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Crystal River Preserve State Park, Crystal River
(4/5 based on 25+ reviews on the web)
Crystal River Preserve State Park is a Florida State Park, originally known as the Crystal River Buffer Preserve, covering 30,000 acres (120 km²) of islands, inlets, backwaters, and forests. It is between temperate and sub-tropical climate zones and contains plants and animals from both. The park borders 20 miles (30 km) of the Gulf of Mexico between the cities of Yankeetown and Homosassa. Crystal River Archaeological State Park is located within the park.Activities include canoeing, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking and bicycling. Among the wildlife of the park are neotropical birds and hawks, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and wading birds. Amenities include a dock, a 9-mile (14 km) biking trail, hiking trails and a two-and-a-half mile interpretive trail. The visitor center houses 6 dioramas, three 125 US gallon (473 L) aquariums, 2 snake exhibits, a diamondback terrapin enclosure, and a touch table. The park is open from 8:00 am till sundown year round.Since the waterways adjacent to many of the park's shorelines are not technically included within the park boundary, it can be said that manatees are nowhere to be found in this State Park, even though, the nearest city (Crystal River) is nicknamed "Manatee Haven". However, acquisition of the land that makes up this state park does protect manatee habitat from development and manatees from the boating traffic associated with that development.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Very well maintained walking path loads to see it was longer than we thought but very nice.. did see some wildlife 
  • Nice hike but only a mile or two. Easy on foot and mostly shaded if the sun's too hot. Ends at a long boardwalk. It's a loop trail so you don't have to take same path back. 
  • Not a very well known park. It is a nice walk thru the woods with placards describing some sights Haven't seen much wildlife, but the plants are interesting. . 
Google
  • Amazing place to take the family. Nature lovers paradise
  • This location is primarily administrative offices, with a boat basin and docks where a state park sponsored Eco-Tour boat departs Monday, Wednesday and Friday Labor Day-Memorial Day. Located at a midway point along the Crystal River it's not a location to view manatees from the land, but it is a great location to sit at a picnic table next to the office building and watch the river roll by. Also pick up a trail guide map to help navigate to one of the hiking trails located within the Preserve Property.
  • I visited in winter when the springs are full of manatees. It was really cool to be able to paddleboard so close to the Manatees. You also have the option of swimming with the manatees (but if you get there by paddleboard or kayak, then you have to stay on it)
  • excellent visit. ranger was kind and very informative. boat ride was exciting and got lots of pictures
  • GOOGLE MAPS IS NOT GOING TO GET YOU HERE. CALL THE OFFICE. off 19 , past the CRMall, on the west side