Top 5 Best Activities You Can Do in Crystal River, Florida
Giving in to the lure of big-city stay-cations can be quite tempting. But occasionally, it does pay off to visit a hidden gem and appreciate the natural wonders that it has to offer. One such place is the Crystal River in Western Florida – a great spot for spending that much-needed break from the city life. It is home to various natural wonders which offer a wide range of activities for the whole family.
This place is known for sport fishing and is also widely acclaimed as the Manatee capital of the world. Meeting these gentle mammals can easily become the highlight of your visit! The best part? You can swim with them!
Whether you are a couple, a group of friends, or a family looking for a great bonding experience, there are activities that will surely suit your vacation style! Planning vacations don’t have to be tedious. You can go to one place and do all sorts of activities for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready for the best experience yet! Western Florida may just have it all!
Take a day off to hike and bike at Crystal River Preserve State Park
Part of the series of Florida State Parks that are preserved, this place boasts of 27,000 acres of untapped natural wonders for those who are avid fans of hiking, biking, and nature observations. There are five public trails – the Eco-Walk Trail, Seven Mile Loop Trail, Crystal Cove Trail.
The Churchhouse Hammock Trail, and the Dixie Shore Trails – which will showcase the creeks, forests, mangrove islands, and marshes.
Go on a small walk to the park’s administrative office and you can inquire about kayaking, fishing, and even picnics! The park opens from 9:00 am every day and there is no entrance fee to be paid. Join tours or create your own adventurous itinerary for the day and prepare to be amazed!
- Address: 3266 N. Sailboat Ave, Crystal River, FL, 34428, USA
- Image: https://www.floridastateparks.org/sites/default/files/styles/big_gallery_image/public/Division%20of%20Recreation%20and%20Parks/gallery/DSCN8727.JPG?itok=R_V8ophP
- Image Source: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Crystal-River-Preserve
Get up close and personal with Manatees in Crystal River
Go ahead and meet the sea cows! Have you ever seen a Manatee in real life? If not, then it’s about time to go on a trip to Crystal River! This area is home to these gentle mammals. Different types of tours are offered, all of which will help you get to know them up close and personal! Prices will depend on the number of people included and will usually last an average of three hours.
You can book through sites like Birdunderwater which comes with all snorkeling gear and experienced guides who will surely give you the best introduction to swimming with Manatees. Taking underwater photos and being able to swim with the Manatees will make you feel like you have entered a different world.
Remember to take note of the regulations before going swimming. Manatees have threatened species and it is best to remember that you are a visitor in their home, and as a guest, you need to be respectful and gentle in your approach. Lastly, don’t forget to check out your group photos back at the shop! It’s another once in a lifetime experience!
- Image: https://cdn.filestackcontent.com/LjtyjiGnQxGJIXiLIO4d/convert?cache=true&compress=true&quality=90&w=800&fit=max
- Image Source: https://www.birdsunderwater.com/
Go on a fishing excursion at Crystal River
Fishing is a well-known trademark of Florida. Visitors have the choice of going for saltwater sport fishing in the Crystal and Homosassa Rivers while freshwater catch is easily available inland – in the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes. Look for your guide and spend the day in a boat while relaxing in the water. Get to know the different species of fish in the area and try your hand at catching the biggest fish!
You never know what might be on the other end of that bait. You are free to choose what time to start and end your fishing adventure since boat charters are mostly flexible as long as the weather is good.
Don’t forget about boating safety guidelines though! Charters and equipment for fishing are already provided by tours so there is no need to bring anything! Just your excitement and passion for this activity!
- Image: https://img1.wsimg.com/isteam/ip/6446dba4-b144-434f-9a7a-fcfee117ac4f/2ac7c0e8-cf58-4b68-bd90-0395fbad3a2a.jpg/:/rs=w:400,h:500,cg:true,m/cr=w:800,h:500,a:cc
- Image Source: https://highoctanefishing.com/
Swim and be refreshed at Three Sisters Springs
Among the many attractions found in Crystal River, the Three Sisters Springs is not something you should miss! It is the winter habitat for Manatees in the area. Located on the east side of King’s Bay and surrounded by private property, only kayaks, swimmers, and canoes are allowed in the spring, adding to its overall relaxing ambiance. Visitors can spend a couple of hours in this water paradise before moving on to their next destination. You will need a kayak to access the springs, so visit https://www.birdsunderwater.com/kayak-rentals/ to rent yours today!
During the season (November-March), Three Sisters Boardwalk opens from 08:30 am – 04:30 pm, so plan your trip ahead of time if you want to avoid peak hours. There are also eco-tours that you can join, and guests have the choice to stroll through the area through a boardwalk or through the walking trails. For sure, you will not be able to resist the call of the crystal-clear waters of this spring!
- Address: 123 NW US Highway 19, Crystal River, FL
- Image: http://threesistersspringsvisitor.org/upload/page/0021/widgets/gallery/000366/HSK11%20Logo.jpg
- Image Source: http://www.threesistersspringsvisitor.org/
End the day with magnificent sunsets at Fort Island Gulf Beach
After a tiring day, the best way to cool down is always by the beach. This one has a grand view of the Gulf of Mexico so expect beautiful sunsets every day! You will find a small beach and a covered picnic area with changing rooms for visitors who want to wind down from their daytime adventure. It is also located near the pier, but the water is quite calm, which might trick you into thinking that it is a lake, but it’s actually a saltwater destination! This place is very family friendly – perfect for that bonding experience! Fort Island Gulf Beach is open to everyone so bring your tents, pitch them up, and chill!
- Address: 16000 W. Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL
- Image: http://www.discovercrystalriverfl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/FortIslandGulfBeach.jpg
- Image Source: http://www.discovercrystalriverfl.com/partner/fort-island-gulf-beach/
What are you waiting for?
From discovering beautiful springs, swimming and meeting the gentle Manatees, fishing, and even hiking, it seems that this destination has great potential for that unique holiday. You might even be able to tick off some things off your bucket list!
Traveling to places that are considered as hidden gems might be a tad unconventional for some travelers, but don’t be afraid to be adventurous! Western Florida might not be in everyone’s map yet when it comes to vacation spots, but it’s only a matter of time!
With so many activities just waiting to be discovered and experienced, a typical weekend can easily become an unforgettable trip! For more destination guides and accommodation reviews, hotels and vacation rentals, check out Trip101.