Crystal River, Florida – WorldAtlas

Crystal River is a small town located in Citrus County, in the US state of Florida. The city of Crystal River forms the heart of Florida’s natural coast. The town is located around Kings Bay, a spring-fed bay that maintains a constant temperature of 22 ° C throughout the year. During the winter, over 400 manatees are found in Kings Bay and it is the only place in the United States where people can interact with these manatees in their natural conditions. Established in 1903, the town of Crystal River is also nicknamed “Refuge of the manatees.”

Crystal River geography

Manatees in Crystal River, Florida.

The city of Crystal River covers a total area of ​​17.7 km², of which 1.7 km² is occupied by water and 16.0 km² is occupied by land. The city is located on the northeast side of Kings Bay and the Crystal River, an arm of the Gulf of Mexico. Freeways US Route 19 and US Route 98 pass through the heart of the city and lead approximately 7 miles south of the unincorporated community of Homosassa Springs and approximately 74 miles north of the town of Chiefland. State Road 44 motorway leads 27 km east of the city of Inverness.

Crystal River Population

Crystal River, Florida was home to 3,129 people with a median age of 56.8 years in 2019. The majority of Crystal River residents are considered white, and in 2019 there were 9.8 times as many white residents as any other race or ethnicity. The largest ethnic groups in the city are non-Hispanic whites representing up to 85.5% of the city’s population, black or African American at 8.66%, two or more races at 2.84%, 1.37% Hispanics; and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. at 1.09%. Almost 98% of residents are US citizens and 5.05% were foreign born. In 2019, the most common place of birth for foreign-born residents in Florida was Cuba, followed by Haiti and Colombia. Despite the diversity of the population and of the residents’ homes, all households in Crystal River speak English as their primary language.

Crystal River Economy

The median household income in Crystal River is only $ 24,225. Although Florida has income inequality below the national average (0.43 as measured by the Gini Index), men have an average income 1.34 higher than women. Crystal River’s economy employs about a third of the city’s population in various industries, but the most important are health care and social assistance, retail trade, and accommodation and food services. However, finance and insurance, real estate, rental and leasing, and educational services are the highest paying industries in Crystal River.

Tourist Attractions in Crystal River

Manatees swimming in Crystal River, Florida
Swim with manatees at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Crystal River, Florida.

The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is a 0.32 km² area of ​​refuge accessible only by boat and established in 1983 as protected habitat for the endangered West Indian manatee. Today, the refuge protects 20 barrier islands and visitors go there for a variety of recreational activities, including fishing on the refuge’s man-made lake, boating, photography and boating.

Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida
A view of Three Sisters Springs with a manatee in the water.

Tourists also enjoy the Three Sisters Springs when they visit Crystal River. The Three Sisters Springs are a trio of beautiful springs within the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and open to the public only between November and March. The reserve is an important habitat for endangered manatees in Citrus County. Visitors can see the manatee and other native wildlife. The Crystal River State Archaeological Site is a National Historic Landmark of the United States and protects a complex of six significant native mounds. The mounds are a testament to the region’s history as one of Florida’s longest continuously occupied sites. Visitors view the artifacts and learn about the indigenous groups in the area.

Brief history

Stairs to the Temple Mound in Crystal River State Archaeological Park
Stairs to Temple Mound A at Crystal River Archaeological State Park, Crystal River, Florida. Editorial credit: Holly Guerrio /

Around 500 BC, Native Americans built a settlement along the Crystal River, which is currently the Crystal River State Archaeological Park. The settlement was later abandoned for reasons unknown before European colonization. After the Second Seminole War, the United States federal government passed the Armed Occupation Act of 1842, encouraging settlers to settle in the area. In the mid-1800s, families began to settle in the Crystal River area. After the Civil War, people from the northern states came to Crystal River for its climate and the potential to become wealthy citrus growers. Spanish explorers brought oranges on their ships and threw the seeds into the New World. Crystal River had been part of Hernando County since its inception in 1843. However, in 1844 the county name changed to “Curved on” in honor of Senator Thomas Hart Benton. Benton sponsored the Armed Occupation Act of 1842, which brought settlers to the area. The county name changed to Hernando in 1850. Hernando County was divided into three parts: Citrus County, Pasco County, and Hernando County in 1887. In 1889, phosphate was discovered in the eastern part. of Citrus County and the phosphate industry has proliferated. and thrived in Citrus County and Crystal River until 1914 when it could no longer be shipped due to World War I. The railroad reached Crystal River in 1888 and provided an easier way to ship goods and encourage tourists to visit the area. Crystal River became a city in 1903 and was officially incorporated as a city on July 3, 1923.

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