Media Relations in Citrus County, Florida


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Every day, digital media revolutionizes the way people see and experience the world. Your need for fresh content to engage and inform your audience never ends. That’s why we work daily on creating and collecting fresh content and visual media on this incredible Florida destination.

This is your resource for story ideas, fact checking, planning a press trip and breathtaking visual content on one of the world’s leading eco-tourism destinations. Let’s talk about what you’re working on.

Elissa Hofelt
Media and Content Manager
352-527-5924 / 325-586-0213

manatees at fishbowl observatory
Press Releases

A hidden gem in Florida’s Nature Coast, Crystal River welcomes visitors year round for unforgettable family fun and outdoor adventure.





The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge conducts aerial manatee surveys every month during the manatee season to assess manatee abundance and distribution in Citrus County. The highest number of manatees ever recorded in Citrus County occurred in 2022 with a record of 1,333 manatees.

Other observations from the January 31, 2022 survey:
• Largest manatee count in King’s Bay- 1,016 manatees
• Largest number of manatee calves in Citrus County – 212 calves
• Largest manatee count on the upper Homosassa River – 304 manatees

Nowhere else in the world is there a greater number of manatees present in winter months.


  • Kings Bay: with over 70 springs, a first magnitude springs complex.
  • Three Sisters Springs: World renowned manatee spring in Crystal River. Simply breathtaking. Featured in National Geographic Magazine, April 2013.
  • Homosassa Spring: First magnitude Homosassa Spring draws hundreds of manatees to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
  • Chassahowitzka River: First magnitude springs in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Withlacoochee River: Spring-fed river ranging far inland into interior Florida.


  • Withlacoochee State Trail: 46 miles long paved recreation & bicycle trail. One of the greatest triumphs of the rails-to-trails movement in the USA.
  • Withlacoochee State Forest: Voted one of The Ten Coolest Places You’ve Never Been in North America by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and home to the very rare red-cockaded woodpecker. You could hike for days here.
  • Withlacoochee Bay Trail: part of the Cross Florida Greenway with a terminus on spectacular Withlacoochee Bay on the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Crystal River Preserve State Park: With the gritty Seven-mile Loop and Eco-Walk, it’s a hiker, mountain biker & birders paradise filled with all that is wild in Florida.


Every day our fishing boats ply the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We have a rich tradition of American cooking distinct to the Gulf of Mexico and the American South and we’re happy to share our bounty with you—fresh grouper, red-fish, mullet, snapper, bay scallops, blue crab, stone crab, even Gator tail–the list goes on like a scene from Forrest Gump.


Whether scuba diving in underwater caves or diving for scallops in the Gulf, Crystal River’s Citrus County is a diver’s bonanza. Our outfitters will take care of your every need.


There are endless choices for kayaking, paddle-boarding, and canoeing with seven rivers, a chain of freshwater lakes, the Gulf of Mexico and an intricate world of islands, marsh and mangrove. We are teeming with outfitters to cater to your every adventure need.


We are among the oldest Sport Fishing centers of Florida with the Atlanta Homosassa Fishing Club and Homosassa Guides Association dating back a hundred years or more. American Baseball legend Ted Williams retired here just to fish! Here, you always come back with your catch and many of our restaurants are happy to cook it up for you.


  • Crystal River: One of the top centers of Florida Eco-tourism with over 45 permitted guide operators and a world-class resort at The Plantation on Crystal River. There are plenty of hotel and food choices for a fraction of the cost of Tampa Bay, Miami and Orlando.
  • Homosassa: Historic fishing village with ties to old Florida food and customs featuring the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Homosassa Riverside Resort, and the rustic MacRae’s of Homosassa resort.
  • Inverness: A thriving turn-of-the-century downtown provides a walkable nightlife setting on the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes and Withlacoochee State Trail.
  • Floral City: Quintessential old Florida with streets lined by elegant oaks draped in Spanish moss. Fresh-fruit from our orchards and farms can be had in abundance here. Also on the Withlacoochee State Trail.

Crystal River & Citrus County is 70 miles north of Tampa International Airport and just 80 miles west of Orlando International.




From a One-of-a-kind experience to 10,000 years of history, Citrus County has so much to be shared


Citrus County’s relatively warm, spring-fed waters attract North America’s largest manatee gathering each winter. The largest concentration can be found in the Crystal River but they are also found in the Homosassa River. A thousand-pound manatee in the wild, often with a baby or two alongside, is unforgettable. They react to the close-at-hand presence of swimmers, divers and waders with characteristic good nature. Citrus County is the only place in North America where nature lovers can legally swim and snorkel with these docile giants.


Birding in Citrus County can include anything from a flock of whooping cranes following an ultralight aircraft to soaring eagles to nesting sandhill cranes. Of course there are red birds and blue birds and every other color of the rainbow. Many Citrus County public parks and preserves have huge avian populations. The Great Florida Birding Trail has 445 official sites and 23 of them are in Citrus County. Get started on this story at the official website,


Citrus County bay scallops can be found in the shallow Gulf Waters of off the coast during the recreational scalloping season that runs from late June through late September. The meat from a bay scallop is small, white and tender. Local guides help visitors find and collect scallops and tell them what the harvesting limits and regulations are. Once you’ve got your limit, take your bounty to one of the county’s local eateries where you eat your catch – can’t get any fresher than that! Story possibilities include the usual W’s plus recipes and beachfront cookouts.


Salt or fresh…amateur or professional…Citrus County is a fisherman’s dream. Folks who want to trailer their own boats find excellent launch ramps and an assortment of waterside restaurants, fuel stops and boatyards. It’s only a short run to the open Gulf and as much adventure as you like. On your own it’s a great experience, but there’s nothing like a charter with an experienced guide to ensure a great day and a great catch.

Anglers seeking freshwater adventure have a very good chance of landing a bass that will look like a whale in the photograph if you hold it in front of your body at arm’s length. The Tsala Apopka chain of lakes near Inverness is a great place to begin.


Baseball great Ted Williams…Elvis Presley…Winslow Homer…they all visited Citrus County.

But, all of those fine visitors were latecomers compared to the Native Americans who made their way to Citrus County starting around 200 BC. A place for trading, gathering wild plants, collecting shellfish and exploring, the Calusa Indians created a vibrant economic and community center.

The remnants of this culture are on display at the Crystal River State Archaeological Site – a Florida state park located in Citrus County. This six-mound complex is the largest of the Deptford Period in the southeastern United States and is designated a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can take a trail through burial and temple mounds and shell middens. An unusual feature of the site are two upright ceremonial stones or “stelae,” one with the likeness of a human head carved on its surface. The visitors center/museum displays artifacts excavated at the site and links this with other mound building groups.


Countless miles of little channels, larger streams and impressive rivers punctuate the Citrus County shoreline where land and Gulf of Mexico saltwater meet. Canoe and kayak trips reveal a world only seen by water. For a little something extra, try kayak fishing on our saltwater flats or paddle boarding our shore trail through mangrove islands.


The Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park is a refuge and rehabilitation center for manatees. The Park features other residents as well, including Yuma, a Florida Panther cub who was rescued when he was four days old and brought to the park when he was just a few months old.

There is a nature boardwalk, boat tour, educational programs and a “fish bowl” for underwater sightseeing. The large visitor’s center is filled with artwork and educational exhibits and displays.