Crystal River is a city in Citrus County, Florida, United States. The population was 3,108 in the 2010 census. (3,485 in 2000). According to the U.S Census estimates of 2012, the city had a population of 3,055. 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 Kings Bay, which is spring-fed and so keeps a constant 72 °F (22 °C) 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 Wakulla Springs in Wakulla County near Tallahassee. Kings Bay can be 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 which did not succeed, and the city has since grown by annexation.
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