• Overview
  • Trip Outline
  • Trip Includes
  • Trip Excludes
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  • FAQ
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Our voyage begins beneath the shimmering surface of the water in the springs of Florida, where manatees winter and mermaids train. The gentle giants of the underwater world, with their docile nature and lovable appearance, provide a fascinating contrast to the ethereal mermaids. 

In this homeschool adventure, we will blend folklore and science and imagination and facts, as we explore the springs' depths, guided by the legends of mermaids and the wonders of manatees.

So, grab your snorkels and mermaid fins, and prepare to dive into a world where the magic of the mermaids and the charm of manatees await. Let's embark on an adventure that will ignite your child's curiosity, foster their love of the natural world and leave them with cherished homeschool memories, as we uncover the mysteries of the deep, one captivating story and scientific discovery at a time.

Join me for a truly one-of-a-kind homeschool experience.

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure that will leave you breathless and in awe? Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters of Crystal River, Florida, and embark on a magical journey!

When: January 14 - 17, 2024
Where: Crystal River, FL
Reservations Close and all Balances Due: December 15, 2023. 

Meet the Gentle Giants: Picture your family swimming with these gentle giants of the sea – the manatees! These peaceful and curious creatures, also known as sea cows, call Crystal River home during winter. Get up close and personal with these fascinating marine mammals, known for their friendly nature and heartwarming interactions.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience: This isn't just a swim; it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will stay with you forever. Crystal River offers a unique opportunity to witness these incredible beings in their natural habitat, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Gliding through the water, you'll find yourself in a world where manatees gracefully move around you, offering a connection with nature that words can't describe. 

Guided Adventure with Experts: Rest assured, your adventure is in the hands of seasoned professionals. Our expert guides are passionate about marine conservation and will ensure your experience is thrilling and respectful to the manatees and their environment. Learn about these gentle giants, their behaviors, and the importance of preserving their habitat.

Ashley Chelberg, Marine Biologist, will be joining us for this trip.

Perfect for All Ages: Whether you're an avid snorkeler or a first-time adventurer, swimming with manatees at Crystal River is an experience for everyone. Families can enjoy this enchanting encounter with the sea's most lovable residents and we will offer different ways to interact with the manatees. 

We will start our trip with a manatee awareness program to learn about the habitat, behavior, and anatomy of manatees, as we learn interesting facts about how a salt-water mammal can survive in the freshwater surrounding the springs! 

Our water adventures with the manatees will include being outfitted with a wetsuit (provided for our travelers. They have a huge range of sizes - infant to xxxxxxxxxxl). You will have already chosen your family's mode of transportation at registration on how you will reach your spot in King's Bay, so we will divide  into groups and head out on the water.

Once we arrive at our various watery destinations in King's Bay, we will all be provided with noodles to float on and snorkel equipment (if you choose to use it). The manatees, just like us, are susceptible to cold and hypothermia and cannot survive for extended periods when water temperatures fall below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. These beautiful springs remain a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit providing manatees with a warm water refuge from the cold Gulf waters. Swimming with manatees is such an incredible opportunity to directly interact with and observe these gentle giants in the only place in the United States where it is actually legal to do so.

Crystal River and King's Bay Natural Springs

Crystal River is the Manatee Capital of the World. It is home to the only National Wildlife Refuge in the United States specifically created to protect habitats for Florida’s beloved official marine animal. Crystal River/Kings Bay is the second largest springs group in Florida, with more than 70 springs scattered within the 600-acre bay. The springs are the headwaters of Crystal River, which is a short, tidal river that flows seven miles from the headsprings to where it meets the Gulf of Mexico at Crystal Bay in Citrus County, Florida.

We will offer many ways to interact with the manatee at different locations around the Crystal River area. You can:

  • Snorkel
  • Swim
  • Float on a Noodle
  • Kayak (note we have a few brand new clear kayaks available to us. They will be offered on a first come, first served basis. So register now.)
  • Paddle Boards
  • Pontoon Boats


Mermaid / Merman Training

But Crystal River is not just the perfect place to swim with manatees; it's a stage for your mermaid training adventure as well! If you have ever dreamt of gracefully gliding through the water with a shimmering tail, now's your chance! Our Mermaid / Merman Training experience instantly transforms you into the mythical creature you've always admired. Feel the magic as you become part of this underwater fairy tale.

The team of professional mermaid instructors will guide us through the art of mermaid swimming. We will learn the graceful techniques, mesmerizing movements, and secrets to embodying the spirit of a mermaid. These experts will ensure you feel confident and magical in your newfound aquatic persona.

snorkeling rainbow river

Snorkel Rainbow River

If being a mermaid / merman is not your thing, we also will be embarking on a guided snorkel adventure led by experienced and knowledgeable divers. Encounter an array of fascinating marine life, from playful turtles gliding through the water to schools of colorful fish dancing beneath the surface. Rainbow River is home to a diverse ecosystem, providing a captivating snorkeling experience for nature lovers and underwater enthusiasts alike.

Again, for this experience we will be in wetsuits provided to us. 

