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For a truly authentic Floridian experience, Crystal Isles RV Resort has it all. From nature, to manatees, to rivers, and beautiful canopy covered tree lines, a stay at Crystal Isles RV Resort was just what we needed to disconnect from the rest of the world and reconnect as a family in Florida’s Nature Coast.
Encore RV Resorts provided our complimentary stay. However, all opinions are my own.
Crystal Isles RV Resort campground is located right on one of the canals that lead out to the Crystal River. Crystal Isles is part of Encore RV Resorts, a collection of over 200 RV Resorts and campgrounds across 28 states in the US. Additionally, Thousand Trails members can reserve a spot at Crystal Isles RV Resort too.
Many campsites are located right on the river along with personal docks, although most of these seemed to belong to seasonal campers. If you’re not familiar with seasonal campers, they book a site for an extended period of time. In the northern states, it may be from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Here in Florida, it’s likely seasonals will book the winter months. In fact, we met a few snowbirds and even some year-long residents during our 4-night stay.
Side note, I happened to have a slight kitchen malfunction when a knife slipped and I cut my thumb. It was after office hours and my husband hadn’t returned yet from work. We went to the main office,only to find it closed, when a nice older lady was there offered to take care of me. Another mistake on my part, I forgot my usual first aid kit.
This sweet lady took me on her golf cart, back to her 5th wheel camper. She and proceeded to tell me about how long they lived there, 19 years, while she bandaged me up. She told me everyone called her mama.
This is the beauty of camping. It is really a community that you can’t get by staying in a hotel or a home rental. You meet interesting people who have a shared love for the outdoors and traveling.
- Swimming Pool
- Bike Trails
- Boat Launch and Boat Rental
We found the campground to be a perfect size and full of tall, mature trees. The clubhouse had daily activities. As we were there over Easter Weekend, we saw notes for an Easter Egg Hunt and community potluck. These are open to everyone, regardless if you’re a seasonal or not.
While Encore RV Resorts and Crystal Isles RV Resort is made for RVs and campers, that didn’t mean we needed an RV to stay there. We stayed in one of 11 on-site cabins or cottages. Despite the small appearance of a Tiny House from the outside, we were extremely comfortable on the inside.
Our 2-bedroom, 6 person cabin included a loft. Wally and I took the front bedroom, which seemed to have just a tad more space than the back bedroom where Gloria slept. Noah slept in the loft above the front bedroom.
The cabin also had a living room area with a loveseat and chair, as well as table seating for 4. As we didn’t spend much time inside, this wasn’t crowded. However, if you had a larger family, this area might get congested at meal time.
The cabin decor is a simple, yet modern design. I particularly liked the Edison style lighting.
The kitchen was well stocked with plenty of pots and pans, dishware, a coffee maker, filters, and mixing bowls. We had a full-size microwave, gas oven, and a full-size refrigerator.
Outside, we had a nice sized deck with table and seating for six. A grill is provided but did not look as if it had been used in quite some time. We were told we could get a full gas tank for the grill, however as the burners and grate were rusted, we did not use it. Fortunately, I have a small portable grill that we brought with us.
Crystal River and the Area
The Crystal River is part of Florida’s Nature Coast, and it’s easy to see why. Crystal River is known for its natural manatee sanctuary. Each year, as the temperatures cool, the manatees travel along the river to the various springs, where the temperature remains the same year-round. It’s best to seem them from December to April. While we were there in late April, we did catch glimpses of a few.
In addition to the manatees, the Crystal River area has the river, of course, as well as springs, beaches, fishing, scalloping, bike trails, and plenty of nature walks. In addition to Crystal River, Homosassa Springs is nearby, which offers a great nature park.
The Crystal River Florida Manatees are the main attraction. While you are likely to see them at Three Sisters Springs and the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in the winter, I’d recommend booking one of these tours below. We watched many of them from the boardwalk and the experience is truly one of a kind.
- Crystal River Manatee Swim
- Crystal River Manatee Snorkel
- Kings Bay Scenic Cruise
- Nature Coast Kayak
- Pontoon Boat Rental
All of those links are through Viator.
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