Citrus County, Mother Nature's Theme Park! This is an Outdoor Lover's Paradise!
When it comes to enjoying Florida’s great outdoors there is no location more befitting than the Nature Coast. Here along the Gulf Coast is a region where the wonders of nature abound in an unspoiled environment that beckons you to enjoy exhilarating outdoor recreation as well as tranquil moments of connecting with Mother Nature.
Central to the area’s attractions are its abundant lakes, rivers and scenic coastline along the shimmering Gulf of Mexico. It’s a watersport enthusiast’s playground where the essence of all that is great about Florida’s legendary waterways flourishes to the fullest.
The quality of Citrus County’s fresh and saltwater recreation opportunities has been heralded worldwide. Among the area’s nationally recognized accolades are One of the Top 3 Snorkeling Destinations in the World and Among the 12 Best Fishing Spots in North America. Its renowned waterways have also been the focus of leading naturalists including the experts at National Geographic and famous undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau.
In short, when it comes to outdoor activities it just doesn’t get much better than this!
Here fishing isn’t a matter of if you fish – but rather where, when and for which kind. Bordered by water on three sides, Citrus County boasts one of the most productive estuaries within the state and is home to seven of Florida’s Outstanding Waterways. If freshwater is your preference, then you’ll find sunshine bass in the Lake Tsala Apopka chain, speckled perch in Lake Rousseau, catfish in the Withlacoochee River or the ultimate southern quarry, the Florida Largemouth Bass, found just about everywhere. If saltwater is more to your liking, you can hook grouper and snapper at the reefs, sea trout and Spanish mackerel on the grass beds, cobia and sheepshead at the markers. Massive tarpon, redfish and more are also common catches offshore, especially in the warmer months.
2. Diving & Snorkeling
As impressive as our waterways are above the surface, it is the extraordinary underwater world that has elevated the locale into one of the most desirable diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. From the crystal clear water at the headwaters of our famous rivers to the open water of the Gulf, awaiting you is an adventure filled with plants and marine life including North America’s largest collection of playful manatees. Whether a novice snorkeler or expert scuba diver the experience of immersing yourself in the incredibly clear waterways of Crystal River and Homosassa Springs creates one of life’s memorable moments. Supporting this popular watersport pastime is a plentiful supply of area dive shops and dive tour services.
3. Kayaking & Canoeing
There’s nothing quite like gliding silently down the river or creek in a canoe or kayak. Nature unfolds before you as though you weren’t even there, and the subtle click of a camera shutter echoes as an out-of-place noise. If this mode of water transportation is your pleasure, then Citrus County’s numerous rivers and lakes are ready to welcome you. For the experienced canoeist or kayaker, the 26-mile long Citrus County Canoe & Kayak Trail offers breathtaking views of the saltwater estuaries and freshwater coastal rivers. The blackwater Withlacoochee River offers an 83-mile designated trail that begins in Pasco County and continues to the northern Citrus County line in Dunnellon.
Whether you enjoy motor boating, sailing, jet skiing or relaxing on a pontoon boat, there’s an endless supply of beautiful waterways to explore. Public boat ramps provide easy access to a wide array of rivers, pristine springs, lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re looking for a more permanent mooring, there are privately owned marinas and boat storage facilities. Should you desire boating, but not the idea of owning a boat, there are many places that rent boats, kayaks, jet skis and canoes for a few hours, a day or longer. For boating pleasure without having to actually drive, you’ll find area tour boats and operators that will tailor trips to suit your needs. You can charter a private sport fishing boat with an expert guide, experience the thrill of a high-speed airboat ride or enjoy a river cruise where you’ll soak up the beautiful surroundings and observe a diversity of wildlife.
5. Hiking, Biking & Birding
Nearly 50 percent of Citrus County has been protected from development and that means there are abundant opportunities to hike, bike, and enjoy nature to its fullest. The parks, preserves and forests of the County offer a rich variety of well-marked trails in varying lengths to suit your specific walking or riding needs. Among the best loved is the Withlacoochee State Trail. A 46 mile long paved multi-use trail that is the result of our rails-to-trails program. The County is also a haven for incredible bird watching. With 18 designated birding trails Citrus County attracts visitors from throughout the world to view a variety of
rare, threatened and protected species including; bald eagles, whooping cranes, sandhill cranes, eagles, herons, pelicans, terns, plovers, red-cockaded woodpeckers and many more.