Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge (Hernando)
Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
Bays & Inlets
Kings & Crystal bays
Rivers & Paddling Trails
Chassahowitzka, Crystal, Hall's, Homosassa, Salt Withlacoochee rivers, Blue Run Trail, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
Citrus County, once known for its citrus, has only one remaining commercial grove as a result of the big freeze of 1894-95. Its wild, jagged coast - vast areas of salt marsh and hardwood swamp - is mostly in conservation. Four paved roads intersect its coast, one of Florida's prime spots for fishing spotted sea trout, redfish, cobia, grouper, Spanish mackerel, shark, black drum, bluefish and tarpon. Its one accessible beach is full-facility Fort Island Gulf Beach, with a 1/4-mile of sand and seasonal lifeguards. Also on the gulf is Hernando Beach, a grassy county park.
Conservation areas here include St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve fed by Homosassa River and Crystal River from first-magnitude springs. Salt marshes, mud flats, oyster bars, mangrove islands and seagrass beds host white pelicans, star coral and loggerhead sponges. Citrus County also is home to a portion of the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve, which includes mangrove islands, saltmarsh, sponge beds, marine springs, oyster reefs, and limestone hardbottom habitats. Homosassa Wildlife Management Area in the Withlacoochee State Forest offers forested wetlands and pastures for hunting, wildlife viewing and exploration.
The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge (famous for whooping cranes) and Chassahowitzka River Campground and Recreation Area cover vast areas of submerged lands at the mouth of the Chassahowitzka River, a refuge for many species including endangered West Indian manatee, sea turtles and bald eagles.
July 29, 2021 - 4:39pm
Interested in subscribing to DEP newsletters or receiving DEP updates through email?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.