TOP 10 things to do in Citrus County, Florida:
Citrus County, Florida aka Florida's Nature Coast:
A gorgeous old southern shiney day with white cotton candy clouds, trees dripping with Spanish moss, blue lakes filled with life... Turtles, fish, birds.... Breathtaking and at the same time it seems as you have been transported to another country. Slow paced, enjoyable, the real Florida lifestyle lays here.....
Here is our team's opinion of the top 10 best things to do in this priceless corner of Florida (only approx. 2 hour drive from Orlando or Tampa). Not in any particular order. We just think they are the best:
Swim with the Manatees: Citrus County is known worldwide for its manatee population and the protection of this endangered species is taken very seriously. Each year, many tourists learn about the plight of the gentle giants first hand, by donning a wetsuit and snorkeling the warm springs where the manatees come to escape the cold winter ocean temperatures. The rules are strict: no chasing, riding or otherwise harassing the manatees. Swimmers must allow the animal to approach them, not the other way around, and never touch with more than one hand at a time. The rules don't damper the experience in the least. Since the manatees have no natural enemies, they regularly made contact with their awestruck human visitors, and seemed to particularly enjoy being scratched under the flippers. Swimming with the manatees isn't difficult or too physically exerting. http://www.birdsunderwater.com/ http://www.floridamanateetours.com/manatee-tours.php
Biking: Citrus County is a biker's paradise. The Withlacoochee State Trail http://www.railstotrailsonline.com/ (part of the "Rails to Trails" program which converts defunct railroads into biking and hiking trails), is a beautiful trail where you can meet cycling enthusiasts from as far away as Minnesota to the north and California to the west. They come because of the diverse two wheeled opportunities in the area. In addition to the Withlacoochee, 46 miles of asphalt which meanders through state and county parks and recreation areas, the Fort Islands Beach Trail will take riders to the County's only salt water beach. There are also some wonderful off road trails which snake through woods and meadows teeming with birds and other wildlife.
Regardless of your biking taste, stop by Suncoast Bicycles for advice, trail maps, guided trips or any other biking needs. If you didn't bring your own, they have a fleet of rentals (all under a year old) to meet your needs, including cruisers, off road, tandem and recumbent bicycles. They have two shops, one in Crystal River and the other in Inverness, directly on the Withlacoochee Trail.
- Suncoast Bicycles Crystal River 352-795-0018
- Suncoast Bicycles Inverness 352-637-5757
- Web site www.suncoastbikes.com
Kayak or Canoe down the Rainbow River: The Rainbow Springs State Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit. Pristine water teems with wildlife and a long history.... In the 1920s, this spring was a favorite spot for tourists and locals. As the attraction grew, the river was dredged for glass bottom boat tours; and waterfalls were built on piles of phosphate tailings. A zoo, rodeo, gift shops and a monorail with leaf-shaped gondolas were added. In the mid-1970s, when larger theme parks lured the tourists away, Rainbow Springs was closed. In the mid-1990s, it reopened as a state park. In 1972, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated Rainbow River as a National Natural Landmark. It is also an aquatic preserve and an Outstanding Florida Water. http://www.floridastateparks.org/history/parkhistory.cfm?parkid=83 http://www.floridastateparks.org/rainbowsprings/
Homosassa Wildlife Park: Start your visit with a leisurely pontoon boat ride down Pepper Creek to the wildlife park. Along the way, you may see ospreys nesting, limpkins, herons or egrets wading in the creek, wood ducks swimming along; not to mention turtles sunning on logs, fish and, maybe even an otter or the occasional alligator. Every day a different experience awaits. And that’s just the beginning. Our elevated boardwalk system provides a great view of the wildlife, including a cougar, Florida panther, Florida Black bears, bobcats, deer, alligators and a wide variety of wading birds, birds of prey, and songbirds. The park's resident manatees make the first-magnitude spring their home, along with fresh and salt water fish that are free to come and go. The Fish Bowl, a floating underwater observatory, offers an unequalled, below-the-surface view of manatees and fish in the crystal clear spring environment. Three manatee programs, two Wildlife Encounters, and an alligator program are presented throughout the day, giving visitors an opportunity to learn more about the Florida's wildlife. A Reptile House offers close-up viewing of native snakes and other reptiles, while our Children’s Education Center allows a chance for children to learn through hands-on activities. http://www.floridastateparks.org/homosassasprings/aboutthepark.cfm http://www.floridastateparks.org/homosassasprings/
Golfing: Both serious and casual golfers will enjoy playing among the hills, valleys, nature trails and wildlife that Citrus County, Floridahas to offer. For some of the best golfing in the County check out our golf directory link: http://citruscountynetwork.com/golf_courses_citrus_county.html
Scuba Dive or Snorkel: Scuba Diving year round gives divers a dive destination unmatched by any other location in the world. Cavern spring diving and drift dives offer finds like fossils, shells, shark teeth and the water is crystal clear. Bring your digital camera or take an A.O.W. or Manatee specialty class and we offer 12 different guided dives to choose from and discount packages to save money. Whether you snorkel or dive the whole family can enjoy this vacation experience together. For your Citrus County diving needs contact: Bird's Underwater web site at www.xtalwind.net/~bird/ American Pro Diving Center website at www.gminet.com/ampro
Waterfront Dining: Located on some of the most beautiful waterfronts in of the Nature Coast are some of the best dining experiences you'll ever have! You will definitely find a place with great food and a fun family atmosphere! Arrive by car or dock your boat in a slip. Just be sure to bring your appetite for the savory portions prepared just the way you like. Enjoy your meal indoors with great views all around, or dine outside on an open deck year round! Here are some of our favorites:
Crackers: http://www.crackersbargrillandtiki.com/ (Awesome food, atmosphere, great prices)
Plantation Inn: http://plantationoncrystalriver.com/
Other places to dine: http://www.menupix.com/florida/a/8609/Citrus-County-restaurants
Salt or Fresh Water Fishing:The fishing's fine in Citrus County, whether you prefer the fresh or salt water variety. You can't throw a rock in this area without hitting a fishing charter service. Anglers will be in seventh heaven year round as the catch is bountiful. Springtime brings Black Bass and Trout. Add Tarpon Sheepshead and Grouper to that list come summertime. In the fall its time to fish for Red Fish, Speckled Trout, Bass and Grouper and winter is Snapper season.
Shop for Antiques and Collectibles: The county is dotted with interesting little antique and collectibles shops as well as flea markets and even auction houses. You can't drive far without coming across something of interest. A good place to shop around lunch time is Heritage Village, a collection of shops and a wonderful restaurant housed in historic buildings. Antiques and collectibles will be found along with unique gifts, gourmet food and home accessories. Heritage Village can be found on North Citrus Avenue in Crystal River, Florida.
Citrus County Festivals: From the historic and artistic, to the just plain fun, there are events for all interests in all the charming communities of Citrus County. Visitors can come enjoy an authentic experience of the color and charm of Florida’s Nature Coast during this season of special events! http://www.citruscountyfl.org/events/festival_season.pdf
Local Informational Links:
Citrus County Board of Commisioners http://www.bocc.citrus.fl.us/
Visit Citrus http://www.visitcitrus.com/
Citrus County Chamber of Commerce http://www.citruscountychamber.com/
Local Calendar http://www.localendar.com/public/citrusadvisory
Quality of education is one of the most important factors when moving to a new area. As a local neighborhood expert, I can help you evaluate schools in the area that meet your unique needs.
See this website for more detailed information about our counties schools http://www.citrus.k12.fl.us/