Crystal River in Citrus County is quite busy during winter time due to the huge number of manatees in King’s Bay. It’s the largest gathering of manatees in North America.
The West Indian Manatee migrates to Crystal River and the surrounding springs roughly mid-November and stays around the springs until mid-March. This is not guaranteed! In 2018 they already left the springs mid-February due to an unusual high day temperature. Guided tours are offered from November to end of March. You experience most activity during the early morning. If you like to get interactions with manatees book the early morning tour in advance.
The manatees come here during winter time because they get stressed by the cold gulf if the temp goes below 68°F / 20°C. Although they look like to be prepared for cold temperatures their body has not much fat for insulation. The springs have a constant temp of 74°F / 23°C. The reason that they gather around the springs.
During high tide, they move to the Three Sisters Springs, and at low tide, they gather outside in the channel at Idiot’s Delight I and II. Often 400 to 500 manatees can be seen at the springs.
Visiting Three Sisters Springs
If you like to see them in high numbers inside the spring, come during high tide. Tide times Crystal River
It is almost impossible to avoid crowds while swimming with the manatees. Even early morning expect 30 to 40 people in the water. The Three Sisters Springs, however, are tranquil when they open the gate at 8.30.
During the peak season of the manatees, it can be pretty chilly in the morning. On average it's roughly 50°F / 10°C cold in the early morning. We experienced 28°F / -2°C which happens rarely. It was pretty cold when we got out of the water. Day temps are usually between 58°F / 15°C and 70°F / 21°C. Precipitation occurs year-round with its peak in the summer months. It’s quite hot and muggy in the summer and temps are around 90°F / 32°C.
We highly recommend staying here for a couple of days. Visit the Three Sisters Spring, have a look to one of the many other springs like the Rainbow Springs for swimming, enjoy the manatee encounter. Actually, we planned camping in the Rainbow Springs State Park. Due to the cold night temps of 32°F, we’d booked a room at the Hampton Inn Crystal River last minute. It was just a 5 minutes drive to our manatee tour the next morning. We appreciated having a great breakfast each day.
The snorkel trips are offered from Khao Lak, and you get a pick up at the hotel.
Tours are offered from October until May. Very best time for snorkeling around Surin islands from late January until the end of February due to a very calm sea at this time of the year. The sea can be rough, and seasickness can be an issue. On the other hand, this time of the year is the busiest. Continue reading to figure out your best time for the Surin Islands and our top spot for diving.
Shoulder Season – Less Crowded
October, November and April, May except Easter
October is sometimes still too rainy and trips are canceled. May is hot but usually still nice.
December until March. Prices are at the highest level. Surin is not offered daily and should be booked a few days in advance. Similan Islands and Surin Islands are very popular for snorkeling. We got told that the reefs around Surin are more beautiful and Similan beaches are overrun. The trips are pricey therefore think twice where to go and when.
Tip for Divers
Divers should book a liveaboard trip for a couple of days. One outstanding dive spot is Richelieu Rock. Follow the link for detailed information and pictures.
The Channel Islands are five outstanding islands. Great kayaking and snorkeling are to be had here. I've gone twice, both times in Summer, so that's all I can speak to.
The Islands are a year-round destination. Except for Santa Barbara Island, where boats run only from April to November to San Miguel, Santa Barbara, and Santa Rosa. Boat trips to Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island are possible year-round, depending on the weather. Boat trips are not offered daily. Booking in advance is essential.
Most visitors come in summer during the June through August period. However, due to the limited transportation opportunities, it doesn’t get crowded.
The islands have a cool Mediterranean climate, but weather varies considerably from island to island. The winter is cool and wet summer is warm and often dry. Most rainfall from November to April with its peak in January and February and drier from May to October. Summer is the driest period. The climate is influenced a lot by the sea. Fog may appear, especially on the outer islands during the night but can occur at any time. The islands are often windy, and strong winds occur on the outer islands. Strong eastern winds from October to January. Sea temperature is around 50°F (10°C) in winter and around 65°F (18°C) at the end of summer.
Each season has its own character and different weather, natural history events, and outdoor activities. The best time to visit one of the islands depends on what you are looking for as well as the activities you’re planning:
Snorkeling: It's a snorkeling paradise and best at the end of summer until fall with a water temperature of about 65°F (18°C).
