DIY Chassahowitzka River


Added by Allison Campos Astorga

"Make-up your own adventure" and kayak/ canoe a huge crystal clear river with underwater caves, coves, and passageways. Very relaxing views and atmosphere.

GPS: 28.7150° N, 82.5771° W

Our adventure to the Chassahowitzka River started as a search for clear spring waters that would have made for great pictures. What we ended up with was a whole different kind of trip. It turned into a "choose your adventure", with different options which made us learn more.

We traveled from Palm Harbor towards Homosassa, which is about an hour and twenty minutes. This highway (Florida State Road 589/ aka Sun Coast Parkway) has a couple tolls, but overall a very peaceful and pretty drive.

When you follow the directions to get to the Chassahowitzka River Campground, you pass by a very sketchy facility that says “Chassahowitzka River Lodge” and has hand drawn signs for canoe and kayak rentals and a small restaurant. This place is less than a mile from the real Campground, and in my rush to get to paddling and exploring, I assumed we had arrived at our destination.

(To get to the real Campground all you have to do is continue down the same W Miss Maggie Dr. for a few more minutes. The campground has a rental place, with better equipment but is also more expensive on rentals.)

We ended up going to the sketchy rental place and actually saved $20 on our canoe rental. My advice is to feel the places you want to explore out and understand that you are traveling to parts of the country that other people simply do not. That is all part of the experience and the learning process of going out and having your “adventure”

This is where the DIY adventure began.

At this place you have to do everything yourself, which adds to the freedom part of exploring. We un-racked the canoe and got out to the water, it was now time to figure out where on earth we actually were and where we wanted to go. The boat ramp led downstream or up stream, we figured we would head one way and we could always turn back around if we wanted to. Let’s face it, we had a canoe, we had sunshine, we had a beautiful body of clear water, and we had our sense of “getting after it”.

We paddled and saw amazing views of the river floor full of huge fish and underwater caves. It all connects through pretty smoothly and we passed the actual Chassahowitzka Campground’s boat rental area. It is very hard to get lost, even without a good map . 

There are hundreds of little streams and coves that take you into even more secluded and more beautiful areas of the river. It is up to you if you want to get even better views, although some require work through the passageways. 

We paddled and found a little cove with a fallen tree lying in the beautiful clear water. This is where we ended up docking for a little while to eat some snacks, enjoy the shade, and take some really cool pictures. The water was nice and cold and balanced the heat of the day perfectly. It gave us a secluded spot to relax in nature. You can also bring hammocks and set them up over the water while you take in the views.

The water is so crystal clear here that while floating you see many caves and holes at the bottom. It's easy to get out, swim, and snorkel if you can handle the chilly water. Even dive if you want.  

We wrapped up our day and headed back to the "outdated joint" to return our canoe. We finished our business there and started our ride home, another successful adventure in the books.

Side note: If you and your adventure partner haven’t been on a canoe or tandem kayak before, I highly recommend starting off the trip with a short conversation of who has what responsibilities while in the boat. It will save you time, energy, and frustration.

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Swimming Hole



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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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