Directions (address and phone: 8600 W. Miss Maggie Drive, Chassahowitzka, FL 34448, 352-382-2200)
From intersection of U.S. 19 and U.S. 98, go west on Highway 480, a.k.a. Miss Maggie's Drive. Follow 1.7 miles to the end, passing small homes and the Chassahowitzka River Lodge on the right. Turn right at signs for the Chassahowitzka River Campground and follow to headwaters. From the boat ramp, go downriver about 250 feet and then go right or north into Crab Creek and about 200 feet to the springs on the west side and at the back of the run. Google Map link: http://chassahowitzkaflorida.com/maps.htm
Three spring vents are located at the back end of Crab Creek. Each is a limestone opening amid aquatic vegetation. According to Champion & Starks, one of the vents appeared in the 1980s (May 2001, p. 70). The depths of the vents vary but appear to be 6-10 feet. There are strong slicks or boils from each opening, and fish swim in the vent areas. The water is milky, and there are chalky deposits on the vegetation around the springs. The depth and salinity of the run vary with the tide.
The springs create a short run called Crab Creek, which is 80-100 feet wide and 300 feet in length. The run is richly vegetated and the surrounding land is dense forest and swamp. Two houses are located adjacent to the springs, and there is a dock near the back spring. Herons, vultures, kingfishers, and other birds are commonly seen.
DeLoach (1997) calls these springs the Three Sisters and notes that they may be dived to depths of up to 20 feet (p. 115).
- With the springs so close to the houses (20-30 feet), visitors feel like intruders and typically do not linger at the site. One can jump out of a boat/canoe and snorkel or dive the springs as long as no landfall is made.
- The nearby Chassahowitzka River Campground (http://chassahowitzkaflorida.com/) includes primitive and modern camping, a camp store, a clubhouse, boat rentals, a telephone, and restrooms. Canoes can be rented for a reasonable fee.
- The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge begins 3-4 miles below these springs. It is accessible only by boat, and is closed to human visitors from October 15-February 15 each year to protect wildlife. The refuge provides sanctuary for 250 species of birds, over 40 types of reptiles and amphibians, and more than 25 types of mammals ("Chass. National Wildlife Refuge," U.S.F.W.S., n.d.).
The milky water emanating from the springs led the authors to puzzle over what minerals/dissolved solids are in the water.
Other Nearby Natural Features
- Other Chassahowitzka River springs (Chassahowitzka Main Spring, Solution Hole Springs, Lettuce Spring, Houseboat Spring, The Crack, Salt Springs, Potter Spring, Ruth Spring, Beteejay Spring, Blue Run Spring)
- Blue Spring
- Crystal River
- Homosassa Springs
- Weeki Wachee Spring
- Rainbow Springs
- Withlacoochie State Forest
- Fort Cooper State Park
- Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park
- Crystal River State Archeological Site
- Rainbow Springs State Park
- Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge