Experiences & Amenities
Boardwalk At Churchhouse Hammock Closed
Due to safety concerns, the boardwalk at Churchhouse Hammock is closed. Thank you for your patience while we work to repair concerns!
The trailhead 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 U.S. 19. Drive west on State Park Street to the last corner, bear right (straight) down the gravel road and park across from gate. The 7-mile trail runs through a variety of habitats, including pine flatwoods, basin marsh, tidal marsh, wet hardwood hammocks and basin swamps.
- Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under.
Heritage-Eco Boat Tours
The vessel "Monroe" (24 passengers) is the vehicle for a lower river Heritage-Eco Tour. The seasonal program "The Ancient River Dwellers" is provided weekly September through May.
- Two boat tours depart from the park administrative office Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tickets are available one hour prior to departure time. To support and sustain the operation of boat tours, a donation is requested of $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under; children 6 and under ride free. Sorry, no debit or credit cards at this time - cash or checks only.
- Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, one hour prior to departure time. 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 visitors to arrive early.
Cruises depart from the park visitor center dock for a delightful sunset cruise and travel out to the Gulf of Mexico for a spectacular sunset. Cruises are offered once a month during our summer schedule (June through September) and twice monthly October through May.
Enjoy a fun and relaxing Friday evening retreat back to nature with refreshments and snacks provided. Tickets are available one month in advance at the preserve office.
- The cost is $25 for adults, $15 for children 12 and under, age 6 and under are free. No credit or debit cards - check or cash only.
- Call ahead at 352-228-6028 for dates and departure times.
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 Fort Island Trail near mile marker 4. The fishing area is 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.
- Fishing also is available in the inlet across from the visitor center; restrooms are available.
- All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. A fishing license may be required. Information is available at the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Fishing in Florida.
- 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 a 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 frequent the area. The trail head 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 Fort Island Trail (mile marker 2.5).
- Fort Island Trail is off U.S. Highway 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 a mile long and winds around three manmade lakes.
- Hammock Island Trail is located on the left-hand side of Dixie Shores Drive and is approximately three-fourths of a mile. This trail carries you from coastal scrub through a salt marsh and onto a hammock island.
- Churchhouse Hammock Boardwalk and Primitive Trails. The Boardwalk Trail is one-third mile in length, and begins in a mesic hammock that is being restored to transitional pine flatwoods. Habitat restoration is underway to encourage the return of species such as the longleaf line, gopher tortoise and fox squirrel. The Primitive Trail is three-fourths of a mile long, looping off the Boardwalk Trail and winding slowly to a sawgrass marsh. Florida's *karst limestone topography can be seen at the surface, showing the unique geology feature that typifies where springs begin. The entrance to the Churchhouse Hammock Boardwalk and Primitive Trail is located across the street from the Crystal River Mall on U.S. Highway 19.
*Karst - An area of irregular limestone in which erosion has produced fissures, sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns.
Nature lovers and photographers will love the undisturbed islands, where everything from bald eagles to wood storks make their home in the aquatic and upland environments of the preserve.
Crystal River Preserve State Park is committed to providing a variety of amenities accessible to all of our visitors.
These amenities include:
- Visitor Center.
- Boat tours.
- Dock with a view of the Crystal River.
- Picnic facilities with tables and grills, within reasonable accommodation.
Service animals are welcome in all areas of Florida State Parks.
The visitor center houses six floor-to-ceiling dioramas depicting habitats in the park. Other displays include three 125-gallon aquariums, an ornate diamondback terrapin enclosure and a touch table. The conference room is used for presentations, meetings and the daily showing of the film "Living Waters."
Outside there is a demonstration xeriscape garden with a pond and waterfall. This native garden is one of the only examples in this area.
- A dock is situated along the Crystal River and has several tables and benches where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenery.
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.
Canoe Kayak Launch
Paddle the preserve and enjoy its exceptional natural beauty. There are two kayak/canoe launches, one at the Mullet Hole and the other across from the visitor center.