Florida would be the next American hub for hiking and biking — or, anyway, it ought to be. In the Crystal River area, you’ll be capable of access two truly awesome trails: the 46-mile paved Withlacoochee State Trail as well as 1,300-mile Florida Trail. They share the identical path through northern Citrus County, then split going south.
For a speedier journey, take the shorter Withlachoochee State Trail — but don’t speed after dark 19,000+ acres of Tsala Apopka Lake (you should use the panoramic views being an excuse on your first break). Also be sure you look at Fort Cooper State Park and shady Floral City, too.
Longer-haul visitors can decide the orange-blazed Florida Trail in Whispering Pines Park, in Inverness. From that point, the trail snakes south to the tall, piney Withlacoochee State Forest, an essential Bird Position for endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers. Wait patiently for indication of life in the pine trees painted with white rings across the trunk, which indicate a dynamic woodpecker cavity. The region can also be pockmarked with explorable caves which are proof of the base karst geology.
2. Ferris Groves
Roadside produce stands take time and effort to move by, specifically when they\’re as retro and awesome as Ferris Groves on US-41. Doc Ferris, “The King of Citrus,” built Ferris Groves together with family, and also the orange and white tent is actually a Floral City landmark paying homage to rural “Old Florida.”
It’s been more than 4 decades since Doc started planting citrus, and Ferris Groves still attracts crowds making use of their absolutely legendary fruits and desserts yearly from October \’till the end of March. If it’s winter, it’s citrus season, so you should definitely purchase a bushel of oranges to have to you (you’re in Citrus County, in fact). The chief event, however, is one of the strawberry shortcake. The wedding cake is moist, of course, the strawberries are pluh-uh-ump.
You can walk off your dessert with the nearby Avenue with the Oaks. Planted within the 1800s, the Spanish-moss-draped oak trees provide a fantastic photo-op.
3. Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge
The “Chaz” is really a favorite for many, but somehow still a locals’ secret. With more than 30,000 acres of mostly water and marsh, everything here appears like a backcountry adventure. Wildlife is specially abundant appropriate the Chassahowitzka River.
The easiest area for access — as well as a convenient destination for a rent a kayak and also be night — is a Chassahowitzka River Campground off W Miss Maggie Drive. After that, canoe around the river to check out the off-the-grid homes deep inside the marsh, and quit off along at the rope swing along at the Crack. It hangs more than a quiet spring deep in Baird Creek, a tributary with the Chassahowitzka River going south.
4. Copp Winery and Brewery
Florida’s climate and geography might not technically be designed for wine production, but that doesn’t keep local wine enthusiasts from trying. Copp Winery and Brewery started to be a winery that imported its grapes, turning them into quality wine. Although the craft beer craze reached Citrus County some time ago, and Copp Winery jumped promptly into that, too.
Copp currently occupies an unassuming building across from your Crystal River Postal office (but is really popular it\’ll soon be moving even to another, larger location). This isn’t one particular trendy bars with string lights and shellacked hardwood, however the drinks are wonderful, and that’s what matters. Grab a bite to eat inside, then make use of the lingering Florida sun by bringing your drink — the award-winning pale ale Southern Grit or 1821 English ESB gives since the crash course — for an Adirondack chair right in front garden. You’ll see a lot of locals here on a busy night, if you happen to need advice for one more day’s adventures.
5. Old Homosassa
You might discover yourself in Old Homosassa for lunch at one of many waterfront restaurants, but arrive a couple early to poke around. It’s a brilliant artsy community, you simply might not be in the position to tell it at once — you’ll probably pass the budding art center of Old Homosassa without realizing it. Don’t judge a magazine by its hidden-in-plain-sight cover, ‘kay?
Besides the camouflaged arts center, stop and explore W Yulee Drive, where to start your tour from the village’s art galleries. The Glass Garage features colorful glass work, oil paintings, and jewellery; the intense blue house of Pepper Creek Pottery has ceramic gifts and kitchenware; and Kevin Jenkins’ Riverworks Studio hosts his renowned metal sculptures with the fish so essential to Old Homosassa’s history. You can find in over the art scene yourself by generating a class with friends or family at Watson’s Art Gallery. The staff will provide the supplies and guidance, and you’ll contain a not-at-all-tacky souvenir.
6. Crystal River Archaeological State Park
Thousands of in years past, Citrus County was kickin’. It’s estimated that 7,500 Native Americans traveled yearly to what\’s now Crystal River Archaeological State Park to honor their dead, trade, and socialize. Why here? No one’s quite sure, but the river likely had something connected with it.
Don’t allow scale of the park (61 acres) fool you — there’s plenty to observe. Check out small museum (open Thursday through Monday) to get your bearings, after which it turn to both tall mounds that experts think were put to use for ceremonies. Atop the tallest mound, “Mound A,” take into account that what’s left will be only part of the original structure. A few of the smaller mounds on the spot are burial places; others can be refuse piles called “middens,” containing shells, bones, together with other artifacts that paint a graphic of everyday life at the site as it was.
Pro tip: Don’t miss the Gary Madoff Trail when driving over to the beach. It’s following the Salt River Bridge along with the impressive Academy of Environmental Sciences Buildings.
7. Fort Island Gulf Beach
If you belong to the camping ground that believes vacation to Florida isn’t complete with no lazy day to the sand, you\’ll want to hit Fort Island Gulf Beach. It’s for the outer side of Crystal River’s seemingly endless marsh on W Fort Island Trail, plus the drive alone is worth it. There are a number of pull-off spots with good views, and also short roadside hiking trails.
The beach itself is suitable for snagging a nice spot or building some sand castles. Check out the views from your adjacent pier or bring a fisherman\’s rod to cast a line. Stay late and buy one of the Gulf’s world-famous sunsets. Usually take simple to use. You are aware how to accomplish this, right?
Pro tip: Bike on the beach when you can. The road is super scenic, but go early to stop afternoon headwinds off of the marsh.
8. The Freezer Tiki Bar
It’s almost guaranteed that, at some time in Citrus County, you’ll proceed up one heck of an appetite. Remember those waterfront restaurants in Old Homosassa we mentioned? Well, among those would be the Freezer Tiki Bar, e-mail, you can begin your beeline now.
“The Freezer” is usually a true hole-in-the-wall spot if ever there have been one. It’s housed in a old fish warehouse, where you’ll enter the old loading ramp while commercial fishermen connect along side wharf and unload their daily haul. Still. Today. Right this moment.
Check for seats inside or out, then get into line to buy with the bar (cash only). Local specialties are shrimp and crab, even so the chowder is useful, too. If it’s a busy winter weekend, that’s okay. Grab the common cold beer (or simply a bucket for the friends), and like the laid-back vibe for this an important part of Florida as you wait. Here, that’s a 24/7 type of thing.