Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, Crystal River

#7 of 11 in Parks in Crystal River
Wildlife Area · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex includes 5 refuges located along Florida's Gulf Coast.

Crystal River NWR was founded in 1983 for the protection of the endangered West Indian Manatee. Located in Crystal River, FL, the refuge manages several islands and winter manatee sanctuaries located within the spring-fed waters of Kings Bay. The refuge currently boasts the world's largest concentration of manatees within a natural winter habitat, with densities exceeding 550 manatees on extremely cold days.

Chassahowitzka NWR was established in 1943 for waterfowl conservation. This 31,000 acre refuge protects satwater bays, estuaries, brackish marshes, and hardwood swamps in Homosassa, FL. In 1970, the refuge lands within Citrus County were designated Wilderness.

Established in 1974, Egmont Key NWR is located at the mouth of Tampa Bay and offers a unique blending of natural and cultural resources. Once known as Fort Dade Military Reservation, the 300 acre island is now managed by the USFWS and the Florida State Park Service. Two large bird sanctuaries protect habitat for more than 30,000 pairs of nesting birds. Eastern box turtles and gopher tortoises thrive on the island, and loggerhead turtles come ashore to nest on the island's sandy beaches each summer.

Pinellas NWR was established in 1951 and protects seven mangrove islands for colonial waterbirds. All of these refuge islands are closed to public use to prevent disturbance to nesting, wintering, and migrating birds.

Passage Key was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 to preserve nesting colonies of native seabirds and wading birds. This island was 60 acres in the early 1900s, however a series of storms eroded the island and today it is merely a low-lying sandbar that fluctuates in size.
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Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
99 reviews
  • This is potentially heaven on earth, minus the rednecks blasting loud music in the middle of all the gorgeous nature. Be mindful that motor boats are allowed if you are kayaking or paddling. The area....  more »
  • To be clear, we did not go to the Wildlife Refuge, we kayaked the "Chaz" river which abuts the refuge. IT WAS AWESOME! There were Manatees right off the dock and at Snapper Hole. Lots of...  more »
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