If you haven’t heard of Citrus, Florida, you’re missing out one of the state’s best kept secrets. It may ring a bell when I tell you that Citrus is the only place in the world that you can legally swim with manatees. You may also be surprised to hear that Citrus is less than two hours away from Orlando, but yet, it feels like a whole new world filled with beautiful springs, amazing wildlife, and breathtaking sunsets. As I sit here reminiscing my trip, I can’t help but scroll through my iPhone to relive my favorite moments as these pictures tell a pretty cool story.
It’s probably no surprise that this sunset photo is now Meredith’s (in pic with me) most popular Instagram photo. Artsy sunset pics are always a hit! This photo was taken on the Crystal River sunset cruise. While the ride was on a simple pontoon boat, the friendly captain, welcoming crowd, and beautiful scenery made the casual setting one of my most memorable moments from the trip. Bring your own bottle of wine and some apps to really spice up the ride.
As the hot sun started to give my pale, Philly skin a beating, I found a lovely shaded tree right beside Plantation on Crystal River’s pool. I was finally able to crack open my first book of summer reading (thanks Mike for the recommendation – It’s actually pretty good).
If you’re looking to do some shopping or go out for some lunch and ice cream, Heritage Village is the place to be. Think old-fashioned ice cream parlors and mom and pop stores. You won’t find a Target in this town, but you’ll find a ton of cute, boutique shops that would interest the entire family.
Meredith and I grabbed a couple wet suits to experience the highly-anticipated swimming with the manatees. What an amazing 3 hours hanging out with some cute swimming potatoes (as some like to call them)!
The wetlands offer a great place to spot gators, snapping turtles, and bald eagles building their nests. I grabbed this shot on an airboat tour.
At Homosassa Spring’s Wildlife State Park, I couldn’t help but chuckle at this sign warning of the “splash zone” that Lu the hippo would provide on a daily basis. I loved that this park only brings in injured or orphaned animals to nurse them back to health or keep them safe.
Here’s another beautiful sunset shot by the poolside at the Plantation on Crystal River. Enjoy dinner at their 82 West Bar and Grill. Afterwards, head outside to enjoy the view while kids can play activities beside the river. During the summer months, the resort has fun weekend activities planned for the kids like water balloon tosses and slip ‘n slide fun.
As Meredith and I board our Wild Bill’s Airboat Tour, we put on headphones to protect from the loud engine noise. The good news is that this one-hour tour is great for all ages. The vibrations and sound of the motor tend to put young infants to sleep. Hold on to your hats on this thrilling ride across the wetlands.
After the airboat tour, we grabbed a shot with a baby gator. I would’ve posted my own photo, but Meredith looked a ton cooler holding it.
A vacation filled with fresh seafood, hush puppies, and key lime pie sounds like a victory to me. To get the real Citrus experience, be sure to hit up the local spots like Peck’s Old Port Cove. You’ll find that local character, casual dining, great food, and beautiful sunset views are the typical dining experiences.
Until next time, Citrus. Thanks for all the Instagram likes 🙂
All travel and accommodations were kindly paid by Visit Florida and Visit Citrus.