Sublime Crystal River

    By Terry Gibson

    Over the past couple months, I've had multiple occasions to visit the Crystal River area, along Florida's Nature Coast. It's one of those places that lures you in and makes you want to stay and explore a while.

    If you're an angler, the late spring and early summer are peak tarpon season. In other words, the Silver King is running NOW. Tarpon are one of the most challenging species to target, and the region's crystal-clear coastal waters make it a quiet favorite for hardcore sight-fishermen.

    The coastal marshes also offer superb fishing for spotted seatrout, red drum and gag grouper, when it's grouper season. We did pretty well on the redfish fishing with Capt. Rick LeFiles out of neighboring Yankeetown.

    If a quiet boat ride or canoe/kayak trip sounds enticing, the Withlacoochee River runs into the Gulf, and it's one of Florida's prettiest and most pristine rivers. Check out the photos.

    Divers, this is also a unique dive destination. Mingle with manatees, snook, red drum and other species in 72-degree springs.

    The area offers some famous accommodations, including the Izaak Walton Lodge and the Plantation on Crystal River. Go pamper yourself.

    By the way, Crystal River is running strong in a competition for the title, America's Ultimate Fishing Town. Click here to cast a vote if you agree.