Trip Planner: USA / Florida / Crystal River / Fort Island Gulf Beach
Fort Island Gulf Beach is located in Crystal River. Make Fort Island Gulf Beach a centerpiece of your Crystal River vacation itinerary, and find what else is worth visiting using our Crystal River day trip planning app.
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Fort Island Gulf Beach reviews
Trauma. I went to this beach for Mother’s Day in 2019. My daughter had to use the women’s bathroom and decided to hold it until we found a store nearby with a bathroom. The entire walls and floor...
Trauma. I went to this beach for Mother’s Day in 2019. My daughter had to use the women’s bathroom and decided to hold it until we found a store nearby with a bathroom. The entire walls and floor... more »
Felt like a local hangout. We loved it and they had clean bathrooms with flushing toilets. There are several areas that have covered picnic tables so you're out of the sun. There's a big pier you..... more
Felt like a local hangout. We loved it and they had clean bathrooms with flushing toilets. There are several areas that have covered picnic tables so you're out of the sun. There's a big pier you..... more »
Nice beach with bathrooms and easy parking. You can walk from the beach swimming area to the fishing pier. There is also a short boardwalk - nature hike. Parking could be an issue at busier times.
Nice beach with bathrooms and easy parking. You can walk from the beach swimming area to the fishing pier. There is also a short boardwalk - nature hike. Parking could be an issue at busier times. more »
Pleasantly surprised. Didn't know what to expect. I like clear water and palm trees which they had some palm trees and the water wasn't bad. They have restrooms, mobile snack shop, rinse station, dock, and plenty of parking and space to lay out. There are also little hidden areas where you can relax on the beach next to the water. They have squirrels that hang out in the picnic areas who will eat right from your hand. A beautiful short walk to the fishing dock. There were hula dancers, flame throwers and even a large drum circle. Very lively the day I was there which was on a Saturday in February. Weather was nice but it got a little chilly near the water around 6 pm. But it is winter time. Had somewhat of a lake feel but I definitely would go back if I am in Citrus County again.
I highly recommend stopping by here in May if you can. In addition to the excellent sunsets, you can also see hundreds of thousands of tiny little crabs that make their way into the water from the beach. At sundown, thousands upon thousands of tiny little crabs will come out of their little sand homes and go into the water for feeding, etc. You also get a nice view of the power plant in the distance.
Fort Island Beach is such a cool beach - way different than many others you find in Florida! You take a long road through the marshland from Crystal River and start to wonder if there is even a beach at the end, but once you arrive, you’re awarded with a secluded beach far away from any others, with pretty white sand and fishing access! Fort Island Beach is near the nuclear power plant, and it’s a super interesting view looking to the north and seeing the billowing smoke from the towers. It’s interesting enough to visit just to see the power plant! Not only are there nice views of the power plant, ocean and other surrounding areas, there is extremely warm water and the beach itself is quite clean. I’ve never found it too crowded (though keep in mind I’ve never visited in the peak of summer - I visited in winter and spring at various times, and I would imagine summer could be crowded like every beach in the state), and there is a beautiful walkway through the forest right near the sand. There is plenty of parking for cars, as well as for trucks with boat trailers. I would imagine fishing is great here as well considering every time I’ve visited I’ve seen many people fishing off the pier nearby. There are toilets, showers to clean off after being in the water and sand, picnic tables (with roofs so you don’t get sunburnt), and more. As with most of the west coast of Florida, the ocean is quite calm here as well, so it’s perfect for bringing smaller children to play in the water! Definitely worth visiting if you’re wanting a truly unique setting for your fun beach activities!
Adorable free community beach. It's public so lots of the public go there. Not great if you're looking for a private spot. There's a boat launch there too. Restrooms and showers.
Friends and family members who do not share my joy in traveling sometimes ask whether my interest is in the destination or the journey there. Yes! Yes to both! Traveling keeps us young, vibrant, interesting and interested in our world. Equally important as a destination and the getting to that place are the companions with whom one chooses to share a new experience. Take, for example, Fort Island Gulf Beach, located on Florida’s Nature Coast in Crystal River. It is well off the beaten path, yet is popular among locals for swimming, picnicking, boating and fishing, among other activities, such as a monthly drum circle. In town, from Highway 19 at Grannie’s restaurant, turn on to West Fort Island Trail and head west. You’ll pass some offices, commercial space, condos, a resort and more, then the landscape changes. You’ll quickly begin to see true, lush Florida nature and its thriving wildlife as the road passes through miles of shallow grassy flats. An almost surreal moment will occur when you glance to the north and suddenly see the Crystal River Coal and Nuclear Power Plant. This 1,478.4-megawatt coal-fired power station operated by Duke Energy Florida dominates the horizon across the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. No worries, the nuclear power plant is closed and the facility is being decommissioned and is transitioning to a SAFSTOR condition. The de-fuelled plant will be monitored for about the next 50 years before complete decontamination and dismantling of the site. Nuclear licensing then no longer will be required. At the end of West Fort Island Trail, you’ll find Fort Island Gulf Beach. The curved, 1,000-foot beach has calm, shallow waters and a roped-off swimming area. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Families with small children, those who cannot swim and even those who are afraid of natural waters can take assurance in being able to safely dip their toes or more in the warm waters of the Gulf. Parking is free and ample at Fort Island Gulf Beach, and there are covered pavilions, picnic tables and restrooms. I’ve heard that during the summer, there are food vendors, but as my friends and I were there during the pandemic, we did not see any - nor did we expect to. I recommend that you bring water and other beverages, a picnic lunch, towels (to sit on, use to dry off and to clean up before getting in your car to leave) and maybe some beach toys and floats. After a full day of floating in Crystal River’s famous springs and swimming with the manatees, my little group did something completely different while we enjoyed the beach, water and a shady pavilion here. We made tie dye on the beach! Three white tee shirts and visors each, a few bottles of dye and a handful of rubber bands (plus ample bags to haul out the very wet finished pieces), and voila! Were we ever groovy with peace, love and tie dye! Fort Island Gulf Beach also has a boat ramp, dock accessibility and a fishing pier. The pier isn’t just for fishing - it’s a great place to see wildlife, including dolphins. You can stroll along a nice boardwalk where you can see more native vegetation and wildlife. I hope you check out this sweet little beach. It has its own personality, and is untouched by the tourist trade, beach condos, neon lights, traffic, souvenir shops and many of the modern things that are often best viewed from the rear-view mirror of your car as you seek to be close to the warm sands of a beach, the calls of birds, the sight of dolphins and the gentle lapping of waves.
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