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Homosassa

Homosassa, Florida is a small fishing community in Citrus County. The population was 2,578 in the 2010 census. Old Homosassa is the historic area of Homosassa on both sides of the Homosassa River. There are several resorts, waterfront restaurants, fishing charters, scalloping charters, and two State Parks: the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park and the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins in Old Homosassa. There is a boat ramp to access Homosassa River at the end of West Yulee Drive, a boat parking area, and a Veterans Memorial in the Old Homosassa area. Florida Senator David W. Yulee lived in Homosassa until the Civil War.

Nestled in heavy forest between US 19 and the Gulf of Mexico is a magical area of Citrus County: Old Homosassa.

Watered by several spring fed rivers, Citrus County residents enjoy the area’s great natural beauty, small town charm and myriad of outdoor activities.

Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins boiling vats and smokestack at the Yulee Sugar Mill State Park in Homosassa by Barrett Hardy.

Homosassa is the home of the Yulee Sugar Mill State Park, Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, Monkey Island, and Old Homosassa. A delightful fishing village, Homosassa has been considered a sports lover’s paradise sine the early 1900s.

It was a destination for wealthy and prominent Americans such as Grover Cleveland, Thomas Edison, John Jacob Astor and Winslow Homer.

General resorts, B & Bs and RV parks make Old Homosassa a fun and easy weekend getaway for NatureCoasters™.

Not only are the land and sea beautiful and bountiful, but the people are also friendly and accomodating. There is great food, from pressed Cubans to fresh locally caught seafood, all-you-can-eat crab and Cajun delights at reasonable prices.

Several talented artists reside here, creating and selling their wares in quaint “cracker” homes converted to gift shops,  studios and resort lobbies.

Alicia Lowe is a local artist who crafts nature-based items for sale in Old Homosassa. Image by Diane Bedard

Potters, glass artists, copper sculptors, painters, and carvers seem to be drawn to this natural area with its abundance of native flora and fauna.

From the last part of June to the last partof September each year, you can go “scalloping” with a charter and hunt for these tasty morsels with a snorkel mask and a bag for your bounty.

The healthy seagrass beds of this area provide a home to Bay Scallops, a simple, delectable, aquatic bivalve. (See our feature article on Scalloping here!)

Jump in and get Scalloping NatureCoasters! You’re gonna LOVE it! Image courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife.

Fishing is plentiful on the Homosassa River, as are manatee sightings, kayaks,  pontoons, and airboat rides.

captain william toney
Captain William Toney is a fourth-generation Homosassa fishing guide. He provides our weekly Homosassa Inshore Fishing Report. Image courtesy of Captain William Toney.

Several big fishing tournaments are held in Homosassa throughout the year!

There is often live music on the weekends at several Old Homsassa locations, including MacRae’s Shed, the Florida Cracker Monkey Bar, and Crump’s Landing.

Sarasota Slim Band playing at The Shed on the Homosassa River.
Sarasota Slim Band playing at The Shed on the Homosassa River. Image by Diane Bedard

Oh, and did I forget to mention the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park?

For a small admission ($13) you will be treated to a boat ride down the river (canceled during COVID-19 precautions – check with the Park for current information), see manatees and a vortex of thousands of native Florida fish, bobcats, panthers, alligators, snakes, river otters and birds, birds, birds – including American Bald Eagles.

The whole community seems to volunteer at the Wildlfie Park, which adds to the warm feeling I get every time I visit. You will too.

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Homosassa’s community is a joy to visit, so plan to take a little trip off the beaten path of US 19 and enjoy this thriving enclave today.