Crystal River is a city in Central Florida.
Crystal River is 75 miles (120 km) north of Tampa International Airport on the Gulf coast of Florida. It takes approximately 1h 15 min to reach Crystal River from TIA. It's also 96 miles (155 km) northwest of Orlando International Airport (MCO), a 1h 45 min drive.
- Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best places to see endangered West Indian manatees that migrate each winter along the "Manatee Coast" north of Tampa Bay. This 40-acre U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sanctuary is a protected manatee habitat that includes the spring that forms the headwaters of the Crystal River.
- Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge has over 31,000 acres of musk grass, widgeon grass, oaks, cypress, and red cedars stretching between the Homosassa and the Chassahowitzka River. Originally established in 1943 as a waterfowl sanctuary, it is now also critical habitat for West Indian manatees. Other wildlife includes alligators, raccoons, river otter, deer, turkey, black bear, bobcat, green turtles, gopher tortoises, and Eastern indigo snakes. Birdwatchers may spot cormorants, great blue herons, green-backed herons, ospreys, white pelicans, laughing gulls, wood storks, peregrine falcon, ducks, coots, and songbirds. The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge is only accessible by boat. Enforced restrictions apply prohibiting airboats, hunting, fires, and camping.
- Three Sisters Springs is one of the most important springs for wintering manatees in Florida. Part of Kings Bay, this group of springs is about one-acre in size and surrounded by trees. The spring is located on a 57 acre refuge in the middle of the City of Crystal River. Manatees can easily be viewed in the springs crystal clear water from a boardwalk which circles the spring. The spring consists of a narrow channel leading into an open area with three separate groups of spring vents--Pretty Sister Spring, Big Sister Spring, Little Sister Spring. There are also spring vents just outside the spring--Idiots Delight 1 & 2. The spring has a constant temperature of 73F (23c) which attracts manatees that use it as a thermal refuge from colder surrounding waters during the winter months. Each year from November 15 to March 31, in-water sanctuary boundaries are in place limiting swimmer access to Little Sisters, Pretty Sister and Idiots Delight 1 & 2 in order to provide resting areas for manatees. In severe cold weather events, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closes the rest of the spring complex to swimmers in order to provide maximum refuge capacity for manatees. The spring routinely shelters hundreds of manatees during these events, the record being 528 manatees on December 27, 2014. The Three Sisters Springs boardwalk is open year round. Vehicle access to the refuge property is strictly limited. Access is either by foot or by a Trolley bus operated by the City of Crystal River from a Visitor Center at 123 NW US Highway 19 in Crystal River. http://www.threesistersspringsvisitor.org.
Other nearby attractions include the pre-Columbian shell mounds of the Crystal River Archaeological State Park, the 1852 Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park, and the top-rated World Woods Golf Club.
- Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd. Visitors can see West Indian manatees every day of the year from the park's underwater observatory in the main spring. The park showcases native Florida wildlife, including manatees, black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles, and river otters. Manatee programs are offered three times daily. At the Wildlife Encounter programs, snakes and other native animals are featured. Recreational opportunities include picnicking, nature study, and bird-watching. The park features a children's education center, providing hands-on experiences about Florida's environment. Transportation from the visitor center on U.S. 19 to the West Entrance is available by tram or boat. The park has two gift shops and a café with a selection of beverages and snacks. The park is open daily 9AM-5:30PM The ticket counters close at 4PM Located in Homosassa Springs on U.S. 19.
- Three Sisters Springs Boardwalk, 123 NW US Hwy 19. Three Sisters Springs is an important habitat for the Florida manatee from mid-November until late March. These natural springs stay a constant temperature of 73 deg Fahrenheit (23 C). In the winter, the temperature of the Gulf of Mexico will decrease and manatees will migrate into the springs to stay warm. If you would like to see the springs by land, there is a boardwalk and 57 acre refuge with nature trails. There is no swimming access to Three Sisters Springs from the refuge property. Vehicle traffic onto the property is restricted. The Three Sisters Springs trolley bus, which operates from the Three Sisters Springs Visitor Center at 123 NW US Hwy 19, provides fully ADA accessible access to the boardwalk and refuge. Walk-on's are also welcomed. Admission price varies by age and season. See http://www.threesistersspringsvisitor.org
- Hunter Springs Park, 104 NE 1st Avenue. This City of Crystal River park features a sandy beach for swimming in Hunter Spring year round. It also includes a kayak/canoe/paddleboard launch area allowing access to Kings Bay. The park also features a boardwalk for viewing manatees and the lively in-water scene in this residential part of Crystal River. Parking fees of up to $5 per day apply.
Heritage Village, North Citrus Avenue. This shopping and restaurant district occupies the historic center of the City of Crystal River and features shops and cafes in early period buildings, some of which are in the historic Florida cracker-style. Visitors can find a variety of regionally specific keepsakes and products including souvenirs celebrating the beloved manatee.
- ABC Pizza which is a very good place to go eat...well...pizza or pasta.
- Grannie's Restaurant has good southern cooking.
- The Crab Plant 201 NW 5th Street. The Crab Plant is an active commercial fishing operation on the City of Crystal River waterfront's Riverwalk and features a fresh seafood market and restaurant featuring fresh seasonal local catch such as locally caught blue crab and stone crab, mullet, grouper etc.. http://www.crabplant.com.
- Crackers Bar and Grill. Right on the river itself and accessible by boat. Providing excellent service to its customers for over 30 years. Located along the beautiful Kings Bay of Crystal River Florida, Crackers is an ideal destination for any local or tourist who might be interested in the succulent sea food or nautical atmosphere. Navigating to Crackers is easy, and you will be able to arrive conveniently via land or sea. So, whether you’re cruising along the bay or taking a tour of the historic Crystal River, stop in and enjoy one of our signature entrees. http://www.crackersbarandgrill.com/
- Peck's Old Port Cove, 139 N Ozello Trail. Waterfront restaurant located in the outlying community of Ozello which features fresh crab and seafood combined with great views and a relaxed on-the-water atmosphere. A local favorite. (352) 795-2806.
- Seafood Seller and Cafe, 300 SE US Hwy 19. This New Orleans style restaurant features the unique cuisine and fresh fish of the Gulf of Mexico region of the United States, particularly cajun style. A fish market located within the restaurant also provides fresh catch from the Gulf of Mexico. https://www.seafoodsellerandcafe.net/
- Vintage on the 5th, 114 NE 5th St (Heading North on US Hwy 19, turn Left at N. Citrus Ave. Turn Left 1 Block North on NE 5th St. We are the Second Building on the Right, Directly behind the Watertower. There is a Public Parking Area Across the Street.), ☏ . Vintage on 5th is an eclectic, destination restaurant located in the historic downtown area of Crystal River, FL in a renovated church built in 1940. We specialize in fresh fish, hand-cut Angus beef and exceptional seafood dishes. We also serve regional Southern favorites like Shrimp & Grits, decadent Vintage Mac & Cheese and Fried Green Tomatoes, as well as Pasta Dishes, Rack of Lamb and "Maple-Leaf Farms" Half-Duckling. We pour 30 wines by the glass and have a well-rounded wine list with over 120 fairly priced selections. http://www.vintageon5th.com
- Plantation Golf Resort & Spa, 9301 W. Fort Island Trail, ☏ .