Spring Hill Journals

Snorkeling and Dining in Florida's Gulf Coast

A June 2007 trip to Spring Hill by MARecycle

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge Photo, Crystal River, Florida More Photos
Quote: We visited the Gulf Coast of Florida around Spring Hill (about 60 miles north of St. Petersburg and a few miles from the Gulf). We investigated snorkeling in the Gulf, but the visibility doesn't lend itself to any good snorkeling spots. We had to be satisfied with the inland springs.

Hampton Inn Spring Hill

Hotel | "Hampton Inn"

Quote:
We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Spring Hill, FL because we’re Hilton people. This Hampton Inn was a refreshing 180 degrees experience from our last Florida snorkeling trip Hampton in Marianna, FL. The help, especially the maids, did an excellent job. The property is relatively new, clean, and spacious. We enjoyed the outdoor pool one evening, which was nice and warm even by our standards.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2007

Hampton Inn Spring Hill
1374 Commercial Way
Spring HIll, Florida 34606
(352) 684-5000

Bare Bones

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Restaurant

Bare Bones Photo, Spring Hill, Florida
Quote:
We spotted Bare Bones while driving down to the Gulf of Mexico just a short distance from Spring Hill. It turned out to be one of those rare gems where the owner takes pride in his food and establishment. Tom McEachern is there each night, either sitting at the bar, talking to the customers, or in the kitchen. We liked it so much that we went twice during our five-day stay in the area.The food was quite exceptional and not overly expensive. The Caesar salad was excellent (one of the best we’ve ever had anywhere). I had the Florida Cracker fish meal with coleslaw. The other night I had the grouper picata. My friend had the veal marsela one night and an onion-encrusted salmon the other ni...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 29, 2007

Bare Bones
3192 Shoal Lane Blvd.
Hernando Beach
(352) 596-9403

Bern's Steak House

Restaurant | "Bern’s Steakhouse"

Bern's Steak House Photo, Tampa, Florida
Quote:
Bern’s lived up to its reputation as a world-class steakhouse and fine eatery. I had been once before almost 15 years ago, but it’s an experience that sticks with you. The steak is unsurpassed and the wine list, which comes out of a cellar of several hundred thousand bottles, is one of the features of this eatery. The wine we had was a 1983 Mayacamas Zinfandel, only $40 as many of the most unusual oldest wines in the cellar. With over 10,000 selections to choose from, it’s not an easy task.It’s a very unusual restaurant, having grown building by building over the years. It is quite large and features a number of different dining rooms. In addition to the fine dining that you will experi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 29, 2007

Bern's Steak House
1208 South Howard Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33606
(813) 251-2421

Mykonis

Restaurant

Quote:
Mykonis is one of the sponge dock area Greek restaurants in Tarpon Springs. I wasn’t overly hungry so I went for the small dish of three sand perch. They turned out to be excellent and quite a bargain for only $11. All in all, it featured good, solid, country Greek food and made a fine lunch.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2007

Mykonis
628 Dodecanese Blvd
Spring Hill
(727) 934-4306

Quote:
I always tend to seek out Asian restaurants, and this Thai Restaurant was the only one in the local Spring Hill area. It turned out to be a gem. It was reasonably priced with excellent food. As I frequently do, I had the whole fish, a red snapper, which was exceptional. We had an order of Nam Sod as an appetizer, which proved to be a bit on the spicy side. We also had pork sate, which was slightly tough and probably should have gone for the chicken sate. This is a restaurant that we would go back to. It had personable service and an attractive interior.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 29, 2007

Thai Cuisine Restaurant
11078 Spring Hill Drive
Spring HIll, Florida 34608
(352) 684-8571

Quote:
We went to this restaurant, which was in the Best Western Hotel on Crystal River at the recommendation of our manatee snorkeling tour guide, Captain Tracy Wood. It was a Cuban theme, and only the signage was really Cuban about it. The food was unimpressive and not a place we would go back to.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on June 29, 2007

Cravings on the Water
614 NW Highway 19
Crystal River, Florida 34428
(352) 795-2027

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge

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Attraction | "Snorkeling on the Chassahowitzka"

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge Photo, Crystal River, Florida
Quote:
Our first snorkeling trip was to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge Area. It’s known locally by its abbreviation, the “Chas”. We put our canoe in at the Chas River Campground, which is located 1.7 miles west of the intersection of US 19 and 98 on Miss Maggie’s Drive. This small marina has both rental canoes and use of their ramp for a modest $3 fee. Although we went on a weekday, not into prime season, activity on the river was busy. There are a number of boaters, swimmers, and even two fan boats came by the area where we were snorkeling. We went to the famous Chas “solution holes” (see the picture) which are a series of about ten holes in the limestone of one of the spring runs, sever...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2007

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge
1502 S.E. Kings Bay Drive
Crystal River 34429

Rainbow River Snorkeling

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Attraction

Rainbow River Photo, Spring Hill, Florida
Quote:
Rainbow Springs and the river that arises from the springs, Rainbow River, are located in Dunnellon, FL. The headsprings, which are quite attractive, are located in Rainbow Springs State Park. The park is a popular destination for swimming, canoeing, picnicking, and strolling, but it is not a good place to snorkel. Snorkeling is only allowed in a roped in area and there is very little to see. Even though we were there on a weekday, there was a pretty good crowd of swimmers. It is unfortunate that this state park does not allow snorkeling in the magnificent areas around the headsprings. The park itself is gorgeous and has some man-made waterfalls, and is often used for weddings, has mul...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2007

Crystal River Photo, Spring Hill, Florida
Quote:
We took a guided tour with native vacations to see the manatees in Crystal River (www.nativevacations.com), phone (866) 466-2848. This small operation, run by Captain Tracy Wood, was recommended to us by another captain who is very sensitive about the environment and manatees in the Crystal River area. Her trip was a little more expensive at $37/person, but was more personable and we had better service. One the day we went, we were the only two snorkelers on her craft. Tracy was very pleasant, knowledgeable, and truly loves the manatees that she takes people out to see. The most disappointing thing about the whole trip was that the visibili...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2007

Boating to Anclote Key

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Attraction

Anclote Key Photo, Spring Hill, Florida
Quote:
We rented a pontoon boat for a half-day from Anclote Village Marina. The cost was $150. We made our way out to the nearby island of Anclote Key. It is an uninhabited island (except for a ranger) that is very pristine, has a lighthouse and some beautiful beaches. The problem is that there are no docks to tie up to on the island. Since we went out at high tide, anchoring yourself in low water and spending a lot of time on the island will leave you high and dry. We picked a spot on the channel on the northwest side of the island and were able to anchor and wade ashore for a little bit of exploration of the island. The pontoon boat trip itself was a lot fun, and we spotted dolphins at num...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2007

About the Writer

MARecycle

MARecycle
Atlanta, Georgia

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