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Citrus County

Savor this sweet spot on Florida’s west coast

Citrus County is just one small part of the Sunshine State, but the region’s lush green expanses and abundant historic attractions may make it seem bigger than it actually is. Located 80 miles north of Tampa on Florida’s west coast, Citrus County beckons visitors who enjoy active pursuits in an uncrowded, relaxed environment.

Historical Significance

History buffs across the U.S. flock to Citrus County to visit the Crystal River Archaeological State Park. This complex of dirt mounds is said to have been occupied for close to 2,000 years by Native Americans, and there is evidence suggesting they first stepped foot on this site 10,000 years ago.

These indigenous people came here to bury their dead and to trade, and as they often traveled a long way to get to the site, it’s safe to assume that it played a significant role in their culture.

At Crystal River Archaeological State Park, the present is as important as the past, and this is a fantastic place for the family to have a picnic, go for a hike, do a spot of fishing or just enjoy the surroundings. There are also regular boat tours on the Crystal and a museum that showcases some of the artifacts found onsite. The museum even contains a scale model that shows how the site would have looked when it was occupied by Native American tribes.

Cycle and Swim

Make no mistake about it, Citrus County is an active destination, and if your idea of a good holiday doesn’t involve bike rides, swims, hikes and long walks in the open sunshine, then it probably isn’t for you. But if that’s just what you’re looking for, then bring your bike and hit the trail. This is a bicycle-friendly county, and there is a lot to see on two wheels.

The Citrus County landscape can also be enjoyed on the golf course, or at least that’s what you can tell yourself as you while away the day playing this relaxing sport on one of the many local links.

Although bikes are a great way to see Citrus County on land, the region is known as the Water Lover’s Florida for a reason. If a simple boat tour is too tame for your liking, then rent a kayak or a canoe instead. There are rental companies by the river that will give you the equipment and the advice you need for a small fee.


Of course, you can skip the boat altogether and just jump into the water, but get ready for some company if you do. Citrus County is one of the few places in the United States where you can swim with manatees, and there are tour operators and guides on hand to make this process both safe and enjoyable. Depending on the season, you may also be able to dive for scallops, catching and then cooking your own dinner.

No trip to the region would be complete without a visit to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, where creatures ranging from manatees to alligators swim in remarkably clear water. Fans of land animals will get their fill of black bears, bobcats and white-tailed deer.

Surf, Turf and Shopping

If you missed the scalloping season, or you’d prefer to leave the scallop diving to someone else, then take a trip to the Fisherman’s Cove restaurant in Inverness. This culinary shack serves a range of surf and turf dishes, including oysters, scallops and shrimp with steak. They also cook what they claim is one of the best hamburgers you will ever taste, and many locals will back up this boast. Charlie’s Fish House Restaurant in the town of Crystal River is another great place to sample the fruits of the sea, while the Wine Shop III and Wine Bar, also in Crystal River, provides customers with a relaxing atmosphere and a wide selection of quality vintages. In fact, there are over 1,000 spirits in stock, and there is no better place in all of Citrus County to unwind and rub shoulders with the locals.

After having seen and eaten enough seafood to last a lifetime, you can head over for some dessert at the Dockside Ice Cream Shop in Crystal River.

For More Information

Visit Citrus County




Florida Department of Tourism