7 Free Things to Do in Crystal River, FL | Discover Crystal River

7 Free Things to Do in Crystal River, FL

Find out about 7 budget-friendly ways to enjoy Crystal River, Florida.

There’s no need to break the bank on your visit to Citrus County and Crystal River, Florida. Here are seven free things to do and explore here:

1. Swim & Play at Fort Island Gulf Beach

Don’t be surprised if you catch dolphins cruising by on the horizon at this family-friendly beach. Enjoy a day of swimming and fun on the white sand beaches and take advantage of amenities like restrooms, showers, and plenty of parking. Stroll along the boardwalk for serene views and bird and wildlife watching opportunities.

2. Step Back In Time At Crystal River Archaeological State Park

Practically “free,” this park is accessible with only a $3 per vehicle fee or $2 per pedestrian or cyclist fee. The park is spread over 61-acres and preserves the ancient ceremonial sites of early Native American inhabitants. Today you can still see burial mounds, temple mounds, and other areas used for more than 1,600 years by ancient cultures. The on-site museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm Thursday through Monday and displays additional artifacts and exhibits.

Today you can still see burial mounds, temple mounds, and other areas used for more than 1,600 years by ancient cultures. At Crystal River Archaeological State Park

3. Browse Artwork at Local Galleries

The natural beauty of Citrus County, Florida draws many artists to the area. Get inspired and experience the work of local artists in our galleries. The galleries along North Citrus Avenue in downtown Crystal River are very walkable, so spend a day wandering and feasting your eyes.

4. Hike in Crystal River Preserve State Park

Situated along twenty miles of beautiful Gulf coast, this preserve includes marsh and forest land. Hike the trails throughout the park including a seven-mile loop and a two-mile nature trail. Have your camera ready because the views and native vegetation and wildlife are stunning.

5. Experience American History at The Yulee Sugar Mills

Learn about the history behind this historic sugar plantation, which supplied products to the southern troops during the Civil War. Tour the remaining structures and bring your own lunch to the park’s picnic pavilions, equipped with grills.

6. Explore Fort Cooper State Park

Only $3 per vehicle, Fort Cooper State Park offers 700 acres of forests and nature trails to explore. Fort Cooper was the site of a prolonged conflict between Seminole warriors and US soldiers. Visitors can learn more about the history of the Seminoles and view birds and wildlife while hiking the park’s five miles of trails. Additional amenities include picnic pavilions, a lakeside playground, camping, and more!

7. Discover Free Festivals & Events

There are so many cool festivals in Citrus County, FL. The Cooter Music Festival in October is a free two-day celebration with family-friendly rides, food, and more on Lake Henderson in Inverness. The Inverness Festival of the Arts is a free festival held the first weekend in November, which showcases more than 100 booths of fine arts. Find out about all of our free and budget-friendly annual festivals and events happening during your stay.

For more travel inspiration and things to do, visit our blog or check out our itineraries page.


Discover Crystal River
Official Guide to Crystal River in Citrus County, Florida

A National Historic Landmark, this 61-acre Native American ceremonial site was active and abandoned before Europeans ever arrived in the Western Hemisphere. It consists of burial mounds,...

Crystal River Preserve is a true mosaic. Within its borders are more than 27,500 acres of scrub, pinewoods, hardwood forests, salt marshes and mangrove islands. Much of the property is still...