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Florida Coastal Access Guide - Citrus County at a Glance Quicklinks

Citrus at a Glance

Coastal Cities Crystal River, Homosassa
Popular Spot Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
Sandy Beaches 1/4 mile
Public Accesses 1
Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail 20 sites
State Parks & Lands Acres
Crystal River Archaeological State Park 62
Crystal River Preserve State Park 36,000
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park 200
Fort Cooper State Park 735
Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park 5
Chassahowitzka River & Coastal Swamps (Hernando) 5,700
Halpata Tastanaki Preserve (Marion) 7,800
Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation & Conservation Area (Levy, Marion, Putnam) 79,500
Potts Preserve (Sumter) 9,500
St. Martins Marsh State Aquatic Preserve 23,100
Withlacoochee State Forest
(Hernando, Pasco, Sumter)
Withlacoochee State Trail (Hernando, Pasco) 760
Federal Lands Acres
Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge (Hernando) 31,000
Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge 46
Bays & Inlets
Kings & Crystal bays
Rivers & Paddling Trails
Chassahowitzka, Crystal, Hall's, Homosassa, Salt Withlacoochee rivers, Blue Run Trail, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

Citrus County, once known for its citrus, has only one remaining commercial grove as a result of the "Big Freeze" of 1894-95. Its wild jagged coast-vast areas of salt marsh and hardwood swamp-is mostly in conservation. Four paved roads intersect its coast, one of Florida's prime spots for fishing spotted sea trout, redfish, cobia, grouper, Spanish mackerel, shark, black drum, bluefish, and tarpon. Its one accessible beach is full-facility Fort Island Gulf Beach, with a 1/4-mile of sand and seasonal lifeguards. Also on the gulf is Hernando Beach, a grassy county park.

Internationally known Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is fed by more than 30 natural springs, the headwaters of Crystal River. The warm water flows into crystal clear Kings Bay's 46 acres of islands, an inviting winter habitat for Florida manatees. It is the only place in the country where people can swim with manatees. State lands include Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park with an underwater manatee observatory; Crystal River Archaeological State Park, which commemorates mound-building Native Americans; and Crystal River Preserve State Park with 20 miles of trails, undisturbed islands, inlets, and forests. The Marjorie Harris Carr Cross-Florida Greenway 100-mile trail of pristine green wilderness crosses the state east to west from St. Johns River to Withlacoochee Bay Trail in Citrus on the gulf.

Conservation areas here include St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve fed by Homosassa River and Crystal River from first magnitude springs. Salt marshes, mud flats, oyster bars, mangrove islands and seagrass beds host white pelicans, star coral and loggerhead sponges. Homosassa Wildlife Management Area in the Withlacoochee State Forest offers forested wetlands and pastures for hunting, wildlife viewing and exploration.

The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge (famous for Whooping Cranes) and Chassahowitzka River Campground and Recreation Area cover vast areas of submerged lands at the mouth of the Chassahowitzka River, a refuge for many species including endangered West Indian Manatee, sea turtles and bald eagles.

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Last updated: October 28, 2015

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