We’re becoming fonder of our time in Crystal River as we move forward in to our latest adventure, our first, and most excellent, Florida State Park camping experience. A blog is forthcoming on it.
On Sunday after church, we did manage a short hike on the Great Florida Birding Trail. It was close to the Crystal Isle RV Resort, so that was a bonus. We thought it would be packed with birders as the trail head parking lot was full! We only saw two birds, but about 15 people fishing. As it turned out, it was more of a fishing hole. Nothing was biting, but the children brought along were having a blast. The trail wasn’t very long, but we managed to stretch it out to a 1.42 walk. Here are a few pictures of the trail:
Bill noticed a sign to a beach of some sort, so we found it after the walk. It’s called Fort Island Gulf Beach. And that’s where we found all the birds! It was an interesting little beach, possibly man-made according to Trip Advisor. We ran out of data, for the first time, so we didn’t research it before going. We got some nice pictures:
Sign as we entered the “Island”
Lots of seagulls and pigeons
And some serenity
And finally, will close with a video of friends, the Snowmads. This is a young couple we finally were able to meet in person at the Florida Super RV Show. The are also “full-timers” but was still working. From their blog site: “We’re Jason and Kristin Snow, an adventure-addicted couple in our early thirties who walked away from cubicles and conventional lives to travel a new road – one paved with less routine, many new friends, and crazy experiences at every turn!” And they recently got to kayak with the manatees! We had hoped to do this as well, but with the freeze, the manatees left the area. Enjoy!
On March 16, 2013, we rode our motorcycle to Apollo Beach to see the manatees. Loved it that they had special parking signs for motorcycles only!
We try to not be negative, but we also don’t want everything to be seen as we are living the “perfect” life. We have our ups and downs, which even happens on vacation! But we’ve never struggled to find something redeeming about an area we’ve visited or even a campground. But we really struggled with our time in Crystal River.
One of the biggest attractions to the area are the manatees. But since we were there during the big Florida Freeze of 2015 (February 19-20), they had fled the area and the manatee sightseeing centers stopped the tours.
Fortunately, in 2013, we had been to the Florida TECO power plant area in Apollo Beach and for free, saw many manatees. So we were OK with not paying to see them. Here is a little video of our time there. We saw much of Florida while touring around on our motorcycle. Sadly, Bill didn’t think he could manage both a motorcycle and the RV. So now we cherish our fond memories of some great travels on the bike and this day was one of them!
And here is a really great blog of a couple we follow (on their blog), who really spell it out (making the most of where ever you are) and we do TRY to live this way!
This area is also called, “The Nature’s Coast.” From the official website, “Crystal River, the gem of Florida’s beautiful Nature Coast, is about a two hour drive from Tampa/St. Petersburg. We are situated around the magnificent Kings Bay, designated as an Outstanding Florida Waterway and offering ample opportunities for boating, diving, swimming, fishing as well as a variety of Manatee and Eco-Tours.
“We’re proud of our history, parks, natural beauty, low tax structure and first rate municipal services.”
Looking at Trip Advisor and other web searches, we were ready for an outstanding time! We knew we’d have to return to finish seeing what we didn’t have time to see. But alas, we are limping out, disappointed that we didn’t have much fun but we had several adventures! What we liked: hummm, let us think. There is a great tire store nearby and we loved the First Baptist Church. And we know there was great beauty here, we just had a hard time finding it. Maybe the weather had something to do with it (the great freeze of Florida, so the manatees fled for warmer waters)….but we also miscalculated, we wanted to take the glass bottom boat ride in Silver Springs, which was a bit far. What we didn’t like: Since we’re not boaters or fishermen (of fish), we probably couldn’t appreciate the area. It is full of estuaries, so trying to get around was hindered. We always find something to do, no matter the weather. We did have the coldest night in history here, but that didn’t ruin it for us. But we couldn’t find a museum or decent trail to hike!
The second day there, we discovered we had run over a 12 penny nail (like a spike). So to keep a boring story short, we spent all day getting that taken care of. But the tire dealer was excellent, to bad he couldn’t sell us all four tires-he only had three so we bought two and next stop, we’ll finish that job!
And then there is the campground. Here is our full review on Campendium, but for now, let’s just say we won’t return during peak season! Here’s a few pictures to show why: