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
4.5 based on 420 reviews
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.
4.5 based on 222 reviews
Come have an opportunity to see the great West Indian Manatee in the crystal clear springs at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge!
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.
4.5 based on 1 reviews
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 based on 268 reviews
A top archaeological destination for Native American artifacts.
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.
4 based on 178 reviews
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.
4 based on 479 reviews
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.
4 based on 123 reviews
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.
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.
4.5 based on 79 reviews
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.
4 based on 88 reviews
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.
3.5 based on 181 reviews
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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