Spotting the entrance to Crystal River is fairly easy…just look for the huge stacks and cooling towers of the electrical power plant to the north.
The channel from the open waters of the Gulf into Crystal River is longer than most, but a quick glance at the chart shows that coming in from the south you have good, deep (well for this coast, anyway) water all the way up to flashing Red 28 day marker. There are spoil islands to the north all the way up to the land.
Just as you get inside the land there is a very pretty, white sand, palm studded island to your right. It’s extremely popular on the weekends with dozens of boats anchoring there. Many people pitch tents on the beach. While there’s a constant parade of boats on the river the island is protected by a “No Wake” zone. On the north side of the channel a small islet bisects a stream headed towards the power plant. It is safe to enter on either side of the islet at half tide and rising. There’s sufficient water inside to anchor on the muddy bottom but be careful exiting. Do it again on a rising tide as there are oyster bars on both sides.
If you need fuel you can go a couple of miles up the river. Twin Rivers Marina sells gasoline and diesel at their floating docks. The channel into the marina from the river is well marked, but be careful. They have a well stocked supply of junk food treats.
Pete’s Pier, with one of the most brilliant marketing strategies, is at King’s Bay, at the end of the navigable part of the river Pete’s sells both gas and diesel. It’s six miles up the river from the Gulf so you have to use up a lot of fuel getting there and back to the Gulf. They’re not a friendly lot, either. After buying $30 worth of gasoline they wouldn’t let me tie up so I could walk to a store and buy some groceries.