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Chassahowitzka River Kayaking Springs

chassahowitzka river kayaking and springs

Exploring Old Florida, Chassahowitzka River

backcountry springs homosassa Florida

Exploring Old Florida

In a recent episode of Landed Fishing, Captain Shaw and his family adventure to picturesque Homosassa, Florida. Our journey north in the RV brings us to the heart of Old Florida,the Chassohowitzka River. Here we set out to explore Florida backcountry springs, the area’s natural beauty and the laid-back lifestyle that defines this hidden gem of the Gulf Coast.

the monkey bar homosassa florida

Local Homosassa Hot Spots

Before taking to the waters, we dive into the local culture and cuisine, visiting iconic spots like MacRae’s, The Monkey Bar, Crumps and the Old Florida Cracker. Each location offers a unique taste of Homosassa’s rich history and amazing hot spots, from fresh seafood to classic Floridian fare.

homosassa river locations

In a move that adds a touch of leisure and flexibility to their adventure, a golf cart rental from Sass Style Rentals. Easy exploration of the local area but also adds a fun and leisurely pace to our stay, allowing us to soak in the sights and sounds of Homosassa in true Floridian style.

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monkey island homosassa river florida
Florida Fishing company

Kayaking Chassahowitzka River

The shallow Chassahowitzka River, flowing through five thousand acres of Wildlife Preserve is a paddler’s paradise, offering multiple springs, unique features and true Florida flora and fauna. Watercraft rentals as well as a boat dock for public launching are available at the Chassahowitzka River Campground

chassohowitzka river kayak

Watch Video: Chassahowitzka River

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The Chassahowitzka River

Nestled in the heart of Florida’s Nature Coast, the Chassahowitzka River, affectionately known as “The Chaz,” offers a kayaking experience that feels like a journey back in time to Old Florida. With its crystal-clear springs, dense mangrove forests, and abundant wildlife, this river serves as a gateway to the untouched natural beauty that Florida is renowned for.

chassohowitzka river crystal clear springs 1

Historical Significance:
Homosassa Springs, a focal point for human and wildlife activity for millennia, remains largely unchanged since a 1924 declaration dubbed it the world’s most beautiful river and springs.

The springs served as a leisure spot for early 20th-century train passengers​.

The Homosassa Springs area has been attracting people for thousands of years, from Florida’s earliest inhabitants to tourists from around the world today.

Home to Nearly 30 Springs: The Homosassa main spring is the largest within the Homosassa Springs Group, which consists of nearly 30 springs.

This group discharges an impressive 65 million gallons of water daily. These springs form the head of the Homosassa River, which flows for 8 miles before reaching the Gulf of Mexico

Early in the 1900s, Homosassa Springs was a popular train stop where passengers could picnic and swim in the springs while waiting for trains loaded with cedar, crabs, fish, and spring water​

Homosassa Florida Clear Water Springs

The highlight of this episode is undoubtedly the Chassahowitzka River and it’s beautiful crystal-clear springs. With our kayaks and paddleboard procured for the adventure, we set out to explore the local waters and hidden springs that make this river a jewel of the Nature Coast.

The Chassahowitzka, or “The Chaz” as it’s affectionately known, offers kayaks and paddlers an incredible experience in one of Florida’s most pristine aquatic environments.

the crack chassahowitzka river kayaking 1
backcountry springs homosassa Florida

As we explore the river’s meandering paths, surrounded by lush greenery and the calming sounds of nature, the natural springs they explore serves as a reminder of the untouched wilderness that still thrives in parts of Florida.

Name of SpringEstimated Time to Get There
Seven Sisters SpringApproximately 5 minutes by kayak
The CrackVaries, follow Crab Spring then Blue Spring for guidance
Chassahowitzka Main SpringApproximately 350 feet from the boat ramp
Crab Creek SpringsShort distance downstream from the boat ramp
Ruth SpringDownstream, past Potter Creek
Blue SpringAbout 1/2 mile downstream from Crab Creek
Baird CreekNear Blue Spring, downriver
No-Name SpringUpstream from the campground, past residential canals
Buford SpringLocated inside the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area, requires entrance through the WMA

Notable Homosassa Locations

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park: A sanctuary for native wildlife, including manatees, birds, and other animals.

Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins: Historic site from the Civil War era, offering insight into the region’s past.

Chassahowitzka River: Popular for kayaking, fishing, and nature tours.

