10 Things to Do in Crystal River That You Shouldn't Miss

February 12, 2018 Viva Honore

Crystal River is a city in Citrus County, Florida, United States. The population was 3,108 in the 2010 census. (3,485 in 2000). According to the U.S Census estimates of 2012, the city had a population of 3,055. The city was incorporated in 1903 and is the self professed "Home of the Manatee". Crystal River Preserve State Park is located nearby, and Crystal River Archaeological State Park is located in the city's northwest side.
Restaurants in Crystal River

1. Crystal River

Crystal River, FL +1 352-563-2763
Excellent
77%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 420 reviews

Crystal River

Reviewed By Q4979RBmarkh - Benton City, Washington

Stayed at the Plantation Inn, kayaks all over, swam with the manatees, visited three sister springs, just an awesome area with so much to do.

2. Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge

1502 SE Kings Bay Dr, Crystal River, FL 34429-4661 +1 352-382-0102
Excellent
67%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 222 reviews

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge

Come have an opportunity to see the great West Indian Manatee in the crystal clear springs at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge!

Reviewed By Otonabee - Ontario

Nice set up. Took boat into the area from the main entrance. Enjoyable view, animals. The park has numerous areas, the manatees are always available, a rhino, and the traditional Florida creatures, snakes, pink flamingos, to name a few. Enjoyable afternoon. Like most Florida attractions, very expensive. This one at least was a reasonable presentation.

3. Three Sisters Springs

123 NW US Highway 19, Crystal River, FL 34428-3930 +1 352-586-1170
Excellent
74%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Three Sisters Springs

Reviewed By emsterrrr - Maryland

I have been following Three Sister Springs on Instagram/Twitter for weeks to make sure the Manatees were still in the Springs (something that really helped out!). We went the end of March (March 26) and got pretty lucky as far as the Manatees still being in the Springs, with about 50 visible. There was plenty of room to look without being too overcrowded or feeling overwhelmed by so many people. There was plenty of space to see everything.

The address for the Springs (601 Three Sisters Springs Trail) will take you to the entrance of the Springs, BUT, there is NO PUBLIC PARKING THERE! There is a gate and you will not be able to get through to park. We were advised by the employee that parking around this area is park at your own risk & we didn't want to risk being towed.

We ended up parking at the Three Sister Springs Visitor center (123 NW US Highway 19) and taking the trolley tour over. To get here, it's easier to turn onto 1st Ave and park in the Parking lot. We followed Google directions and turned down 2nd, which was a Police department (the visitor center is on the other side of the building). The trolley stops at the Visitor center stops approximately every 20 minutes and will take you on a small tour through Crystal River and will drop you off right at the entrance to the Boardwalk. Once at the Boardwalk, the trolley will come every 30 minutes. 30 minutes was not long enough to walk the whole boardwalk, the trails and marvel at the animals, so we ended up staying for about an hour.

This was a must on our trip. Unfortunately, we were not prepared to snorkel or do any other water activity, so we just stuck with the boardwalk. Next time we will be snorkeling!

4. Crystal River Archaeological State Park

3400 N Museum Pt, Crystal River, FL 34428-6207 +1 352-795-3817
Excellent
45%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
17%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 268 reviews

Crystal River Archaeological State Park

A top archaeological destination for Native American artifacts.

Reviewed By yvonne p - El Sobrante, California

61 acre state park has paved walkways meandering to different Indian shell mounds; stairs going to the top of the highest one. Trees and lawns (stay on trail signs). Museum was closed when we were there. pay for day use. Pre-Columbian, Native American site has burial mounds, temple/platform mounds, a plaza area and a substantial midden. The six-mound complex is one of the longest continuously occupied sites in Florida.

5. Hunter's Spring Park

104 NE 1st Ave, Crystal River, FL 34429-4102
Excellent
51%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
6%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 178 reviews

Hunter's Spring Park

Reviewed By evac93rd - Conyers, GA

We had a drift dive down the Rainbow River planned and needed somewhere to spend 3 hours from the time we checked out of our hotel room until we were supposed to check in at the dive shop. For a $5 parking fee my dive buddy and I were able to sit in the shade drinking soda, reading while watching manatees and people. There is a beach, launching for small boats and PWC as well as restrooms.

