Hunter Spring Park
104 North East 1st Ave
Crystal River, Florida
Hunter Spring Run hosts a small but pleasant municipal park, perfect for launching kayaks. This park has a beach area, a volleyball court, picnic area and public restrooms.
The park is very busy on weekends, but it's free, the water is pretty clear (human activity has created pollution), and varied sights make any time worthwhile. Certain times of the year (specifically in the winter), it's a great place to see the endangered West Indian manatee, and while I was told two were very near my yak, I didn't actually see them on this day.
Hunter Spring Park is also part of The Great Florida Birding Trail that includes the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and Kings Bay. Forty to fifty bird species inhabit the trail, with Anhingas and Double-crested Cormorants topping the list for greatest number spied. All the wading birds can be seen, however, including Great Blue Herons, Little Blue and Little Green Herons, Tri-colored Herons, Black and Yellow Crowned Night Herons, Great White and Snowy Egrets, Wood Storks, Ibis, Pelicans, and Kingfishers. Bald eagles and osprey nest in the bay area.
© April L. Gustetter