We became camper owners several years ago and have really enjoyed exploring this part of Florida. We usually spend about 5 or 6 weekends on the river “hunting” Florida bay scallops. It’s fairly easy if you get up early and follow the parade of boats through the river and out to the ocean. Be careful because you can easily lose an engine or prop if you don’t pay attention to the markers. Lost of rocks on the river! We have several coordinates saved and return to those year after year. Although, they’re a little light this year, (**UPDATE: we’ve heard the scallops are plentiful in 4-5’ of water this year, 2020**) we typically find enough for dinner and appetizers the next day (I prefer eating them fresh vs frozen, so a few dozen gallons is all we need) After a morning of scalloping, we drop off the scallops to be cleaned (much easier than cleaning yourself and supports the locals) and head to the spring. **We use the scallopers at McCrae’s. I elect to stay on the boat, while the hubby and kids embrace the 72 degree water. The crowds are insane mid summer. The last few summers, we decided to start our time on the river in mid July, so most of the initial start-of-season crowds (and crazies) are gone. There are a few other things to do in Homosassa (Homosassa State Park, Weeki Wachee, Three Sisters Springs, Hospital Hole) It’s truly a relaxing adventure and should be planned as such. Be sure to check out Monkey Island after you put the boat in. Located just east of McCrae’s. It’s a tiny island where monkeys live! The story behind it is pretty neat!
“It’s truly a relaxing adventure and should be planned as such.”
Where to launch the boat: McCrae’s (prepare for long lines unless you put in super early or late), Trade Winds (requires dock space rental), Monkey Bar & Restaurant ($10 boat launch and parking if available)
What to eat: Michael Anthony’s (fantastic Italian & also BYOW!) They also deliver pizza to your campsite. The Freezer (long waits and no table service, but excellent shrimp & salmon dip), Monkey Bar & Restaurant (bar food), McCrae’s (bar food & burgers), Vintage on 5th (it’s fancy and my favorite, of course! reservation recommended), Crackers in Crystal River (decent if you like a nice view, but the food is so-so), The Crab Shack in Crystal River (excellent crab of course) Shelly’s Seafood Market (the best seafood dip you’ll ever have) located along the River, just past McCrae’s. You can pull your boat right up to her small house on your way out to scallop or way back in to the spring. The Plantation Inn in Crystal River (decent menu, service is so-so, must make a reservation) **Crumps is new, but sadly burnt down early this summer. Should be opening again soon, although we didn’t have the chance to try it this time. UPDATE: Crumps is now open and we are looking forward to trying it out this year!
Where to stay: Homosassa RV Resort (you can rent campers here too, if you don’t have your own). They have a pool, cook shed and a great fishing pond. They changed management last year and made several improvements. A lot of other RV resorts are under water in the summer, but this one has done a better job at trying to fix that problem. Use AirBnB for house rentals, some hotels, book a year in advance if traveling during scallop season!!