Description - A place of exceptional natural beauty, the undisturbed islands, inlets, backwaters, and forests of this preserve are especially cherished by nature lovers and photographers. The park borders 20 miles of the northern Gulf Coast between the two cities of Yankeetown and Homosassa. Visitors can hike or bicycle along nine miles of trails or study the native wildlife and plants on the two-and-a-half mile interpretive trail. Anglers can walk down a short path to the Mullet Hole for a relaxing afternoon of fishing. Paddlers can launch a kayak or canoe into the waters of the scenic Crystal River to see the park from the water. On the third Saturday of each month, the visitor center features the Redfish Revue Theatre, a video presentation about the park. Located west of U.S. 19 in Crystal River.
- The Visitor Center houses 6 floor to ceiling dioramas depicting habitats in the park. Other displays include three 125-gallon aquariums, 2 snake exhibits, a diamondback terrapin enclosure, and a touch table. The conference room is used for presentations and our once a month movies. These movies are free to the public. Outside the Visitor Center there is a demonstration Xeriscape garden with a pond and waterfall. A dock is situated along the Crystal River and has several tables and benches where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenery.
Nature lovers and photographers will love the undisturbed islands where everything from bald eagles to wood storks call their home in the aquatic and upland environments of the preserve.
Recreation - The Crystal Cove day use fishing area, locally known as the "Mullet Hole" , can be accessed by taking the first driveway, on the left, after entering the main gate on Sailboat Avenue. This fishing area extends along a canal system that eventually opens into the Crystal River. This area has restrooms but no picnic area or potable water. The entrance to the Redfish Hole is on the left, off of Fort Island Trail near mile marker #4. The fishing area is approximately a ½ mile walk from the entrance. This area is an old borrows pit that is tidally influenced. In the winter it is a good fishing spot for game species such as redfish, trout, snook, and flounder.
The main trailhead is located at the intersection of North Tallahassee Road and Curtis Tool Road. Curtis Tool Road is one block south of 7 Rivers Hospital off US Hwy 19 north of Crystal River. The bicycle trail is a 9-mile loop that can be accessed either at the trailhead on Tallahassee Road or the end of State Park Drive. This bike trail offers varied habitats from the Hardwood Hammock to Pinewoods and fringes a salt marsh. This is a trail for the experienced biker or hiker.
Climate - Florida's weather is dominated by the water that surrounds it. The Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Gulf of Mexico in the west provide a stabilizing force that maintains the mild climate. Northern Florida is considered sub tropical, although it does receive some snow. This area is drier than the rest of the state. Southern areas of the state, definitely the Keys, lie within a tropical climate. Humidity is high, a characteristic of the climate, although the temperatures usually don't extend past 90 degrees F.
On the average the state receives 50 to 65 inches of rain. Summer is the rainy season, which extends into October in the south. Hurricane season begins in late August. Some hurricanes can bring up to 25 inches of rain. An average of two hurricanes per season reach the Florida peninsula. Most often these storms reach the Atlantic Coast rather than the Gulf Coast.
The park is located west of U.S. 19 in Crystal River.