RV There Yet? | Discover Crystal River

RV There Yet?

Patrice and Kevin McCabe, RV Travel Experts and hosts of the hit show RV There Yet, share their favorite parts of visiting Crystal River and rest of Citrus County.

Our trip to Crystal River and exploring the Nature Coast of Florida was better than we ever imagined! We live in Lutz, so the RV drive was an easy hour-long drive, but it felt like we drove right into old Florida. By the time we pulled into our campsite at The Cove Resort and Pub, both Kevin and I were grinning ear to ear with excitement for what was to come that week. We’re always excited for an episode shoot, because it means adventure, meeting all kinds of wonderful people, and getting to know a community better. Shortly after setting up camp, Kemper Willcut, The Cove’s owner came by to greet us and fill us in on the history of the campground and restaurant. Kevin said, “What a hidden gem he’s got on his hands!! You just can’t beat walking a few footsteps over to the pub for dinner and then back to your RV.” We were quickly spoiled by the hospitality!

Our first venture out was to Wild Bill’s Airboat Tours where we met Steve and Dave (our pilots for the day). We loaded up 2 airboats (me and Kevin in one and the crew in the other) and set out for some fast fun! These guys love to ride, and it shows. We explored the Withlacoochee River, spotted alligators and turtles sunning themselves, watched herons and egrets fly out of the way, and even spotted a bald eagle flying above . . . it was a wonderful way to spend the morning, under the old oaks dripping in Spanish moss. Again, transported back to old Florida. The adventures weren’t done after the airboat ride though, because we brought our bikes and good thing we did! We rode down to the Withlacoochee Trail in Inverness, down to Liberty Park, and around Henderson Lake. It’s a great way to see the area and an awesome way to work up an appetite. We ended our day back at The Cove Pub for some of their famous wings with “Debbie’s Sauce.” Don’t ask me, just try em!

Next up, we were moving on to Tillis Hill Campground in the Withlacoochee State Forest. We drove up to meet Ranger Tracy Pollard and her staff of Rangers, talk about hospitality! Each shared with us their specialty and contribution to the team, and each of them made us feel right at home. We learned more about the Equestrian Campground from Tracy, and then headed on our way to get saddled up and ride at the Rymar Ranch. There we met Annie and Debbie, our guides, as well as our handsome horses, Luke and Oscar. “The ranch takes riders on a guided tour back through the Withlacoochee State Forest where you feel like you’re the only ones on the planet. It's quiet, serene, and absolutely good for the soul!” shares Patrice. Back to the RV at Tillis Hill for some homemade dinner and a quiet night under the stars.

We are in the Manatee Capital of the World, after all, so that’s exactly what we had planned . . . we were off to meet some manatee. We woke up, packed a bag with our swimsuits and headed out to the Plantation Adventure Center and Manatee Tours to meet up with Paul and Jake our captain and dive guide for the day. They handed us our wetsuits and then we set out to Three Sisters Springs to find the manatees. I'm a midwestern girl, I'm a good swimmer too, but the saltwater is still something that intimidates me to this day (and I've been in Florida now for 20+ years). The area we were swimming was in a cove, and it was spring water fed, coming right out from below us and the water was fresh! It was crystal clear, 72 degrees and all my nerves melted away as soon as I stepped off the boat and into the water. Once back in the cove, Jake led us to where he knew some manatees would be and instructed us to stay as calm and still as possible. "If you want to see a manatee, be a manatee." In other words, the more still you are, the more they will come to check you out. No joke, it's just as he said it would be . . . here they come. They're swimming right up to both of us, they're checking us out. I froze. I even forgot to breathe at one point. Ha! They are enormous, gentle giants and fascinating creatures. We had Mamas with their pups all around us, just floating, sinking to the bottom, coming up for air and to check us out. Wow! I was absolutely refreshed, amazed, and exhilarated from the experience.

Last day discovering Crystal River . . . we spent learning more about the wildlife at the Homosassa Wildlife State Park, where we met Ranger Kate Spratt. Ranger Kate share with us the great work they do there at the Park, what we could see while we were there visiting, and some of her favorites. We spent the day just strolling around, looking at all the indigenous animals that may have been brought in due to injury or illness, and to be rehabilitated back into the wild. It was really neat to see all of the animals we would be able to see out in the wild, learn a little more about them, their habitats and why some of them were there. It was a great way to end our week.

If I had to sum up Crystal River and the surrounding Nature Coast of Florida, I would say it's as close to untouched, unchanged, "Old Florida" as you can get. It's beautifully natural, surrounded by water and the forest, and has a community who really does appreciate what they have and where they live. We'll be back to explore more!

For more information about RV There Yet? TV, Hosts Patrice and Kevin McCabe, and McCabe Productions, Inc. please contact Patrice McCabe at patrice@mpivideo.com or 727.639.4208.

RV There Yet: Crystal River Full Episode


Patrice McCabe
COO, McCabe Productions Inc.

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