Kings Bay at Sunset

The sun setting on King's Bay in Beautiful Crystal River, Florida

Crystal River’s allure was yet again showcased on the world stage.

Lynn Coulter, a writer with Travel Channel, recently dubbed Crystal River as one of the 50 most charming small towns in the U.S., making it her top choice in Florida.

“Crystal River draws visitors who enjoy boating, diving, fishing and eco-touring,” Coulter wrote. “It’s also the only place in the United States where people are allowed to swim with manatees when accompanied by trained guides. Visitors may also see these beloved ‘sea cows’ when they kayak or paddleboard or walk the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk in Crystal River.”

To see the Travel Channel’s story, visit Ranked alphabetically by its host state, Crystal River is No. 9 on Coulter’s photo/story gallery.

“We’re so fortunate that people from all over the world come to visit our community,” Crystal River Mayor Joe Meek said. “That particular article and this recognition I think highlights what a special place we have here, what a unique community that we live in and showcases what a great city that Crystal River is.”

Josh Wooten, president and CEO of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, said that type of worldwide marketing is priceless.

“The Travel Channel is an internationally respected voice on tourism,” he said.

Crystal River and its resident manatees have been featured by numerous travel and documentary outlets, including “60 Minutes,” National Geographic and the German Lufthansa Airline magazine.

Meek and Wooten said the city’s ongoing downtown projects, like the Riverwalk, town square, park improvements and pathways, will continue to entice travelers from around the globe.

“There are a lot of enticing things happening in the city,” Meek said. “We are improving our community but also recognize that we live in such a wonderful place.”

Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or

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