Florida is synonymous with palm trees but for some people, Spanish moss-draped live oaks are a favorite state tree. If you're looking for an enchanting place in Florida that'll make you feel like you're in a fairytale, Crystal River Archeological State Park will give you a glimpse of a not-so-far hobbit oasis.
This 61-acre Native American site has burial mounds, temple mounds, a plaza area and a substantial midden. It is one of the few places where you will encounter a point lookout where you can catch the sunset and a panorama of Crystal River.
During the nighttime, the park offers one of the best stargazing points. Also, the park is situated on the edge of a coastal marsh which offers bird-watchers the chance to witness many migrating birds.
But visitors frequent this park to climb the temple mound. The 51-steps of the mound reaches one of the best lookout points in Florida.
This place has one of the best vistas where you can encounter water birds, small mammals, turtles and other animals. At the top of the mound, there is a bench where you can relax after the strenuous climbing and enjoy the cool breeze.
According to Florida State Parks, the mound was reduced to fill the marshy area on the east. Originally, the temple mound measured 30 feet high, 182 feet long and 100 feet wide at the base, with an 80-foot-long ramp.
It is still pretty high up and the giant oak trees provide a nice shade. The park also has a museum with mid-century modern architecture featuring the history of the site. During your exploration, you can also encounter a little wooden door on a tree that looks like it leads to Alice's Wonderland.
Crystal River Archeological State Park is open daily from 8 a.m. until sundown.
Crystal River Archeological State Park
Address: 3400 N. Museum Point Crystal River FL 34428
When: 8 a.m. until sundown.
Price: $3 per vehicle. Correct change is required.
Why you need to go: This state park has one of the best lookout points in the State of Florida and is surrounded by beautiful oak trees.