6. Fort Island Gulf Beach

16000 W. Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429
Excellent
30%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
25%
Poor
7%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 479 reviews

Fort Island Gulf Beach

Reviewed By Poleinahole - Chicago, Illinois

This is a small white sand beach on the Gulf of Mexico. Its popular with families with small children as the waves are gentle. People even bring their pets. There are public toilets and even life jackets on loan. Nice sunsets from this beach.

7. Crystal River Preserve State Park

3266 N Sailboat Ave, Crystal River, FL 34428-6205 +1 352-228-6028
Excellent
51%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
17%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 123 reviews

Crystal River Preserve State Park

Crystal River Preserve State Park is a remnant of the Florida coastline that has changed little since Europeans arrived over 500 years ago. The park preserves more than 27,000 acres of diverse natural communities such as scrub, pinewoods, hardwood forests, salt marshes and mangrove islands. Much of the property is still untouched, allowing visitors a glimpse at what this area of Florida looked like centuries ago. Given the natural community diversity, the preserve is an ideal location for birding and wildlife viewing. The preserve offers several miles of hiking and biking trails and two designated kayak launches. From Labor Day to Memorial Day (September-May) Eco-heritage boat trips leave from the park headquarters. The 1.5-hour boat tour gives visitors the opportunity to see coastal marsh and learn how it and the associated marine estuary provided for the ancient river dwellers that once lived here. The 24-passenger vessel “Monroe” runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., weather permitting. The cost is $15.00 for adults, $10.00 for children under 12 years of age, children 6 years of age and under are free. Boat tickets can be purchased one hour prior to departure, forms of payment accepted are cash or check.

Reviewed By westmotraveler - Holden, Missouri

If you are looking for an accessible park with animals that appear on demand, head south to Homosassa. This park is for nature lovers. We stayed within walking distance of this park and walk we did - every day for 15 straight days. There are several marked and maintained trails, but the fun was following the single track root and rocky trails created by fishmen and animals. My goal was to never walk the exact same route twice. My favorites were the Crystal Cove trails with my own special side adventures and the Ecco trail which is about 3 miles from the park proper. Both of these trails provide you with a taste of Old Florida. I didn't see a lot of wildlife, only squirrels, armadillos, raccoon, and deer on the trails. I took an afternoon nature cruise and saw bottle-nosed porpoise, eagle, egrets, heron, one manatee, and other birds.

One disappointment of the park is the park office displays. The dioramas are dark and old. The short 8 minute video presentation was informative and answered many of my questions. The ranger staff and volunteers were exceedingly helpful.

8. Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge

1502 SE Kings Bay Dr, Crystal River, FL 34429-4661 +1 352-563-2088
Excellent
64%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 79 reviews

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge

Reviewed By FLworldwanderer - Florida

The Chassahowitzka River is a great place to do some easy kayaking. Some of the wildlife you may see are dolphins, osprey, owls, river otters, manatee, and several bird species, not to mention several species of fish in the clear waters. Several underwater springs can be found along the way. Enjoy, and leave no trash, so others can see what you see. Hope this is helpful for your first visit.

9. Fort Island Trail Park

12073 W Fort Island Trl, Crystal River, FL 34429-9215 +1 352-527-7540
Excellent
40%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 88 reviews

Fort Island Trail Park

Reviewed By Travelingmaine - Beverly Hills, Florida

The reason for only 3 stars is the limited parking that is available. On a busy day you may be hard pressed to find a spot. Considering the fishing pier easily could accommodate as many as a dozen people and with 2 covered picnic areas with 2-4 tables under each, there is probably only space for a dozen cars. And considering it also has a boat ramp, could really get crowded in a hurry. Place is absolutely immaculate though with a very nice rest facility included.

10. Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins

3400 N Museum Pt, Homosassa, FL 34446 / 34448, Crystal River, FL 34428-6207 +1 352-795-3817
Excellent
14%
Good
46%
Satisfactory
32%
Poor
7%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 181 reviews

Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins

Reviewed By ARodriguezP - Miami, Florida

These ruins are what remains of a sugar mill owned by the first senator of Jewish origin in the US Senate and though not much remains it does make for an interesting stop to read the brief explanations and gain an insight to some of Florida's early agricultural business. I wouldn't go out of my way to visit them but if visiting nearby Homosassa Springs then do make it a point to check it out!

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