Living in Citrus County, Florida
Citrus County is one of the most enjoyable places to live on the West Coast. Whether you are seeking an active lifestyle or looking for a relaxed way of life, Citrus County is the right choice for you. This is where you will experience rolling hills, beautiful thick green forests, scenic beauty and warm crystal clear waters. With so much available, like championship golf, outdoor activities, state forests and water activities, you will surely find something to fulfill your unique and individual tastes. Unlike much of Florida, we do have seasonal changes in weather. Citrus County has less congestion than big cities, yet quick access to Tampa, Orlando, Ocala and Gainesville.
Why Citrus County Florida?
Biking, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Running, Swimming, Walking
People who are passionate about outdoor activities are going to feel right at home in Citrus County. Endless outdoor adventures await you.
Boating, Fishing, Kayaking, Manatee, Scalloping, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling
If you love being in or near or on the water, there is an array of water activities for you. Sparkling blue water natural springs; a spectacular world of spring-fed rivers, manatee-filled bays and a chain of lakes that covers 22,000 acres and includes 15 lakes are all at your fingertips.
Withlacoochee State Forest
Beautiful scenery, majestic 70-mile river, nature preserves and wildlife. The Citrus Tract covers 50,000 acres and includes: birding, bicycling, camping, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, picnicking, running, walking and wildlife viewing.
What Makes Citrus County Special
Half of our land is dedicated as publicly held property including State Forests, national wild life refuges and 28,000 acres Crystal River Preserve State Park. 152,000 acres out of the 683 square miles have been set aside to preserve wildlife.
Some Fun and Fascinating Facts About Citrus County:
Citrus County was named for the county's citrus groves.
Early Spanish Explorers planted the first orange trees in Florida in the 1500s. During the Civil War the Yulee Sugar Mill, located on the Homosassa River, supplied sugar to the Confederacy. Remnants of the Yulee Sugar Mill still stand today and you can see the stonework on the 40' chimney, the foundation, well, iron gears and a cane press. After the Civil War the development of the railroad allowed citrus growers to ship their products across the country. Citrus production declined dramatically after the "Big Freeze" of 1894 - 1895. That freeze ended the citrus industry and phosphate was discovered in the area in the late 1800s.
The phosphate mining (used in munitions) played a major part of the history of Citrus County until the end of WWII when phosphate mining was moved overseas.
The Citrus industry rallied once again and by 1950 more than 100 million boxes of citrus were picked, that number reached 200 million in 1970.
Another early industry in the1800s was the turpentine business here in Citrus County. Turpentine was used in many household products such as: paint, hairspray and cosmetics. By 1970, the Florida turpentine industry had all but disappeared.
Crystal River State Archaeological Site:
The earliest settlements in Citrus County started around 200 B.C. and lasted until 1400 A.D. Indians of the Deptford culture (pre-Columbian Native American group) occupied this area. Native American burial mounds can still be seen at the Crystal River State Archaeological Site. The 61 acre complex is a six mound complex with burial mounds, two temple/platform mounds (believed to have been used for ceremonial purposes) and a plaza area. These areas were used by the Native Americans for over 1,600 years.
Homosassa has been a sports lover's paradise since the turn of the century and a destination for wealthy and prominent Americans such as Grover Cleveland, Thomas Edison, John Jacob Astor and Winslow Homer.
Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park:
Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park serves as a refuge for injured and orphaned manatees, exotic animals and native species. Some of these animals were trained and used in television shows and movies. One of the most popular was a bear named Buck. He was the stand-in for Gentle Ben, a 1960s television show. A non-native animal at the park, Lucifer (Lu), is a much beloved hippopotamus. When the state purchased the park and wanted only native Florida animals, the citizens petitioned the governor and Lu was named an honorary Florida native. On top of that he was a movie and television star in the 1960s. Lu turned 62 years old on January 28, 2022. He is still the oldest living hippopotamus in North America.
Old Citrus County Courthouse:
This courthouse was constructed in 1912. Elvis Presley made an appearance in a movie filmed at the courthouse named 'Follow That Dream'. The majority of the movie was filmed in Citrus County and surrounding parts of central Florida in 1961. The final crucial scenes of the movie were filmed entirely in our courthouse.
People are still following their dream to Florida.
Withlacoochee State Trail has 46 miles of trails that are perfect for biking, hiking, horseback riding, running, skating, and walking. Here you can hike through unspoiled forests teaming with massive oak trees draped in Spanish Moss. There are miles of rugged mountain bike trails through the Withlacoochee State Forest and Crystal River Preserve State Park. Biking is a fantastic way to see the natural beauty of Citrus County. There are paved roads, challenging hills and panoramic miles of remarkable views.
