Take It Outside Planner: Fishing village of Steinhatchee (w/video), paddle Weeki Wachee, catch barracuda | Tampa Bay Times


Looking for Old Florida at its best? Head to Steinhatchee, a town of fewer than 2,000, located about three hours north of Tampa. One of Florida's first settlements, Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto and President Andrew Jackson both passed through here at one time, but today, the tiny fishing village caters to the outdoors crowd. The first thing you learn when you visit is how to say the name. Locals pronounce the "Stein" in Steinhatchee as "Steen," similar to "steam." The name is American Indian in origin. "Esteen hatchee" means river (hatchee) of man (esteen). The town has long been known for its scallops, but now that the season is closed, local fishing guides entertain tourists who come to fish the rich grass beds for trout, redfish, sheepshead, black sea bass and mangrove snapper. But the Big Bend region has more to offer than just scallops, crabs and fish. Head upstream and the Steinhatchee River provides great paddling opportunities. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and check out Steinhatchee Falls. The spot was a historic crossing point for American Indians and other settlers. In terms of lodging, the laid-back luxury of Steinhatchee Landing Resort, a village of quaint rental cottages, is worth the trip. Complete with its own dock, pool, playground and neighborhood goats, you will find it an excellent base for any adventure.

The Florida that time forgot - Travel - The Boston Globe

Recently an article about 5 places in Florida that time for got was published in the Boston Globe. Here is what they had to say about Steinhatchee.

STEINHATCHEE: Woods and water

Never heard of Steinhatchee? Neither have most Floridians. Located in the wild, river-laced forests of north central Florida, also known as the “nature coast,” this village of 1,600 folks is incredibly quiet — until scallop season, from July to mid-September, when the population swells and the Sea Hag Marina (352-498-3008, www.seahag.com) is abuzz with activity.

Anyone with a Florida saltwater fishing license (easily obtainable) can be a scalloper, and it’s a blast. You don a mask, snorkel, and fins, carry a mesh bag to hold your scallops, and head out in a boat through the Steinhatchee channel to the gulf, and then go north or south for several miles until the inshore waters become clear. Then you look for scallops hiding in the sea grass. They move by snapping their shells and spitting water out — kind of a sandy spurt — and propel themselves in a zigzag motion. Local restaurants, like Roy’s (352-498-5000, www.roys-restaurant.com), will cook your cleaned catch.

Other pursuits are equally outdoorsy, lsuch as paddling the Steinhatchee River and hiking the trails at (totally unimpressive, but interesting) Steinhatchee Falls, following in the footsteps of Timucuan Indians, Spanish explorers, and Civil War troops. Things get a little crazy during the annual Fiddler Crab Festival, held on President’s Day weekend, when everyone turns out for events like the fiddler crab races.

There’s nothing posh about this place, and that’s just the way the locals like it. “Our fine mall is the dollar store,” says Dean Fowler, owner of Steinhatchee Landing Resort. Designed to resemble a typical north Florida community from the early 1900s, Steinhatchee Landing (352-498-3513, www.steinhatcheelanding.com, from $140) is the best place to stay in this fishing village.

The nearest airport, Gainesville Regional, is nearly two hours away, so there’s no danger that Steinhatchee will change anytime soon. “This is the anti-Orlando,” says resident Kevin Kizer. “It’s the country side of Florida, a real blast from the past.”
— By Diane Bair and Pamela Wright