Location: Crystal River, Florida
Webpage: Florida State Park
General Description: The Crystal River Preserve State Park consists of 30,000 acres of islands, inlets, backwaters, and forests along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Most visitors to the park access the natural habitats by boat, mostly canoe or kayak. There are also 7 miles of hiking trails through the different land based habitats and a 2 mile loop interpretive nature walk.
1) We originally visited the park with the intention of taking a guided boat trip through the inlets and islands. However, the boat trips had been canceled for the day for some reason and we were left with the hiking trails. They did have a reproduction of a “scow” at the dock that was interesting, although I would have liked to have more information about it.
2) The 2 mile loop interpretive nature walk was interesting as it wound through a small sandhill that they were going to convert to longleaf pine from the bahia grass that was growing for cattle grazing by the previous owner. The trail then descended a bit into a freshwater marsh dominated by bald cypress trees. All together a nice and easy 2 mile hike.