Citrus County has 15 golf courses featuring flat, wide fairways, thick roughs and challenging greens. These courses will take you through rolling hills, winding terrain, majestic oaks and thick pines, all offering breath taking views and stunning landscapes. Many times players spot native wildlife during their rounds. Such as: deer, turkeys, owls, bald eagles, armadillos and an occasional alligator. Our golf courses have regulation holes, putting greens, chipping greens and driving ranges to fit every style of play and skill level. You can play golf year-round making this a golfer's paradise.
Black Diamond Ranch is carved into an abandoned limestone quarry. It has some of the most magnificent views and amazing grounds a golfer will ever encounter. Black Diamond Ranch is one of the most gratifying golfing adventures you will ever experience. It offers 45 of the most incredible and demanding holes of golf. It is tailored around canyon walls which offer many changes in elevations and astonishing views.
Cabot Citrus Farms (World Woods) features two of the most difficult championship 18-hole courses in the United States. The two golf courses are being re-envisioned and will be adding a par-3 course and putting course.
Withlacoochee State Forest
The Withlacoochee State Forest covers over 155,000 acres across several counties. The Citrus County area contains nearly 50,000 acres of forest land. Activities in this area consist of: bicycling, bird watching, boat ramps, canoeing, canoe launch, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and picnicking. Here, you will also encounter a large variety of trees including: bald cypress, hickory, gum, longleaf pine, maple, oak, pond cypress, slash pine and southern magnolia. The Forest contains an abundance of wildlife: bald eagles, bobcats, fox squirrels, gopher tortoises, gray squirrels, quail, rabbits, red-cockaded woodpeckers, white-tailed deer and wild turkey all make their homes here. Springtime visitors will be dazzled by the colors produced by the abundance of wildflowers which include: blazing star, goldenrod and thistle.
There are three recreation areas in the Citrus Tract. Holder Mine, Mutual Mine and Tillis Hill. Each has it's own special features.
Holder Mine Recreation Area
Here you will find: biking, boating, boat ramps, canoeing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, nature trails and running paths. Fish are plentiful in the lakes and flowing waterways. Hunting is allowed (please see the Wildlife Management Areas Regulations for dates and requirements). There are two hiking trails. One is 6.7 miles long and the second is 12.6 miles long. The campsites are peaceful and roomy. There are 27 campsites and each consists of: concrete pad, electric and water service, fire ring, grill and picnic table. The campsite are also has two bath houses, a covered pavilion and a RV dump station.
Mutual Mine Recreation Area
Here you will find: biking, canoeing, fishing and running paths. Hunting is allowed (please see the Wildlife Management Areas Regulations for dates and requirements) . There are two hiking trails. One is 16.9 miles long and the other is 19.4 miles long. There are 13 campsites positioned around a lake that welcome fishing. These non electric campsites have water. The campsites have restrooms available, but no shower facilities or electricity.
Tillis Hill Recreation Area
This recreation area has the equestrian user in mind. Here you will find: biking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and nature trails. Hunting is allowed (please see the Wildlife Management Areas Regulations for dates and requirements). There are two equestrian trails - one is 12 miles long and the other is 24 miles long. There are a variety of horse trails available, 50 miles in all, that meander across all parts of the Citrus Tract. Horses can be quartered in one of the 36 stalls or in the corral. This area consists of 37 campsites with: two bath houses with restrooms and shower facilities, a covered pavilion, grills, electricity, fire ring, paved slabs, picnic tables and water.
If you love water activities, Citrus County is the place for you.
Home to the largest herd of wintering manatees in the U.S. During manatee season (November through March) Crystal River National Park has around 6,000 to 8,000 manatees that come to the area due to the warm water temperature. This is one of the only place where you can swim with the manatees in their own habitat.
There is an incredible underwater world to explore so grab your snorkel and scuba gear and go diving at places like Mullet Spring, Three Sisters Spring and Kings Spring.
Kings Bay has over 70 springs pumping out 600 million gallons of fresh water per day from the Florida aquifer. It maintains a constant temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, year-round. This is a great place for fishing and for launching your kayak.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park has an amazing underwater observatory. A "Fish Bowl" that floats in the main Spring and allows visitors to "walk underwater" beneath the Spring's surface and get an up-close view of fresh and saltwater fish as well as the magnificent gentle manatees.
Hunter Springs Park has a natural shoreline and beach. It is a great place to swim year round and to snorkel. It also is a great place to launch your kayak with sandy, gentle sloping areas for ease of getting in and out of your kayak.
Scalloping season runs July through September. Scalloping is a family-friendly way to spend the day on the water. Blue "eyes" of the scallop make them easy to spot among seagrass beds. One single bay scallop can lay up to two million eggs every fall. The local bay scallops replenish themselves when left alone during the off-season. Be sure to know and follow the guidelines and rules for scalloping.
Because of our unique location Citrus County offers plenty of freshwater and saltwater fishing, it is a fisherman's paradise. Some of the best places to fish are Chassahowitzka River, Halls River, Crystal River and Homosassa River.