Watersports: Besides snorkeling, summer until fall is also the best time for sailing diving, kayaking, and swimming. Many consider early fall as the best time of year for diving or snorkeling as ocean temperatures go up to 70° (F) and visibility may reach 100 feet.
Whale Watching: January until March has the highest chance for gray whale sightings.
April to September is the season for blue and humpback whales due to the high plankton concentration. Year-round spottings: orcas, minke whales and different species of dolphins. Besides, it is common to spot seals, sea lions and water birds.
Birding: Birding is outstanding in the Channel Islands. Some endemic birds occur here like the Island Scrub Jay on Santa Cruz Island. Best time is the nesting season in spring. Shorebirds are best seen on Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel.
Surfing: In the winter and spring the north shore is best, and in the summer and fall it’s the south shore. Best access to all surf spots by private boat due to the remote locations. Besides being one of the best times for surfing, in the winter also some of the best sunsets occur.
Wildflowers: Depending on the amount of rain from the end of winter until spring some continue to bloom during summer. Gumplant, buckwheat, poppies, and verbena can still be viewed in the summer.
If you enjoy snorkeling, the Big Island is one of the best. I'd recommend staying in Kona and check out some of the many snorkeling spots in the area.
Big Island is one of the best places for snorkeling. Although the conditions are good year-round, the perfect season with warmest and excellent water conditions is in the late summer and early fall (August until October).
One of the best spots for snorkeling is the Mount Cook Monument. If you like to hike to this coral reef start early or late. It's pretty busy with tour boats from approximately 10 am until early afternoon. Bring enough water for the hike. Scroll down for more information about the different snorkel spots south of Kona.
Hawaii is a sunny and warm paradise with very little temperature variation throughout the seasons: Big Island Weather Guide. There is even less rain in the drier season from May until October, which makes these months even better for snorkeling. However, it's a tropical climate and some rain can always occur in Hawaii. That's the reason why the islands have a lush and green vegetation. The north and east coast get more rain than south and west which is the leeward side. The area around Kona is often foggy in the summertime.
You'll find the warmest water in late summer / early fall from August through October around 80°F (27°) degrees. It tends to drop by 6-9 degrees during winter. In winter, it’s also a little chilly in the mornings, when it’s a good idea to wear a thin neoprene wet suit top. The winter months from December to March tend to have heavy surf at times.
Seasons - Avoiding the Crowds
Fewer visitors in spring and fall: mid-April to mid-June and September (after Labor Day) to November. However, it's busier during the "Golden Week" in Japan at the end of April until the beginning of May. It gets very crowded when the Ironman takes place in October. Busy and increasing rates in summer (mid-June through August), during Christmas, New Year's Eve (mid-December until mid-January) and on Independence Day.
Bottom Line and Personal Experience
Although some months might not be ideal, you can visit the Big Island year-round for amazing snorkeling tours. Almost perfect months with fewer visitors as well as excellent water conditions are usually September and October. My visit to Hawaii was in September 2011. Kona's weather is often described as "eternal spring". Not too hot, not too cold, with some late afternoon rain showers. If you're lucky, you might get to see a rainbow! Crowds in September were fine although probably a bit higher than normal because it was the week before the big Hawaii Ironman Triathlon event. There were lots of bikers on the road training.
Basata is the first unique eco-lodge built in Egypt in 1986. The resort is located in South Sinai between Taba and Nuweiba, possessing one of best five beaches in the world.
Best time is april to october. It is getting hot in June till August
Turtle Islands National Park consist of three islands; Pulau Gulisan, Pulau Bakkungaan and Pulau Selingaan.
The green turtles and the hawksbill turtles lay their eggs throughout the year, but the best time to head there is between July and September when the sea is calmer.
It is tropical hot and humid year-round. A little cooler at the rainy season from November to February/March. Temps are between 27°-32° C / 80°-90° F the whole year. The dry season last from April to September. Anyway, it can rain at any time of the year. Most rainfall during December and January roads can be impassable.
- Shoulder season: March until May/June and September, October. lower prices, less crowded, weather almost fine.
- Peak season: June, July and August with high season prices, very crowded, almost perfect weather conditions.
Only guided tours are allowed to the beach from evening until next morning 6 a.m. to protect the turtles. Get up early and visit the beach sharp at 6 a.m. If you are lucky you may see a turtle moving from the beach back into the sea. This is truly a unique experience.