(Last Updated On: December 6, 2022)
Manatee statue and fountain near the entrance to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Manatee statue and fountain near the entrance to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Photo: Sunshower Shots – stock.adobe.com

Discover the wonders inside Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park just 72 miles north of Tampa. This unique wildlife refuge features native Florida species including a few endangered ones, like the Florida panther, red wolf, whooping crane and manatee.

During the early 1900s, Homosassa Springs was a popular spot along the railroad. It was considered one of the most beautiful rivers and springs in the world.

Visitors today delight in being able to walk underwater through an Underwater Observatory under the springs and see fish, manatees and other sea creatures in their natural habitat. Boat tours and trails throughout the Florida state park allow guests a chance to see many species that they would otherwise not be able to see.

Activities

Come spend a day inside this serene wildlife park and get a closer view of some real Florida wildlife. Bring a picnic and relax at one of the picnic pavilions located near the Garden of the Springs, the Fish Bowl or along the Alligator Lagoon. The park’s Wildside Cafe offers inside and outside dining options as well.

The park serves to educate the public on endangered and protected species and various wildlife programs are featured throughout the day. More information is available at the visitor center.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park:

Boating at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

See the park and wildlife up close from the springs! Pepper Creek pontoon boat tours feature an interpretive tour that is included with your entrance fee. These boat tours start near the visitor center and follow Pepper Creek out to the west entrance of the park. Each tour highlights the native wildlife, such as turtles, otters and wood ducks, seen along the way.

Manatee being fed lettuce at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Hiking at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park features short paved trails and elevated boardwalks throughout. Shelters, benches and picnic tables are scattered along these trails to provide guests with comfortable spots to rest and watch all of the park’s wildlife.

Here are a couple of the trails at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park:

  • Pepper Creek Trail – An easy 1.4 mile trail through hardwoods and wetlands located inside the park. This trail is paved and wide and has benches scattered along its pathway.
  • Homosassa Springs Boardwalk Trail – An easy 0.8 mile loop over the springs that showcases the park’s wildlife. Benches and picnic tables are available along this trail.

Birding at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Don’t forget to bring along your binoculars and bird list. Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a great place to bird watch!

The park’s Pepper Creek Birding Trail is one of 20 birding trails in Citrus County that are part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. This means lots of sightings for both native and migratory birds. The local Audubon Society features monthly bird walks here. Check with the visitor center for more information.

During your visit you may see Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Black-and-white Warblers, Wood Ducks, Whooping Cranes, Great Blue Herons, White Herons, Black Crowned Herons, Crested Cormorants and Roseate Spoonbills.

Nature and Wildlife at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park features paved trails, elevated boardwalks and observation points for guests to get a better look at the many species that live within the protective boundaries of the park.

Discover the many types of sea life here, including West Indian Manatees and many species of fish, by visiting the Fish Bowl Underwater Observatory. And check out the wildlife pavilion, deer overlook and discovery center for a chance to see white-tailed deer, river otters, turtles, bobcats, alligator, Florida panther, hippo, fox, red wolf, snakes, black bear, birds, otters, pelicans.

Memorial to Dr. Jesse Ray White at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Memorial to Dr. Jesse Ray White at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Photo: Sunshower Shots – stock.adobe.com

Pets at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Pets are not allowed at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. The park does provide kennels for guests traveling with their pets. This service is free and located inside the main entrance.

Camping Near Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a day facility only and as such does not provide overnight accommodations. There are, however, many campgrounds, resorts and hotels nearby.

Here are a couple of popular campgrounds:

  • Chassahowitzka River Campground – 8600 W Miss Maggie Dr, Homosassa

    Spend the night under the oaks, cedars, pines and palms close to the Chassahowitzka River. This nearby campground features full hookup RV sites and primitive tent sites.

  • Covered Wagon Campground – 6049 south Suncoast Blvd, Homosassa

    Another nearby campground, with full hookup RV and tent campsites. In addition to modern restrooms and hot showers, the park also features cable tv, free WIFI, a clubhouse and fire pit. Weekly bingo, crafts, pot luck dinners, coffee mornings and card games are offered during the winter months.

Park Location

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
4150 S Suncoast Blvd
Homosassa, FL 34448
Phone: 352.628.5343

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park: