Citrus County, Florida: Outdoor Fun and Fascinating History
Here on the west coast of Central Florida lies beautiful Citrus County, a scenic part of Florida that is also known as the “Florida for Water Lovers” thanks to year-round mild weather and comfortable water temperatures. This vacation spot is fascinating not only because of its beautiful surrounding nature, but also because it offers impressive insights into the region’s prehistoric past.
Travelling Back in Time at the Crystal River Archaeological State Park
As the early-morning mist enveloped the majestic oaks of the Crystal River Archaeological State Park, I felt an almost mystical presence surrounding me. This area, located directly on Crystal River, was once a ceremonial site used by prehistoric coastal dwellers thousands of years ago. They travelled long distances to bury their dead here, and six burial sites still remain. From the highest of these mounds, the Temple Mound, I gazed upon my surroundings and enjoyed the inherent quietness of this place. In the adjacent museum, there are many interesting artefacts and interactive exhibits which provide fascinating insights into ancient times.
Following the Traces of Elvis in Inverness
During my travels through Citrus County, I stopped for an afternoon snack in one of the nice cafes in beautiful downtown Inverness. I had a chance to see the old courthouse, built in 1912, that was made famous in a 1961 Elvis movie called Follow that Dream. Today, the courthouse is home to the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum, which features exhibits on the history of Citrus County. Of course, I also visited the famous courtroom on the second floor, where Elvis shot a pivotal scene; the friendly museum tour guide shared with me some interesting facts about the making of the movie.
Biking Through Nature
After taking a few pictures with the life-sized Elvis cardboard cut-outs inside the museum, I decided to check out the natural surroundings on a beautiful day. Since the region is known as a biker´s paradise, I certainly recommend exploring on bike. A ride along the Withlacoochee State Trail, the longest biking trail in all of Florida, is especially nice. The path follows an old train track and takes me along ever-changing natural landscapes. I bike past wide marshlands, through a cypress forest, along fields and lakes and past many farm houses. The nearby Withlacoochee Bay Trail is also a rewarding route, as it takes you along the Gulf of Mexico and offers many beautiful views of the ocean.