ESPN Outdoors Saltwater Christmas features the "must do" saltwater fishing excursions along the coasts of the United States. Between now and year's end, we'll present a bucket list of fishing trips any angler would love to receive.
Between fishing trips, take time to look around the town of Homosassa and its scenic waterfront. Historic homes, old fish houses and other photo-worthy features are many. Among them are:
Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins
The remains of a Civil War era sugar processing facility sit just a few feet from C.R. 490 West (Yulee Drive). This state park holds the mill's original equipment — a steam boiler, crushing machinery, cooking kettles, well and foundation — along with interpretive plaques set along an al fresco path, all nestled beneath a live oak canopy.
Once an important source of sugar, syrup and molasses productivity, the mill was part of a 5,100-acre plantation owned by David Levy Yulee, Florida's first senator.
The mill operated for 13 years before it was abandoned during the Civil War. Yulee's home was burned by Union troops in 1864, and the plantation never recovered. Located on the Homosassa Historical Trail, just a short drive from the Homosassa River, the mill site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This limestone patch complete with trees, sleeping quarters and a mini lighthouse is home to a handful of spider monkeys that delight boaters with their curious, animated ways.
Sitting just a short distance from the Homosassa Riverside Resort, the isle was created in the 1960s by G.A. "Mr. Homosassa" Furgason, who ran a zoological attraction in what is now the Homosassa Wildlife State Park.
Needing a solution for persistent monkey mischief, he relocated his primates to Monkey Island, a must-see for anyone traversing the Homosassa River.
Fuel, ice, general store, cottages and a killer tiki deck positioned perfectly for watching sunsets across the Homosassa River. This popular launch site is even more popular late in the afternoon, when anglers return to show off their big catches.
Epitomizing Homosassa's whimsical mood, cartoon figures on the restrooms doors at MacRae's Resort identify Men's and Women's facilities as "Outboards" and "Inboards."
On the Homosassa River's north bank, the lawn of River Haven Marina sports a trio of palm trees.
Look closely and you'll see that the trees are manmade — look even closer and you'll see that they were fashioned from boat propellers. Welded together and painted brown and green, the props were collected from the Homosassa River's treacherously rocky channel.
Seemingly defiant of the river, the prop trees stand as stoic reminders of the extreme caution required for traversing the Homosassa's hazardous course.
For more on Homosassa, including the winter congregation of manatees and the "fishbowl" underwater viewing at Homosassa Springs State Park, visit www.homosassaflorida.com.