Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge
4.5
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles104 reviews
Excellent
67
Very good
23
Average
10
Poor
3
Terrible
1

cdgeer99
11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
To be clear, we did not go to the Wildlife Refuge, we kayaked the "Chaz" river which abuts the refuge. IT WAS AWESOME!

There were Manatees right off the dock and at Snapper Hole. Lots of pelicans, Ibis, Tri-colored Heron, Osprey, Anhinga, buzzards and fish. Only got to see one spring at Seven Sisters as the water was really low. The trip to "the Crack" was fun, refreshing and just plain enjoyable. Down river we went to the right of the two islands down by Salt Creek and saw a lot of birds feeding, flying in and out and bathing!

We came back the main channel and didn't really like it due to the boats going by, but it was shorter than going back around the islands. We took our time and were out for about 5 hours. So beautiful and well worth the trip!

We rented at the Chassahowitzka Campgrounds Camp Store which is at the very end of W Miss Maggie Drive right by the river dock. (There is also a Lodge at 8600 W. Miss Maggie Drive, but we did not stop there so not sure if it is 100% the same place). Rental for a single kayak was only $25 for the entire day!!! We were told, first come first served, no reservations, but this might be at the camp store only. Not sure about the lodge. Nice friendly people!!!
Written 7 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Peter P
Sarasota, FL151 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2021
We got a waterproof map so we can find more springs. We kayak all over the rivers and dive as many springs as we can find. There is a ton of wildlife from otters, manatees, eagles, ospreys, other birds, and more fish than you can count. We go here about once a month with our camper and spend a weekend paddling, picturing, and swimming.
Written 23 March 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

limerboy1
Pembroke Pines, FL28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
I went kayaking here with my son. It was quite different from Crystal River, where we had kayaked last year. That was a nice trip, but for much of the time you are going past someone's backyard. The Chassahowitzka is far wilder, and for me much better for it. Only the very start of the trip, by the Seven Sisters Springs was built up, for the rest it was just scenery and wildlife. Almost before we were in the water we saw a porpoise and a manatee. In fact, there were so may manatees that by the end we didn't care to see any more. The main channel is where I would stay to see wildlife. We also went up a narrow side creek to The Crack, reportedly a popular spot. It is a small very deep spring. I hesitate to recommend it. The paddle up is through almost primeval growth, which I savored, and the spring itself is clear and quite deep. But.....it's also quite small, almost underwhelmingly small, and it gets crowded very fast. When we arrived, there were only a few other people and we quite enjoyed it, but as we were leaving an armada of canoes and kayaks started to arrive, more people than the little spot could hold. Also, the entrance to the creek is hard to find, and it's not marked, so you might need, as we did, someone who is already familiar with it to point out the entrance to you. If you can get there early, I think it's worth it, but if you see of lot of other people entering the creek, probably just stay in the main channel and enjoy the lots of sights that is there to see. We rented our kayaks from the Chassahowitzka River campground, and there too I recommend reaching early as the car park fills up fast.
Written 4 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RocFamily
Rochester, NY103 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022
In a late afternoon (2-4 pm) there was nothing to be seen from the car. there were a few cars parked by the picnic/ trail to the dangerous caves for scuba diving. Saw 2-3 birds in the sky. Although few people were in the national wildlife refuge area accessible by car, there was nothing else of flora or fauna interest to see from the car. There are several roads closed to cars in various condition but we did not hike them. The wildlife was so scant we wondered where they all went. Probably looks great via hike or horse but the refuge entrance via gopher road and Rattlesnake camp road did not hold much interest.
Written 13 February 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

