Crystal River Preserve State Park


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Crystal River Preserve has one of the most diverse landscapes found within any of Florida’s state parks. There are over 27,000 acres to explore, and most of this land has remained untouched. The park is not only open all year but has an abundance of activities you’ll want to learn more about.


Crystal River Preserve is a genuine outdoor paradise for everyone, from birdwatchers to hikers. A seven-mile bike trail takes you through different habitats, including basin marsh and swamps, pine flatwoods, tidal marsh, and wet hardwood hammocks.

Arial view of Crystal River Preserve State Park courtesy of floridastateparks.org.

Boat tours that hold 24 passengers and offer seasonal educational programs about ancient life in the Crystal River region are popular. Sunset cruises into the Gulf of Mexico, with refreshments served, are a great way to end your day.

If you like to go fishing, the park’s Mullet Hole area is the perfect place to catch flounder, redfish, snook, and trout. The tide influences the number of fish that are available at any time, with most game species being populous during the winter months. If you are visiting from out of state, you may need a license to fish so make sure to check the requirements before you cast your line.

A Swallowtail Butterfly at the park. Photo courtesy of floridastateparks.org.

Butterfly watching is also a favored past time at the park. The winged beauties can be seen at most state parks due to the tremendous amount of natural habitat but your chances of finding a native species are much higher at Crystal River State Park where they have a dedicated butterfly garden. To see some varieties found around North Central Florida, visit floridastateparks.org’s great article or check out our blog post!

Crystal River is an excellent destination for hiking, with six distinctive trails. Churchhouse Hammock Boardwalk and Primitive Trails are a third and two-thirds of a mile long, respectively, and include a mesic hammock that transitions to pine flatwoods, with populations of fox squirrels and gopher tortoises. The Eco-walk Trail spans two miles and allows opportunities to see deer, turkeys, and wading birds easily.

Hiking at Crystal River Preserve is favorite activity for visitors. Photo credit floridastateparks.org.

Another trail, Hammock Island, is three-quarters of a mile long with travel through a salt marsh to a hammock island. The mile-long Lake Loop Trail takes a path around three artificial lakes. Other trails include Dixie Shores and Fort Island.

All of the trails are suitable for either walking or running. Wildlife viewing is widespread throughout the park. The park’s waterways are a perfect place for paddling.

Nearby Attractions

The area around Crystal River has a bounty of attractions to see. Crystal River Archaeological State Park is one of the most popular attractions, marketing the oldest human settlement in the region with burial mounds and a ceremonial center.

Hunter Springs Park is a city park in Crystal Springs, which is famous for the natural springs that attract visitors. In addition to the natural springs, the park also features a beach and a boat launch.

Majestic Manatee Tours gives visitors to Crystal River the opportunity to see one of Florida’s most iconic species. These tours allow visitors to see and interact with these fascinating, docile animals.

Nearby Camping Options for RVers

Rainbow Springs State Park offers options for camping with an RV. The RV campground offers full water and electrical hookups. Your pets are welcome at this park.

Another option for RV camping is in nearby Lake Louisa State Park, which is pet-friendly. The sites have water and sewer hookups, as well as 20, 30, or 50 amps for electricity. The park also features a dump station, and visitors have access to showers and a laundry room.

Helpful Tips for RV Camping

Crystal River is a popular location for wildlife viewing. Because many of these animals are somewhat used to encounters with humans, you might encounter them around your RV site. Make sure any food that you’re using is adequately secured.

For more information on the Crystal River Preserve check out their webpage.  For RVing and RV Travel blogs, please visit our website blog. For our upcoming RV Shows check out our Show Homepage.

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