Crystal River is a city in Citrus County, Florida, United States. The population was 3,485 in the 2000 census. (4,044 in 1990). According to the U.S Census estimates of 2005, the city had a population of 3,539. The city was incorporated in 1903 and is the self professed "Home of the Manatee". Crystal River Preserve State Park is located nearby, and Crystal River Archaeological State Park is located in the city's northwest side. Crystal River is at the heart of the Nature Coast of Florida. The City is situated around the magnificent Kings Bay, which is spring-fed and so keeps a constant 72-degrees Fahrenheit temperature year round.
A cluster of 50 springs designated as a first-magnitude system feeds Kings Bay. A first-magnitude system discharges 100 cubic feet or more of water per second, which equals about 64 million gallons of water per day. Because of this discharge amount, the Crystal River Springs group is the second largest springs group in Florida, the first being Spring Creek Springs in Wakulla County near Tallahassee. Kings Bay is home to over 400 manatees during the winter when the water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico cools, and is the only place in the United States where people can legally interact with them in their natural conditions without that interaction being viewed as harassment by law enforcement agencies.
Tourism based on watching and swimming with manatee is the fastest growing contribution to the local economy. In 2005 there was a movement to dissolve the city however this did not succeed and the City has since grown by annexure. As of 2007 the city police department was replaced by the Citrus County Sheriff's Office. Crystal River is home to a mixed coal and nuclear power plant, the Crystal River 3 Nuclear Power Plant which is a major contributor to local real estate taxes.