andi c.
1 contribution
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
Beautiful place to explore and see manatees, however, roughly 1/2 of the motor boats out were speeding right through the exact locations where we had just spotted these slow, docile animals. Saw a younger ‘tee w/ an actively bleeding gash in its back. Remember to have a floatation device if paddling- my friend was nearly knocked out of her kayak from the wake one of the Chassahowitzka Charter boats created while flooring it to the campground boat ramp. Similar experience with speeding boaters when we paddled here in 2021 + 2022.
Written 4 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wanderlust3483
606 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2020
This is potentially heaven on earth, minus the rednecks blasting loud music in the middle of all the gorgeous nature. Be mindful that motor boats are allowed if you are kayaking or paddling. The area is just breathtaking, you can see a ton of wildlife if you are quiet and take the time to go into some of the coves. We saw manatees, dolphin, tons of birds and lots of fish. The beauty and wildlife is really just spectacular, so if that is what you are looking for, it's a great place to be.
Written 9 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gina B
Miami, FL18 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022 • Solo
Lovely foliage and water. Map to the featured scenic ‘Crack’ at the kayak rental place was totally inadequate. I soon became lost (no reception, no signage) and paddled 3+ hours looking for it. Finally a group leaving the Crack pointed the way in. However, coming out from the ‘Crack’ I discovered there were multiple twisting routes leading nowhere .. and after frantic fast paddling to escape, for 2 more hours (already tired from not finding it and going in it), nearing nightfall, I came close to having to spend the night sitting in my kayak dreading alligators. Two months later and I still shudder. It was pretty though. Seven Sisters spring, my first stop, was easier to find (but not clear on map either, only got lost 1 hour for that part) and really gorgeous.
Written 29 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

realflorida
Tampa, FL158 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This is a federal property, managed out of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge complex in Crystal River about 20 miles to the north. But the key to excitement is going to the County Park to access this place. The Chassahowitzka Campground has a canoe/kayak outfitter called Nature Coast Outpost that is fantastic! Instead of dragging your own canoe or kayak rent from Norm and ask for the "KAYAK 101" tour. You can be a novice on this river or an expert but all in all a phototograhers dream trip.
Written 2 September 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dawn M
Ottawa, Canada7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2014 • Family
This was possibly the best memory of our Florida vacation. It was a last minute addition to our itinerary and well worth it. My husband and 2 boys (8 & 10yrs) rented 2 tandem kayaks (rowboats and canoes are available too) We pushed off about 9:30 am and saw a ton of wild life. Bald eagle, pelicans, mom and 3 baby otters, schools of fish, vultures, cormorants, manatees etc... There are a few places to rent kayaks. but we wnt with the more expensive campground rental. The kayaks are 15 ft from the water. you pay to park ($5) at the campground parking lot. Well worth it for the convenience. The campground store has snacks/drinks but pack your own to be sure. You can get a free map with the kayak. Binoculars would be nice but not necessary. The water is truly, crystal clear and ranges from knee deep to chest deep with some very deep spots. I would suggest arriving by 9am. We saw the most birds in the morning compared to the afternoon. We stayed until 4pm. We saw Racheal and her baby manatee at Snapper Hole. We paddled up Baird creek to "The Crack" which was picture perfect. We ended the day at the Seven Sisters Spring.We viewed most of the wildlife before "The Sailboat" and next time would probably not paddle past the Chassahowikzka Sign or the grouping of cabins along the shore. (picture below). Hope this helps. Enjoy!
Written 18 March 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hmclark
Fort Lauderdale, Florida28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2015 • Couples
We decided to do a kayaking trip here early in the morning, The scenery is amazing, Seven sisters springs is beautiful and you can swim through the holes and pop out the other ones. Caution to untrained swimmers this can be very dangerous so be careful. We kayaked up river to all the spots where there were springs, we found a few saltwater springs among this freshwater river which made our trip even more amazing, changing the water from clear to salty green was so awesome and watching the salt glisten in the sun as it mixed with the freshwater is a sight to see. Lots of wildlife in and out of the water, fresh and saltwater fish along with lots of birds. We even had a chance to view some river otters playing and eating fish they caught. Bring bug spray and plenty of sun screen. We stopped at the crack to eat lunch that we packed, To get to the crack you have to kayak down a narrow part of the river and once you get tot he end you have to tie off and walk through a small creek to finally get tot he end. Once you are there it is truly amazing and its worth every minute you spent going up stream. There are old abandoned fishing shacks you can tie off and visit, they are kind of creepy but really cool, a great photo op too. We spent about 7 hours on the river and we will be going back.
Written 20 May 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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CHASSAHOWITZKA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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