At ABC Action News, we know it's the combination of all the communities that make Tampa Bay great to live in. That's why we've started a new series of reporting highlighting good things happening around town, discovering cool gems you may not know about, and uncovering the big news events impacting those areas.
On Friday, the Good Morning Tampa Bay team focused on Crystal River.
Many people have explored Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River by water, but it's also worth seeing by land too. The refuge offers miles of trails to hike and bike.
The water in Crystal River is such an important piece of the community. It's crystal clear, full of manatees, and a major piece of tourism.
We caught up with Captain Don Chancey of Flats Chance Fishing Charters who said trout, redfish and snook are prevalent. But, for the community and Capt. Chancey, fishing is just a way of life.
"This is just a patient community that's always been the lifeblood of this community. And going up, that was my passion and I just love doing it," Chancey said.
A big staple in Crystal River is the scallop industry.
The limited season means people are out in the water searching for their dinner.
Scallops are found deep in the beds on Crystal River but they're only in season for a few more weeks. The season runs July 1 through September 24.
Crystal River Middle School is the pride of Crystal River, from academics to athletics.
The students there are modeling the way and winning awards in the process.
Recently, the school won its second consecutive Fred E. Rozelle Sportsmanship Award from the Florida High School Athletic Association.
Downtown Crystal River is finding a lot of success, thanks, in part, to tourism during COVID-19.
Just take a walk through downtown and you'll find shops, restaurants and people enjoying the new vibe of Downtown Crystal River.
A lot of tourists chose to come to visit the city during the pandemic because so much of it is outdoors.
"I think we were one of the few, if only one, that we didn't lose a business during COVID," Ken Frink, City Manager of Crystal River said. "We stayed open because of access to the water and outdoors. You know, when everybody was cooped up, and Disney World was closed."
Take Paradise Point Road in Crystal River basically until it dead-ends on the water and that's where you'll find Waterfront Social.
The views are incredible.
Tiffany Wiggins and her husband bought the restaurant in October. Opening a new restaurant during the pandemic wasn't easy but they found support in the community.
If you're looking for a nice restaurant to visit during your trip to Crystal River, consider stopping by Vintage on 5th.
Madison Carr is a server at Vintage on 5th but she also grew up here. Her dad is the owner.
"Well, Vintage on 5th has been here since 2008. And our menu is mostly continental with a Southern flair. One of the things that makes us stand out as a restaurant is our wine list. We have over 100, well-chosen wines, 25 wines by the glass," explained Carr.
A big initiative in Crystal River aims to keep the city's waterways clear and beautiful for all future generations to come.
The septic-to-sewer initiative is a statewide effort to help clear up Florida's springs. Crystal River approved a new agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for the plan in August.
Crystal River is known for its amazing waterways, but for years it wasn't living up to its name and reputation.
That is until people who live there took action.
People like Lisa Moore, the president of the all-volunteer non-profit organization Save Crystal River.
The Adventure Center at Plantation on Crystal River offers safe, all-ages packages that allow you and your family to swim up close and personal to manatees.