The Plantation on Crystal River – A Full Service Resort in Florida’s Nature Coast Region

Plantation on Crystal River sea wall and property

I fell in love upon arrival. The resort is laid back with an “Old Florida” charm. If you’re traveling to Crystal River to swim with the gregarious giant West Indian manatees, you’d be remiss if you planned your stay anywhere but the Plantation on Crystal River.

fountain at the entrance of Plantation at Crystal River property
A manatee fountain greets guests at the entrance of Plantation on Crystal River property

The Plantation on Crystal River: A Full-Service Resort

If you like to have the kind of travel experience that is relaxing and low drag, this is the resort to book. There are several places to eat and drink, a pool, a spa, a dive and adventure center, golf, and many acres to explore in the sun. You can rent a boat or book a charter fishing trip. It’s ALL here. You don’t have to leave if you don’t want to — at least, not until you check out!

The Plantation on Crystal River guest room
Two queen guest room

The rooms are all great — the reservations specialist said, “we only have parking lot view, will that be okay?” I didn’t plan to spend much time in the room, so I assured her, that would be fine. I didn’t expect the relaxing patio, facing the parked cars, to be my favorite spot to relax between activities. Playful and curious anoles enjoyed the path and trees near the sliding glass door outside the room. And, this self-parking resort lot was not at all the bustling, noisy place you’d expect. So, trust me when I say, rooms facing either the water OR the parking lot are just fine!

anole in bark landscaping
Hiding in the bark near the patio

The long driveway acts as a nice buffer, with large trees twisted with strands of white lights, keeping the fray of traffic on the road at bay. The golf course across the road also keeps city noises to a bare minimum. It’s all zen, I promise!

The Plantation Adventure Center

Plantation Adventure Center boats docked
Cruise boats docked at the Plantation Adventure Center
Manatee with snorkelers
Manatee mania!

The Plantation Golf Course

Wood storks near the 7th hole on the Plantation Championship Course
Wood storks near the 7th hole on the Plantation Championship Course

 

Christmas Day round of golf
Christmas Day round of golf, warm and sunny!

 

Golf on the Championship Course at the Plantation
Golf on the Championship Course at the Plantation

Dining at the Plantation on Crystal River

Tiki deck & bar near the pool at the Plantation on Crystal River
Tiki deck & bar near the pool area at the Plantation on Crystal River

West 82 Bar & Grill

Since it was right over the Christmas holiday when we stayed at the Plantation, we didn’t end up ordering off menu during our stay. We did however enjoy breakfast buffet options each morning and the special Christmas Grand Buffet (which draws hundreds of guests each year including many locals and requires a reservation to make sure you get a seating!)

West 82 seating at The Plantation on Crystal River
West 82 breakfast seating at The Plantation on Crystal River

19th Hole Sports Bar & Grill

After swinging up an appetite on the Championship course, we returned our clubs and cruised over to the bar for a bite and a beer. The pro shop and clubhouse is really expansive and clean. The restrooms offer a shower area.

Peel and eat shrimp from the Tiki Deck and Bar
Peel and eat shrimp from the Tiki Deck and Bar

Tiki Deck & Bar

Plantation Punch comes highly recommended poolside!
Plantation Punch comes highly recommended poolside!

Since it was a vacation, after all, I will admit I spent my fair share of time at the Tiki bar. Buckets of Plantation Punch were ordered and I regret nothing! The menu out at the Tiki Deck & Bar is more than just typical “bar food.” I ordered peel and eat shrimp, a delicious chicken quesadilla, and a sandwich with chips (at separate trips to nosh at the bar!) You won’t go hungry and the kitchen is open fairly late. We were also really thrilled with some live music (both covers and holiday tunes) by a local talent, Sophie Noelle. She was wonderful to listen to while we enjoyed the poolside ambience.