Rooms at the Plantation Inn & Golf Resort (9301 W. Fort Island Tr., Crystal River, 352/795-4211, www.plantationinn.com , from $184 d) are comfortable and contemporary, if character-free, which is surprising given the antebellum-looking architecture of the main building. Guests are primarily concerned with hitting the Plantation’s golf links, but a beautiful pool deck overlooks one of the inlets to King’s Bay, with manatees frequently trundling past during the winter. The hotel has meeting facilities and two bars, making it popular for business retreats.
The Kings Bay Lodge (506 NW 1st Ave., Crystal River, 352/795-2850, www.kingsbaylodgefla.com , from $70 d) isn’t much more than a motel, but it’s right on the water with its own boat dock and fish-cleaning facilities. Guest rooms are clean and fully-equipped mini-suites with full kitchens, and the friendly owners are often on premises.