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Crystal River is a charming coastal city in northwest Florida, located in Kings Bay in Citrus County. It crosses the beautiful Crystal River, the gateway to the Gulf of Mexico, which connects the city of Homosassa Springs. Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and Three Sisters Spring offer opportunities to admire manatees from various walks and views.
About 1.5 hours north of Tampa, Crystal River is a Florida city with pure love for nature lovers. Good seafood and beaches nearby are enough to keep you busy during a short visit.
Many people skipped this part of Florida, but these are five reasons they can’t cross the Crystal River and its surroundings.
Do you have the opportunity to explore the unique charm of this beautiful place? If not, we think it’s time to change this! However, before doing so, we recommend asking about the best tourist attractions first, as we will give you some exciting details about these places. Remember, Florida’s beautiful Crystal River is a complete victory, especially if you want to escape from a bustling metropolis. Let’s analyse together without much disclosure and see what this exciting summary can do for you! Scroll down and discover the best things in Crystal River, Florida.
Crystal River is one of the few places in Florida with manatees infesting each year in the cooler months (because, yes, Florida has a winter version!).
The city and its surrounding waters have natural spring water that rages 72 degrees throughout the year, attracting manatees who cannot stay in cold water.
Every winter, hundreds of cute giants enter the springs and rivers around the Crystal River (a handful of Crystal River “manatees” that live in the area all year round), which makes Kafran tourists so popular.
Manatees can be friendly and fun, and swimming with them is a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
(If you decide to look for manatees without visiting, remember that they are wild animals, and you should always leave some space for them. If I don’t tell you, don’t approach the manatees and follow the road signs. Swim in certain areas. )
One of the most famous places where manatees gather on the Crystal River in Sisters Springs is a collection of three natural hot springs that feed the Crystal River.
There are three ways to try Three Sisters Spring:
You can visit this place all year round and swim in the hot springs.
To access the Three Sisters Pass, you can book Three Sisters Springs through the local guides. They will take you to the park by bus, and then you will have an hour on foot to talk to volunteers who watch the hot springs. This is a beautiful place worth visiting.
Another way to visit the hot spring is by boat or canoe (such as kayaking or paddle boating). However, the manatee season is usually not allowed in the hot spring during the manatee season from November 15th to 31st.
Finally, you can swim in the hot spring. Swimming in the hot springs (like on a manatee trip) is significant because the water is clear. However, remember that during the Manatee season, there are strict rules about where you can go and where you can’t. There will be floats/signs indicating the location of the official “sheep shelter”, so please respect them.
One of my favourite activities in the Crystal River area is canoeing in the beautiful Chassahowitzka River. The river is 5 miles southwest of Citrus City and a 20-minute drive from Crystal River.
Like many rivers in this part of Florida, “The Chazz” is full of spring water and will explode with various lives.
Run a camp / mobile home garden with Tara and Denis Tourism from Citrus County, where you can charter and board a boat and quietly kayak along Chazz until its origin; everyone calls it a “crack.”
Chazz is another place where you can find manatees. Although I didn’t have sheep when I was wandering there, we saw many fish (fish that like to jump from the water and scare you) and many birds (they are habitats for hundreds of bird species, including vultures!)
Chazz is part of Chassahowitzka’s largest wildlife sanctuary and should be on your list if you are looking for a relaxing morning or afternoon.
The Crystal River is not directly on the coast, but Fort Island Gulf Beach is only a 15-minute drive away (thus mainly Crystal River Beach).
This beach in the Gulf of Mexico is perfect for a walk or sunset on the beach.
Finally, it would help if you stopped at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, less than 15 minutes from the Crystal River. It was initially opened as a zoo in the early 20th century, but today the park is spread all over Florida.
Decades ago, when the state government took over the park, it began reducing animals living in the state to those found in Florida, keeping in mind the human family. Today, resident sheep, alligators, bald eagles, and even lone tigers exist in Florida.
You will still find a strange animal here, the hippopotamus. Of course, hippos are not natives of Florida, but when the state government took over the park, locals demanded that the hippopotamus could stay because the park has been a hippo for a long time.
Lu eventually granted Florida honorary citizenship so she could continue to live in Homosassa Springs.
During your stay at Crystal River, you can live on a plantation on Crystal River, a charming historic hotel (“the promenade” that looks like a pre-war farm). The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and the swimming pool is the perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing.
The plantation also has a restaurant and offers its dive shop and manatee trips, which means you don’t have to go too far if you want to book a trip or charter a boat today.
Other Crystal River hotels worth visiting include:
If you’ve ever thought about the best time to visit the Crystal River, that is between November and March. When you find the temperature is lower (suitable for outdoor activities), you will have a better chance to meet the manatee.
Do you want to swim with manatees? Then, try visiting from the end of December to the end of February, which is usually the coldest month in Florida (the lamb seeks heat primarily from a heat source).
Since 2017, Saba Ghani has been serving as the talented and dedicated chief content writer for Pakistan Tour and Travel & EMHI Solutions. With her exceptional writing skills and in-depth knowledge of the travel industry, she has been instrumental in crafting engaging and informative content that captivates the audience. You can catch her at [email protected] or Twitter