My two teenage sons and I are having fun discovering the adventures in our own backyard. About an hour from our home is Chassahowitzka River Campground, located in Homosassa, Florida near the Gulf of Mexico. At the Campground you can rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and john boats. Once you have picked out your rental, is is easy to launch right into the clear waters of Chassahowitzka River. Andy, Tom, and I rented a Mad River Canoe since it had seating for all three of us. We loaded up our cooler, goggles, sunscreen, and GoPro and were on our way!
The Chassahowitzka River Caves
Our first stop was up a tributary creek to the Seven Sisters Springs. The Seven Sisters Springs is very close to the campground launch so it only took us a few minutes to get there. After ducking under a log across the creek, we steered our canoe in the opening of the crystal clear waters. The crisp 72 degree water has several small natural caves that connect underground. Lots of people tie their canoes up here and swim in the shallow water and explore the short cave openings. There was one cave that had a large opening that connected underground to a smaller opening about 20 feet away. Both Andy and I chose to explore the cold waters of this cave.
Diving into the cool waters will take your breath away! The cave is not very long, but diving down into the opening, and navigating your way through to the other side makes it seem longer! Both of us were nervous our first time swimming through, but after a few trips we were able to get some really nice shots with the camera!
Watch our underwater video:
Paddling & Exploring More of the River
After leaving the Seven Sisters Spring, we paddled downstream and explored the Crab Creek tributary. We saw lots of birds along the edge of the water, chasing after the plentiful fish. It was a nice side trip off of the main river.
We returned to Seven Sisters Springs to eat our lunch and watch some of the other people diving through the caves. It was a nice afternoon, and after lunch, we were ready to return to the campground and turn in our canoe. As we headed back, we noticed a lot of canoes gathered together in the river. They were watching a pair of manatees, a mother and her offspring. The young manatee was curious and enjoyed swimming up to people who were in the water. My older son slipped into the water with the GoPro and managed to get a couple of great photos of the manatee when it swam nearby him. How cool to have a manatee come and check you out!
Chassahowitzka River is definitely an awesome Florida adventure! There are many more miles of river to explore, and staying overnight at the campground would be a fun experience. This is “Real Florida” and I am thrilled that it is practically in my backyard!