If manatees, pelicans, wading birds, gators, dolphins and bobcats excite you, this segment may be perfect for your next extended paddling trip. Starting with unmarred beaches, miles of sawgrass and small fishing communities in the north and ending near the metropolitan Tampa Bay area, you'll get the opportunity to experience some of the best coastal paddling in Florida.
To begin the coastal part of this segment, launch at the mouth of the Withlacoochee River or from the Cross Florida Greenway. Paddle toward the Crystal River coal and nuclear power plants. Pods of manatee can be seen on the north side of the jetty where warm water is released from the power plants. After crossing the jetty, aim for the mouth of Crystal River.
Between Crystal River and the Chassahowitzka River Campground you'll need a GPS. There are numerous twisty paths in the salt marsh so it's important to watch the GPS carefully. From Chasahowitzka the next stop is the Weeki Wachee River, some 21 miles away. It's then back into the saltwater past Hudson and Port Richey to your destination at Anclote Key.