located directly on the Bay where Crystal River begins, fed from the underground springs. A small area of river at King’s Bay Lodge is walled off to form a natural outdoor pool that is perfect for swimming. An outdoor picnic area is also popular, and boat docks with a fish-cleaning facility are located onsite. 18 ground-level efficiency suites are available for guests. Each includes a kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave, stove, cookware, and utensils. Parking is just outside each suite. All suites are $70 per night with discounts for extended stays.

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