After an arduous journey, my family and I ended our trek from Louisville, Kentucky to the old world charm of Florida.  It wasn’t a short drive, but it was oh so worth it!

The stately driveway that opened before us led us to the Plantation on Crystal River, a hotel with tons of southern charm, located just about 90 minutes from Orlando.

Crystal River Driveway

The Driveway leading to the Plantation on Crystal River Photo: Allison Taylor Research TravelingMom

Stay in Southern Charm at the Plantation on Crystal River

My family is always on the hunt for local, from local places to shop to eat and even down to hotels. There is something special about supporting the people that make their communities tick.

We could tell that there was something different about The Plantation on Crystal River from the moment that we turned on the drive. It is evident from the interactions we had with the staff that they took great pride in the hotel.

The grand staircase provides a lovely backdrop the lobby and enhanced the warm greeting we received when we were checking in (and any other time we passed through). When you see a staircase like this one, don’t you just dream about the stories that started on those stairs? No? Maybe it is just me.

Our Research TravelingMom visited Crystal River Flordia and stayed at the Plantation on Crystal River. Find out why she thinks you should book a stay!

The Staircase in the lobby of the Plantation on Crystal River Photo Courtesy: Plantation on Crystal River

The plantation spans over 200+ acres. Its owners pride themselves on being an eco-friendly resort.

Surrounded by Kings Bay, the spot that the manatees migrate to each year, it only makes sense for the resort to be a good partner in doing their part to take care of the earth.

The Accommodations 

The resort is spread over a well-manicured area. Rooms are dispersed across several buildings to either side of the main building which houses the lobby and the on-site restaurant West 82.

Our room was in the building to the far right of the main building. Each of these buildings are just 2 stories. None are so large that it feels overwhelming. In fact, I found I preferred the smaller feel of this resort.

The rooms seemed larger than a standard hotel room and were nicely appointed. The room we were in had the ability, by opening a door, to become an adjoining room. So handy for families with older kids! We are just starting to get to the point with our two that a second room would come in handy. It’s nice to know the option is there!

Our Research TravelingMom visited Crystal River Flordia and stayed at the Plantation on Crystal River. Find out why she thinks you should book a stay!

A Room at the Plantation On Crystal River Photo: Allison Taylor Research TravelingMom

Things To Do On Property

One of the most appealing features of the resort is the fact that there is lots of green space. My kids need space to get their wiggles out, especially after a long car ride. The Plantation on Crystal River certainly has ample space for kids to be kids and lots of inviting spots for parents to watch their children.

On property, there is also a 27 hole golf course for those who love to hit the irons while unwinding on vacation. Another great choice is the beautiful (heated) pool with seasonal tiki bar.

Things To Do Off Property

There are several charters that can be taken from other outfits, but you don’t need to call one of them. The Plantation offers all of the on the water activities that were the appeal for a trip to Crystal River in the first place.

Activities range from manatee tours to fishing both inland and off-shore. All this and more can be booked during your stay at the Plantation.

Our Manatee Tour

Our Research TravelingMom visited Crystal River Flordia and stayed at the Plantation on Crystal River. Find out why she thinks you should book a stay!

Guests can swim with the manatees. Photo Courtesy: Plantation on Crystal River

We took a manatee tour, and seeing the manatees is something we’ll never forget. But the kindness of the two captains leading the tour was what stood out the most to my husband and me.

My youngest was too afraid to get into the water, so my husband and I took turns staying on the boat with him. But Captain Greg wasn’t going to let us miss out on the adventure. Since he was staying with the boat anyway, he offered to let our little guy hang with him. By the time we got back, he had taught my son how to call the osprey, something he still does on a regular basis. Greg made such an impact on my little dude, he ended up naming one of his stuffed animals Captain Greg.

My oldest was excited to get into the water, but when the time came to hop in,  it was very evident that nerves had overcome him. Captain John said that he could stick with him the entire time and that he did.

My older dude likely got a better view of the manatees than anyone else on the tour because he was being shown these gentle giants by the Captain himself.

Best Staff Around

My boys left the excursion chatting about how much fun they had. They couldn’t wait to get home to tell their friends. Sure, the manatees were awesome and something pretty amazing to see up close, but let’s face it. That isn’t what made their trip so memorable. It was the fantastic staff behind the excursion who did that.

If you haven’t made your way to the quaint little town of Crystal River, Florida, I highly encourage a visit. Just make plans to stay at the Plantation on Crystal River for an amazing trip.

Our Research TravelingMom visited Crystal River Flordia and stayed at the Plantation on Crystal River. Find out why she thinks you should book a stay!