I rented a kayak from Crystal River outfitters -- one of several outfitters in the area. My preference is canoeing, but everyone seems to rent kayaks. I was given a detailed map and paddling instructions to find manatees. I paddled out a small channel, and around a large marina and then back into a channel toward the Three Sisters area.
It was not long and I was noticing that I was not alone in the water.
In a wide area of the channel, 3 other kayaks and 2 pontoon boats had taken floated into an area filled with Manatees. Below, in the clear water, I could easily see these large mammals gently gliding effortlessly through the water just inches beneath me. I had to watch where I put my paddle.
There was a good breeze that day and I had to make some strokes in order to not drift into some folks that were snorkeling in the water. It was an amazing experience.
I was dropped off and picked up at a city park
all day rental ran about $35
Google search on crystal river / manatee / outfitters
A detailed map with current manatee sighting information was provided.