Crystal River Archaeological State Park

Crystal River Arch Park TM08

The park contains a six-mound complex, occupied from the Deptford period through Santa Rosa-Swift Creek culture and up to the Late Fort Walton period. This timespan makes it one of the longest continually occupied sites in Florida, believed to have been occupied for 1,600 years. We will be given a guided tour to learn about the Native Americans who lived in the Crystal River area and the ceremonial, burial and midden mounds they built. The grounds are lovely, and along with the variety of oak, sabal palm, cedar, magnolia and other Florida native trees, you will see many birds and butterflies throughout the year.

We will visit the museum to view a diorama that dominates the interior of the museum. It depicts a scale model of the site as it may have looked centuries before its abandonment. We will also view the exhibits that explain the history of the coastal dwellers who used the area in ancient times. Artifacts from pottery to projectile points found at the nearby archaeological site and view timelines that provide comparisons with historical events occurring in other parts of the world during similar time periods.

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex

We will learn all about the precious manatees in a spectacular setting. Situated right on King's Bay in the heart of Crystal River, the National Wildlife Refuge Complex and Visitors Center is not to be missed. The facility has interactive displays and exhibits about the Crystal River Wildlife Refuge.

Mosaic Art

We have a well-known and loved local artist guiding us in creating a mosaic manatee piece of art. This piece is a little more intricate than our normal painting and will take about 5 hours to complete over two evenings. 

Ready to Register?

Payments: Please see the information below for pricing and payment information. Each family will pay a non-refundable registration fee of $250 at time of registration. The balance will be due December 15, 2023.

I charge a registration fee of $250 per family, which is due upon registration. Because I can only accommodate a limited number of families on this trip, you’ll want to sign up and pay your registration fee to hold your spot as soon as possible. Also, please note teens are counted as adults for this trip, so you will see 2 adults without children (when that is one adult and one teen).

If you have a larger family than the numbers listed below, contact me so I can get you an exact quote. 

The price below does not include the non-refundable registration fee.


Paddletail Waterfront Lodge

Double Rooms.



All meals are included in the Activity Fee. Included meals are listed below.

  • breakfast every morning (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning) Continental at hotel
  • lunch every day (Monday and Tuesday)
  • dinner every evening (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evening)

Payments, Cancellations, and Refund Policies

Your non-refundable registration fee of $250 is due upon registration. I cannot make any changes after December 15, 2023. Note, I will need at least 20 families to register to be able to confirm this trip. Also, I have to place a cap on this trip due the space limitations in Crystal River. I encourage you to check into travel insurance. Click the image below to get your customized quote online.

We worry so you don't have to.

Once you have registered and paid your registration fee, you will be added to a private Facebook group that is only for those adults who will travel to Crystal Springs, FL, with me. (I create a group like this for every trip.) This allows those who will be attending to start getting to know each other. It also gives me a place to share important information with those attending.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: It is required that you - or at least one adult who is attending the trip and who is doing the planning for your family - join this group since it is the way I communicate important information and details about the trip with the families who attend. If you don't have a Facebook account, you will need to create one to use until the conclusion of the trip.)

I’ve seen many life-long friendships begin on these trips, and I expect the same thing to happen in Crystal River! That is one of the most beautiful aspects of these trips... the community for families living the home education lifestyle. I can’t wait to meet you, if you are new to my trips... and I can't wait to see your family again if you are coming back. ♥ ♥ ♥

If you have any questions, please email me at Info (at) HomeschoolTravelAdventures (dot) com. Be sure to put “Crystal River Questions” in your subject line.

Add-on Events:

I do not have any add-on events at this point. If I add any, it will be announced in the group for you to register for it. The trip (except for any future add-ons) officially ends Wednesday before lunch.


Date : January 14, 2024


All activities, museums, 

Meals (Breakfast: Monday - Wednesday. Lunch: Monday and Tuesday. Dinner: Sunday - Tuesday).

Educational aspects provided by Marine Biologist and experts from vendors

Tips and gratuities


Wetsuit  Rental

Mermaid Monofin Rental 



Not Included:

Travel to and from the destination and all travel on-site. 

Snorkel Gear

Mermaid Monofin can be purchased

Please wait...

No, the registration fees are non-refundable and does not count as a deposit toward the trip total.

No, but I will provide you a contact where you can purchase it. I highly recommend trip insurance for all of the trips.

No, but some activities do have a minimum age.

For mermaid training, your children must be at least six years old and a competent swimmer.

It varies, but we regularly are up and going by 8 am and many times don't return to the hotel until after 8 pm at night. We go hard on these trips. I treat our activities like a buffet. I offer them all. You get to pick and choose what you want to participate in.

Yes! I love to have your extended family with us on these trips! There will an additional charge if they are participating in the daily activities and/or meals.

Yes, all tour packages include taxes and tips except for those you may choose to offer your guide. You are welcome to supplement if you feel that their exceptional service deserves such.

I will provide a detailed packing guide a couple of weeks prior to the trip.

Yes. We have a minimum of 20 families and a maximum of 125 people.

No. Our model is based on building relationships and community with the other attendees. That is really what makes my trips different. So, unfortunately, staying offsite is not an option.

Not on the front end of the trip. The hotel is booked for that weekend. At this point, they do have availability for after our trip.

I will try my very best to accommodate all dietary requirements. However, in some locations it can be very difficult to guarantee. I will let you know if there are places on your itinerary where this is the case. Please complete the dietary restrictions form to let me know any food requirements or allergies.

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