Crystal River is at the heart of the Nature Coast of Florida. The city is situated around Kings Bay, which is spring-fed and maintains a temperature of 72°F (22°C)year round. A cluster of 50 springs designated as a first-magnitude system feeds Kings Bay. This system discharges 100 cubic feet or more of water per second, which equals about 64 million gallons of water each day.

The city was incorporated in 1903 and is the self professed “Home of the West Indian Manatee”. Kings Bay is home to over 400 manatees during the winter when temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico grow cooler, and is the only place in the United States where people can legally interact with these gentle creatures in their natural environment. Tourism based on watching and swimming with manatees is the fastest growing contributor to the local economy.

The history of Crystal River dates back to around 500 BC when mound building Native Americans (possibly the Deptford culture) built settlements along the Crystal River, which in the present day is the Crystal River Archaeological State Park.While no land battles were fought in the Crystal River area during the Civil War, there were many skirmishes on the water directly off the coast of the Crystal and Homosassa Rivers, as well as near Hickory Island which is located a little north of Crystal River in Yankeetown.

Following the Civil War, Crystal River began to grow as outsiders arrived in the area, attracted by the area’s mild climate and the economic potential in citrus farming. Early settlers found wild citrus trees growing in abundance, thanks in part to the Spanish explorers who brought oranges on their ships and discarded the seeds in the new world.

Real estate became the next “big thing” in Citrus County during the 1970’s. Communities such as Beverly Hills, Sugar Mill Woods, and Citrus Springs brought thousands of Northern retirees to this area and created a population boom that is still going on today. The county has grown from 17,000 in 1960 to 142,000 in 2010.

Citrus County, located on “Florida’s Nature Coast”, is located 70 miles north of Tampa and 60 miles northwest of Orlando, along Florida’s west-central coast and the Gulf of Mexico. The city of Crystal River is set in one of the most pristine environments in all of Florida.


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