Fort Island Beach near Crystal River is definitely a hidden gem of a gulf beach. We had never heard of it until we were at King’s Bay Park on New Years Day and a local man told us about it and it has quickly became a favorite place to go over the past several months. The photos in the gallery below have been taken at different times over the past several months. I didn’t even realize until I was going through photos just how long we have been coming here.
The beach also has a trail with a pier nearby as well as a boat access for the river. We love the wood walkway and hanging out on the pier and seeing what sorts of fish are caught. There are even a couple of gazebos on the way to the pier.
The beach itself has restrooms with multiple stalls as well as outside showers to take the sand off. There are several covered picnic tables along the beach that are first come first serve. If you have children and forgot a life jacket, there is even a courtesy life jacket “borrowing” station. It is very family friendly and everyone is always very respectful of everyone else there.
Sometimes, if you are lucky, there is also a food truck there. We have not got the chance to try it out, because it is always just leaving when we get there or just getting there when we leave. Personally, I think that a food truck out there is a genius idea. At one point we really were serious about having a food truck and it is definitely a good opportunity out there if you know anyone!
Personally, I love the drive out there. It isn’t very far outside of Crystal River down a winding road with lots of beautiful scenery. There are a couple of different nature trails on the way to the beach as well as Fort Island Beach Park. You can even stop on your way home and get some seafood from Shrimp Landing Seafood! It is right after the Environmental Science Academy if you are coming from the beach.
It really is a great place if you are ever in the area and want to go to a beach that isn’t covered in tourists and tourism. I’m not saying there won’t be a lot of people there, but most of them are locals and even when it is packed you just can’t beat the vibe!