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Crystal River Preserve State Park

 Activities at Crystal River Preserve State Park

Bicycling

Bicycling

The Trail head is at the corner of State Park Street and Sailboat Avenue.  State Park street is 0.6 miles north of Crystal River Mall on the west side of US 19.  Drive west on State Park to the last corner, bear right (straight) down the gravel road and park across from gate. This seven mile trail runs through a variety of habitats. The visitor will be exposed to pine flatwoods, basin marsh, tidal marsh, wet hardwood hammocks and basin swamps.

Boat Tours

Boat Tours

HERITAGE-ECO BOAT TOURS. 

The vessel "Monroe" (24 passengers) is the vehicle for a lower river Heritage-Eco Tour. The program " The Ancient River Dwellers" is provided weekly. The cost is $15.00 for adults, $10.00 for children under 12 years of age, children 6 years of age and under are free. The 1½ hour trip allows the participants the opportunity to see the coastal marsh and learn how it and the associated marine estuary provided for the pre-Columbian people that lived here. Boat trips currently run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., but are subject to change due to weather conditions

Download our beautiful flyer:  Heritage-Eco River Tour (PDF - 0.71KB)

Heritage-Eco River Tour - Large Print (PDF - 0.03KB)

Tickets are first come first serve beginning one hour prior to boat trips.  Passengers may get in line as early as they wish.

Boat tours frequently SELL OUT quickly in the spring season.  As it is not unusual to sell the entire boat in the first 10 minutes of ticket sales, we encourage travelers to arrive early. 

 

SUNSET CRUISE

Depart from the Crystal River Preserve State Park Visitor Center dock for a delightful Sunset Cruise and travel out to the Gulf for a spectacular sunset. These cruises, which are offered twice a month, are a fun and relaxing Friday evening retreat back to nature with refreshments and snacks provided. Advance tickets are available one month in advance at the Preserve Visitor Center. The cost is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for children 12 and under, age 6 and under are free. Call ahead at (352) 563-0450 for dates and departure times.

 

Download our beautiful flyer:  Sunset Cruise (PDF - 0.75KB)

Sunset Cruise - Large Print (PDF - 0.02KB)

 

 

Canoeing & Kayaking

Canoeing & Kayaking

Paddle the Preserve and enjoy its exceptional natural beauty.  There are two kayak/canoe launches in the park.  One is located at the Mullet Hole, the other is located by the Visitor Center.
 

Fishing

Fishing

The Crystal Cove day use fishing area, locally known as the "Mullet Hole," can be accessed by taking the first driveway, on the left, after entering the main gate on Sailboat Avenue. This fishing area extends along a canal system that eventually opens into the Crystal River. This area has restrooms but no picnic area or potable water. The entrance to the Redfish Hole is on the left, off of Fort Island Trail near mile marker #4. The fishing area is approximately a half mile walk from the entrance. This area is an old borrows pit that is tidally influenced. In the winter it is a good fishing spot for game species such as redfish, trout, snook, and flounder. There is no restroom or potable water available.

Hiking/Nature Trail

Hiking/Nature Trail

Eco-walk Trail is a 2 mile loop trail and has 11 Discovery Zones that offer Sensory Sensitivity tips to increase your outdoor skills. The trail begins in a wet prairie and travels along the swamp, edging a hammock. During the spring and fall, neo-tropical birds and hawks can be seen on their migration. Deer, turkey, and wading birds also frequent the area. The trailhead to the Eco-walk Trail is located at the intersection of North Tallahassee Road and Curtis Tool Road.

Dixie Shores Trails. Entrances to the Dixie Shores Trails are located in the Dixie Shores subdivision off Ft. Island Trail (mile marker 2.5).

Ft. Island Trail is off US Hwy. 19 in Crystal River. These trails are part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.

Lake Loop Trail is located on the right hand side of Dixie Shores Drive. The trail is approximately a mile long and winds around three man-made lakes.

Hammock Island Trail is located on the left-hand side of Dixie Shores Drive and is approximately ¾ of a mile. This trail carries you from coastal scrub through a salt marsh and onto a hammock island.

Churchhouse Hammock Boardwalk and Path to the Past Trails. The Boardwalk Trail is 1/3 mile in length and is fully ADA accessible. It begins in an old Pinewoods that is slowly becoming a Mesic Hammock. Habitat restoration is underway to encourage the return of species such as the Longleaf Pine, gopher tortoise, and fox squirrel. The Path to the Past Trail is 3/4 of a mile long, looping off the Boardwalk Trail and winding slowly out to a sawgrass marsh. Florida's *karst limestone topography can be seen at the surface, demonstrating the unique geology feature that typifies where springs find their beginnings. Our newest elevated boardwalk extension takes visitors through a sawgrass marsh and out to a hammock island. The entrance to the Churchhouse Hammock Boardwalk and Path to the Past Trails is located across the street from the Crystal River Mall on US Hwy. 19.

*Karst - An area of irregular limestone in which erosion has produced fissures, sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns.

Pets

Pets

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Crystal River Preserve State Park. They must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times and cannot be left unattended for more than a half-hour.

Visitor Center

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center houses 6 floor to ceiling dioramas depicting habitats in the park. Other displays include three 125-gallon aquariums, 2 snake exhibits, a diamondback terrapin enclosure, and a touch table. The conference room is used for presentations and our once a month movies. These movies are free to the public. Outside the Visitor Center there is a demonstration Xeriscape garden with a pond and waterfall. A dock is situated along the Crystal River and has several tables and benches where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenery.

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

Nature lovers and photographers will love the undisturbed islands, where everything from bald eagles to wood storks call the aquatic and upland environments of the preserve their home.