View of Crystal River from the top of the temple mound in Crystal River Archaeological State Park
The Crystal River is a very short river in Citrus County, Florida flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. It is just seven miles (eleven kilometers) long, and has a drainage basin of five square miles (thirteen square kilometers), joining Kings Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. The river's significance is in the thirty natural springs that add an average of 300 milliongallons (1,135 million liters) of warm water to the river every day. These springs include Three Sisters Springs.
The warm water in the river attracts large numbers of manatees, and Kings Bay, at the head of the river and the location of 28 of the springs, harbors approximately 350 manatees during the winter. Some biologists consider Crystal River to be the most important refuge for manatees in the United States.