Crystal River: Known for snorkeling and diving, especially for interactions with manatees.

Annual Scallop Season: Attracts divers and snorkelers to the area’s clear waters for scallop harvesting.

River Safari’s Manatee Tour – Take a guided tour to see manatees up close in their natural habitat along the Homosassa River.

Old Homosassa Market – Explore this local market offering fresh produce, handmade crafts, and unique gifts.

MacRae’s of Homosassa – A waterfront restaurant serving seafood and American cuisine, offering picturesque views of the Homosassa River.

Homosassa Civic Club – Check out community events and activities hosted at the Homosassa Civic Club, which is within walking distance.

The Freezer Tiki Bar – A laid-back waterfront bar offering drinks, live music, and a relaxed atmosphere.

Monkey Island – Take a short walk to Monkey Island and observe the monkeys living in their natural habitat.

Homosassa River RV Resort – If you’re interested in RV camping or just want to explore the area, this resort is within walking distance and offers various amenities.

Florida’s Scalloping Season


The annual Florida scallop season in Homosassa, part of the broader Levy, Citrus, and Hernando counties region, spans from July 1 through September 24. During this time, enthusiasts can collect up to 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell per person or 1 pint of bay scallop meat, with a maximum of 10 gallons per boat or 1/2 gallon of scallop meat​

homosassa crystal river scallopi

A Journey Through Old Florida

This episode of Landed Fishing offers more than just a glimpse into the recreational opportunities in Homosassa; it’s a deep dive into the heart of Old Florida. From the warm hospitality of local establishments to the natural beauty of the Chassahowitzka River, and Florida’s Nature Coast.

Want to Visit Homosassa?

For those inspired to explore Homosassa and its surroundings, this episode serves as both a guide and an invitation to discover the Gulf Coast, promising adventures and memories that will last a lifetime.

chassohowitzka river kayaking

Launching Your Adventure

Your journey can start at the Chassahowitzka River Campground, where kayaks can be rented or launched. This spot, although very popular especially on sunny weekends, offers not just access to the river but also the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, possibly spotting playful dolphins, graceful manatees, and a myriad of bird species along the way​.

natural springs chassahowitzka river homosassa florida

Highlights Along The Chaz

Seven Sisters Spring: Just a short paddle from the Chassahowitzka Campground, this spring is famous for its cluster of underwater caves, connected by tunnels that daring snorkelers can explore in a single breath​ (impulse4adventure)​.

The Crack: A more secluded natural spring, offering a serene spot to cool off after navigating through a narrower and darker path filled with lush vegetation and potential wildlife sightings, including alligators. The journey to The Crack, culminating in its crystal-clear waters and iconic rope swing, is an adventure in itself.

Homosassa Wildlife Encounters

The Chassahowitzka River is a hotspot for wildlife enthusiasts. From the gentle manatees that frequent its waters to the elusive dolphins and otters, and even the birds of prey soaring above, the river is a haven for diverse species, providing unforgettable encounters for those who navigate its waters​.

exploring chassohowitzka river crystal clear springs

Conservation and “No-Trace” Principles

As a visitor, respect this pristine natural environment. The popularity of The Chaz means that every kayaker and adventurer plays a role in preserving its beauty and health for future generations. Adhering to no-trace principles and avoiding disrupting the wildlife are small but significant ways to contribute to the conservation efforts​.

floridas nature coast

Complementing Your Visit

While the kayaking experience alone is worth the trip, the surrounding area offers more to explore. From the historic Chassahowitzka Hotel to local dining favorites and nearby attractions like Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park and Crystal River Archaeological State Park, the region is rich with activities that can enhance your next adventure on The Chaz​​.

Kayaking the Chassahowitzka River is not just an outdoor activity; it’s an immersion into the very essence of Florida’s natural splendor.

the crack chassahowitzka river kayaking

The Crack – Chassahowitzka

The Crack” is a secluded sulfur spring which can only be accessed by paddle craft and is located on the Chassahowitzka River in the southern region of Citrus County.

Whether you’re paddling through the Seven Sisters Spring, exploring the beauty of The Crack, or simply enjoying the wildlife, The Chaz is a Florida destination that promises an adventure filled with peace, beauty, and the unforgettable charm of Old Florida.

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Homosassa Florida | Chassohowitzka River Springs
Homosassa Florida | Chassohowitzka River Springs