Crystal River Archeological State Park
Crystal River Archaeological State Park is a 61 acre site along the north bank of Crystal River that was used by native americans for burials and ceremonies. This area has reportedly been inhabited and used by humans dating back 2,500 years, and includes a number of burial mounds, shell middens, a plaza area, and an impressive temple mound that you can climb to get a view of the surrounding area. The Park is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

Six shell mounds can be found at the site - each with specific cultural significance to native Americans that came here from great distances in times past. It is estimated that as many as 7,500 people may have visited each year in pre-Columbian times to bury their dead and conduct trade. There are also stone monuments that contain carvings. A network of mostly shaded paved paths lead throughout the Park, connecting the mounds, other areas of interest, and picnic areas.

Probably the most impressive feature is temple mount "A" - a massive flat-topped shell mound that was once probably used as a residence for a high-ranking tribal member. Today, you can climb the "Stairway to Heaven" - wooden stairs leading to the top of the mound, where you can catch a panoramic view of Crystal River and the surrounding area.

Located near the parking area is a museum and interpretive exhibit. The interpretive exhibits document the archaeological excavations that took place at the site beginning in 1903. The museum allows you to explore the ancient history of the site, including comparisons of what was happening in other parts of the world in similar time periods. A variety of artifacts uncovered in the Park are on display.

In addition ot its obvious historical significance, Crystal River Archaeological State Park is also a nice spot for a relaxing stroll, a picnic, or wildlife observation. Fishing from the shore is permitted. It is also a popular site for wedding ceremonies. To get a different view and more historical perspective, narrated heritage-eco boat tours are available at the nearby Crystal River Preserve State Park.

Crystal River Archaeological State Park also includes a disconnected downstream parcel known as "Roberts Island" that occupies the peninsula formed by the bifurcation of Crystal River and Salt River. That site contains additional cultural and historic resources, but is generally not available for public access.
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