Nature Coast hot spot offers bay scalloping, cook-your-catch, fishing tournaments and more
CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (July 6, 2023) – For those making spring and summer travel plans, Crystal River, Florida, and the surrounding cities of Homosassa, Inverness and Floral City offer the uniquely Florida experience of snorkeling and diving for fresh bay scallops along the Gulf of Mexico. Located about 75 minutes north of Tampa and 90 minutes west of Orlando, Crystal River is perfectly located on Florida’s Nature Coast, making it easy to access, yet pleasantly off the beaten path, and packs in value. Aside from scalloping, visitors can enjoy catch-and-cook dining, and even enter the 2023 STAR Fishing Tournament.
Scallop Season – A Florida Tradition
Crystal River and Homosassa’s scalloping season (Jul 1-Sep 24) brings excited visitors from far and wide for their share of fresh-caught bay scallops. Hidden like underwater Easter eggs in the grassy ocean floor, scallops are found four to six feet below in the shallows of the Gulf of Mexico. Their many blue “eyes” glow like tiny lights around the rim of their shells, making them easier to find. The scallops can propel themselves through the water by opening and closing their shells, sometimes giving a lively chase. Scalloping is a family-friendly underwater adventure that only requires a mask, snorkel, flippers, and scoop net. As a bonus, divers usually also encounter starfish, seahorses, and other marine animals during the process. A saltwater fishing license is required unless scalloping with a charter captain, which is one reason hiring a local guide is highly recommended. Guides know the water well, taking divers straight to the best spots to find scallops and providing everything needed for a fun and productive day on the water. An esteemed local tradition, scalloping is a fun, easy experience, and a Florida family favorite. Visitors can find a variety of local accommodations online at DiscoverCrystalRiverFL.com/where-to-stay.
A Sensational Meal – Waterfront Views and Fresh Flavor
Citrus County’s access to water gives the dining scene much of its charm, from historic fishing operations to local favorites. Waterfront dining offers picturesque views and there are plenty of delicious options to fuel the fun. Fishing or scalloping in Crystal River and Homosassa often includes a unique, time-honored Florida tradition: cook your catch. After a fun full day of fishing or scalloping, hungry visitors can enjoy their spoils courtesy of local chefs who are experts in creating flavorful dishes that are sure to delight. Simply call ahead to one of the participating restaurants before bringing in your cleaned catch, and they will do the rest, transforming your trophy into a memorable meal, complete with plenty of southern-style, home-cooked fixins’.
Hooked on Fishing – Cast a Line Anywhere
Fishing is a way of life in Citrus County that goes back generations. Some of the best inshore and offshore fishing guides anywhere are here, ready to share their experience gained from a lifetime on the water. These expert guides know how to make the most of a day, tailoring fishing trips to the season, weather conditions, and desires of professional and recreational anglers alike. Citrus County is home to some of the world’s most sought-after fishing destinations, including the Chassahowitzka, Halls, Crystal and Homosassa rivers. Inland, Lake Rousseau and the 30-mile-long Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes along the margin of the Withlacoochee River are home to large-mouth bass, white bass, crappie, stripers, bowfin, and gar, making it one of Florida’s top freshwater fishing sites.
Fishing to Win – 2023 STAR Competition
The CCA Florida STAR 2023 Tournament (May 27-Sep 4) has returned for the ninth year, inviting anglers to participate and win their share of prizes valued at almost $500,000, including boats, motors, scholarships and more. This year’s competition is comprised of 15 divisions targeting inshore and offshore species, along with trash cleanup. STAR’s signature Tagged Redfish Division offers winners the choice of a Yamaha powered Contender Boats 22 Sport, Pathfinder Boats 2200 TRS, Dek Kat 2700 Flatz Kat, Carolina Skiff 162JLS or Sea-Doo FishPro Trophy and Can-Am Defender package. There is also a $50,000 prize opportunity if a registered angler catches the Alta Equipment Super STAR Tagged Redfish. The two winning youth anglers in the signature division can also win new boats powered by Yamaha Outboards, trailers, Minn Kota trolling motors and Humminbird electronics. One of the best opportunities to catch a 2023 tagged redfish will be in Citrus County, one of two Destination Counties, which has eight tagged redfish, twice the number of standard coastal counties. Citrus County has had at least two tagged redfish recaptured since 2015, and there have been two local Tagged Redfish Division winners who each received a new boat valued at more than $80,000. For more information, visit CCAFLStar.com.
Regardless of which outdoor adventure you choose, there are plenty of lodging options, including hotels, bed & breakfast inns, vacation rentals, motels and a variety of campgrounds. Start planning your summertime getaway now at DiscoverCrystalRiverFL.com.
About Crystal River Florida
Widely known as the Manatee Capital of the World, Crystal River, Florida, is the only place in the United States to legally experience the up-close encounter of swimming with these gentle giants. Located in Central Florida’s Gulf Coast, Crystal River and the surrounding cities of Old Homosassa, Inverness and Floral City are an authentic showcase of outdoor adventure and scenic beauty. Within tens of thousands of acres of protected state parks, forests and wildlife refuges, visitors can explore miles of bicycling, walking, birding, horseback riding and hiking trails to unlock a wild and wonderful world of natural, recreational and archaeological treasures. Pristine swimmable springs and a shimmering network of rivers, lakes, marshlands and mangroves make Crystal River perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, boating, fishing and floating. Feeding the fun is a creative collection of restaurants, pubs, bistros and bars serving up freshly caught seafood and other seasonal favorites all year long – from summer scallop season, to fall blue crab season, to manatee season and a year-round fishing season. Begin your adventure at DiscoverCrystalRiverFL.com or call (352) 794-5506.
List of experts available to interview:
- Crystal River Fishing Guides
- Homosassa Fishing Guides
- Inverness Fishing Guides
- Scalloping Guides
- Discover Crystal River Florida Spokesperson
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