Citrus County, The Water Lover’s Florida, is home to the largest herd of wintering manatees found in the US, and Crystal River is the only place in North America where it is legal to have a supervised swim with the gentle manatees.
Birding is one of the world’s fastest-growing sources of outdoor recreation and birding, and 23 of the Great Florida Birding Trail’s 445 official sites in the state lie within Citrus County around Crystal River.
Crystal River State Archaeological Site
The long-ago history of Citrus County is on display at Crystal River State Archaeological Site – a Florida state park, six-mound complex that is the largest of the Deptford Period in the southeastern US and is designated a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can take a trail through burial and temple mounds and shell middens.
The opportunity for fishing, boating and kayaking is nearly endless on countless small lakes and ponds. These lakes have boat launches: Big Lake Henderson, Little Lake Henderson, Lake Holathlikaha, Lake Rousseau, Tsala Apopka Lake Chain, and Lake Hernando.
Seven Outstanding Florida Waterways run through the county: Crystal River, Homosassa River, Halls River, Chassahowitzka River, Withlacoochee River, Salt River, and St Martins River.
Citrus County offers diving, snorkeling, bird watching, fishing, canoeing, nature trails, museums, state parks, cycling, and historical sites .
Crystal River with its quaint riverside inns and hotels is located about 67 miles north of Tampa and 60 miles northwest of Orlando.
Hernando County on Florida’s Nature Coast, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico on the west and the Withlacoochee River on the east, offers a cornucopia for nature enthusiasts: swamps, rolling hills, crystal clear springs and oak and slash pine forests.
It is the perfect place to go fishing, boating, diving, hunting, camping, kayaking, canoeing, biking, running, hiking, roller-blading and off-highway motorcycle or ATV riding.
Located in the center of Hernando County is the warm, friendly hometown atmosphere of historic Brooksville, the County Seat with brick streets lined with canopy trees, over 150 homes eligible for the National Register, antique shops, Rogers Christmas Village, Heritage Museum, art galleries, great places to shop and dine.
But it is for diving and fishing enthusiasts that Brooksville and Hernando County is gaining popularity.
Five artificial reefs placed off the Coast offer opportunities for fishing and diving excursions, and diving and snorkeling are plentiful in the natural spring fed Weeki Wachee River.
The river fluctuates from shallow to deep holes and the rate of flow varies with the tide. One dive area is called Hospital Hole, named because sick fish would soak in the sulfur layer to rid themselves of parasites. Hernando County has several deep cave dives beyond 300 feet.
For the fishing enthusiasts, the best flats fishing in the area stretches from Pine Island North to the Chassahowitzka River and the Chassahowitzka Forest and Wildlife Refuge. The water is shallow with numerous rock outcrops that can be seen at low tide. This is another great place to kayak.
Redfish, snook, and record-breaking tarpon have been caught off the coast here. You can catch grouper in 15ft of water and you can still pull in a meal of blue crab.