Citrus County is an incredibly beautiful area of Florida, just 90 minutes from Tampa Bay.
Here you can swim with manatees, visit 50,000 acres of forest and enjoy a true Old Florida feel.
Picture-Perfect Downtown Crystal River
The downtown in Crystal River is one of those towns you see in Christmas films where everyone is friendly, the shops are all adorable and you feel at home instantly, except this is Crystal River year round!
The lovely Shoppes of Heritage Village hold a bunch of treasures you don't often see and they are mostly family-owned and run. Gifts, old-time sweet shops, art and unusual antiques from decades past are just some of the things that can be found here.
The Franklin Anderson Gallery of Art was one of the art galleries I was lucky enough to see during my visit. It is one of the premier art galleries in the area, featuring fine art including painting, photography, sculpture, metalwork and more. I personally couldn't resist an incredibly pretty gold and black bag with delicate stitching and sparkly roses.
Tea Time and Bagpipes at the Highlander Cafe
The Highlander Cafe in downtown Crystal River is a must on your visit. If you want a proper cup of tea and an authentic English scone, then this Scottish family-owned cafe is the perfect spot.
We arrived to the sounds of Collin (the owner with his wife Natalie) and a fellow pipe-band member playing their pipes outside the front of the restaurant. Being part Scottish this was such a special experience for me; to be sitting in America enjoying the best scone I have managed to find anywhere in the States and listening to the spectacular sound of the pipes playing was absolutely brilliant.
Airboat Tour on the Homosassa River
You do not want to miss the chance to take an airboat tour on the Homosassa River. With 425 horsepower and no motor underneath, the airboats from the Homosassa Riverside Resort’s Bait & Tackle Shop can take you to places most boats can't. You will be hard pressed to not sit there grinning the whole time as you skim across the water.
As the sun gleamed across the beautiful river I sat there wondering how this could get any better, and that was when I spotted a dolphin surfacing nearby, absolutely magical! There is lots of wildlife to observe and enjoy including many species of birds, fish, occasional alligators and monkeys... yes, I did say monkeys! As you take off on your airboat, you will pass “Monkey Island,” a small island which includes a model lighthouse, boat and climbing equipment, which several monkeys play and live on.
Flying across the Homosassa River on an airboat tour
Fresh Seafood and Southern Charm at Peck’s Old Port Cove
One thing I love is visiting unique local restaurants at the destinations I visit and Peck’s Old Port Cove fit that description perfectly. Your experience starts with your drive to the restaurant as you wend your way along a winding, rural road. Upon arrival you can enjoy their fresh-caught seafood and even pick your live crab from their tanks. Enjoying a drink at their outdoor tiki bar is the perfect way to end the night.
Plates of food at Peck's Old Port Cove restaurant in Crystal River
Pretty Accommodation at The Plantation on Crystal River
The Plantation on Crystal River was the perfect resort to base my stay from. The grounds were beautiful with a large, glistening pool and stunning views of the river. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful to with anything I needed.
There are so many reasons to visit Citrus County, whether you want to soak up culture, meet some of the friendliest people in the country, explore wonderful shops and restaurants, or have an adventure on the water. Start making plans for your next holiday to be a Citrus County one.
Charming accommodation at the Plantation at Crystal River