Best Beaches Near Crystal River, Florida

    By Lauren Tjaden

    Crystal River's beaches and the surrounding area is made for those who love the great outdoors.

    Heralded as Florida's Nature Coast, Crystal River features shallow, grassy flats, an ideal place to snorkel and search for scallops in the summer months. It promises great fishing, numerous parks, preserves, springs and wildlife refuges—and it’s famous for its large manatee population.

    But what you may not know is that it’s also home to two sandy beaches.

    While Crystal River, Florida beaches aren’t the typical Sunshine State beaches that stretch on as far as the eye can see, they nevertheless offer opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, or just kicking back.

    Read on to discover these hidden beaches near Crystal River.

    crystal river beach

    Watch the sunset at Alfred McKethan Park/Pine Island Park's beach in Spring Hill, near Crystal River.

    Contributed Photo

    Fort Island Gulf Beach

    16000 W. Fort Island Trail
    Crystal River FL 34429

    At the very end of Fort Island Trail, you’ll find Fort Island Gulf Beach. This curved, 1,000-foot Crystal River beach is far enough off-the-beaten path that you’re unlikely to stumble on it. It boasts a roped-off swimming area, and its waters and are calm and shallow, so your whole gang will be comfortable.

    It offers covered pavilions and picnic tables; bring a packed lunch, or during the summer months, grab a bite from a vendor.

    The park also features a boat ramp and dock accessibility, as well as a pier, where you can try out your fishing skills or just enjoy the views.

    This is a free facility with ample parking. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

    manatee off crystal river beach

    Florida's Crystal River is home to a large manatee population as well

    Carlton Ward Jr. for VISIT FLORIDA

    crystal river florida beaches

    Keep your boat outside your room at the Plantation on Crystal River

    Alfred McKethan Park / Pine Island Park

    10840 Pine Island Drive
    Spring Hill, FL 34607

    A three-acre park nestled on the Gulf of Mexico, Alfred McKethan Park offers white, sandy shores that are perfect for sun worshippers. This palm-fringed island is located off of County Road 495, west of Weeki Wachee. Its amenities include a beach and swimming area, picnic tables, shelters, barbecue grills, an observation point, a volleyball court, a playground and a concession stand.

    It also features great flats fishing, kayaking and canoeing.

    Make sure to stick around for the sunset: they tend to be spectacular.

     

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