FLORIDA- A WONDERFUL SALTWATER RESORT FOR FISH & PLAY TRIP # 162
On a recent scouting trip along Florida’s west coast, we were looking and searching for something fairly rare in Florida today. We wanted to find an off the beaten path, tucked away family resort, suitable for fishing and for kids and adults to relax and play hard, all at a reasonable price. We doggone nearly gave up, and then we found this operation hidden away and right on Tampa Bay. Since Tampa has a major airport, it provides ready access for anyone wanting to vacation at this tucked away and laid back resort. Ed, the owner of Hunt-Nation, as well as Don Sangster from our Canadian office, both recently spent time at the resort and gave it two thumbs up!
What is particularly appealing, at least to us fisher folks, is the wonderful flats fishery that exists in Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest open-water estuary, extending over 400 square miles (1,000 km2) and forming coastlines of Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties. The freshwater sources of the bay are distributed among over a hundred small tributaries, rather than a single river. The Hillsborough River is the largest such freshwater source, with the Alafia, Manatee, and Little Manatee rivers the next largest sources. Because of these many flows into the bay, its large watershed covers portions of five Florida counties and approximately 2,200 square miles (5,700 km2). This offers you a vast marine area to explore and enjoy. The bay bottom is a mix of sand and some silt, with sea grass beds and oyster bars abounding. It has an average water depth of only about 12 feet (3.7 m), with vast flats of 2 to 6 feet.
Tampa Bay’s shallow waters, sea grass beds, mud flats, and surrounding mangrove-dominated wetlands provide habitat for a wide variety of fish and wildlife. More than 200 species of fish are found in the waters of the bay, along with bottlenose dolphins and manatees, plus many types of marine invertebrates including oysters, scallops, clams, shrimp and crab. More than two dozen species of birds, including brown pelicans, several types of heron and egret, Roseate spoonbills, cormorants, and laughing gulls make their year-round home along its shores and small islands. The cooler months are also when you can observe hundreds of West Indian manatees, an endangered species, at local warm-water outfalls from power plants bordering the bay. There are also aquariums and a great zoo in Tampa.
Tampa Bay has been designated an “Estuary of National Significance” by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Two National Wildlife Refuges are located in Tampa Bay: Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge and the refuge on Egmont Key. There is a great boat launch at Egmont and docks at the resort.
We have fished the Bay many times and the back country snook and reds and tarpon and sea trout are great fun, but there is much more. You can wade fish in many places, fish from a variety of piers from small to huge, take a charter that will pick you up right at the resorts dock, and so on. You can snorkel, frolic, use the pool, drive to Orland (2 hours) and truly relax – all at a very reasonable cost. Tampa has a great zoo, various aquariums and much more including lots of pro sporting events.
The resort has 16 cottages that are extremely modern and nice. Rates vary with the unit you choose, but range per night from $125 for a Studio to $375 for a 5 bedroom with a private pool. Split that 5 BEDROOM among 6 people and the cost is very modest indeed, A cheap vacation!!
And there are a number of amenities right there to enjoy! Do as much or as little as you wish. Here are just a few options:
• Rent canoes and kayaks
• Fish yourself from piers or by wading
• Hire a fishing charter or guide service
• Rent a boat to cruise the bay
• Use the dock for your own boat
• Enjoy the Heated swimming pool
• Flat screen TV’s
• Enjoy your own Kitchen facilities and laundry areas
• Clubhouse is available for group parties
• Catering is also available for your group party
LODGING: DAILY RATE (May 1-Oct. 31) DAILY RATE (Nov. 1-April 30)
Studio (6 units) $119 $149
Deluxe Queen Studio/Waterfront View $155 $185
Deluxe King Studio $160 $190
1 Bedroom (6 units) $139 $169
1 Bedroom – on the waterfront $195 $225
2 Bedroom $159 $189
2 Bedroom – with private pool $189 $219
3 Bedroom $189 $219
4 Bedroom $249 $279
5 Bedroom – with private pool $350 $375
Dockage $10 per day
Minimum stay of 2 nights or cleaning fee applies. Promotional offers available for full week or full month rentals.
COMMENTS BY PAST VISITORS:
- You are treated like family and if you need anything you just have to ask. You feel like you are on your own island and it is like paradise. The pool is A-1. The owners are the best people you could meet. We will be back many more times. Our children (2 boys) did not want to leave. Heather Pelkola
- This was an amazing mini-vacation and anniversary treat! What a wonderful hidden gem!! I almost don’t want to rave because I want to keep it to ourselves. Each bungalow is private and tucked away for relaxing personal time, perfect for “couple” or family time. Thank you for this adventure. We will be re-booking before we leave. Joe & Janet Knight
- We felt right at home here! The beautiful tropical grounds, the access to the bay and pool was perfect. Our fishing charter with Captain Josh was the best day of fishing-he put us on fish and took incredible care of us, while having lots of fun. Than you so much for a much needed weekend escape. Amanda
- We loved our stay-thank you. The grounds are stunning! The pool is fabulous and you are super friendly. Dog friendliness is much appreciated. Reese had a great time! Our charter was excellent, 40 fish for my first time fishing. Kirby & JT Gant
- We have been married for 55 years and have been on many trips (long & short) and this ranks with the best. The peace and quiet and the beauty of the resort were just right. The studio was immaculate and very nice. We will see you again. Pat Murphy
- We have been fishing Tampa Bay for years and never knew about this Resort. Summer is over and fall is in the air! We will sure be back in the spring of 2014. I am going to be sure to let my family and friends know about THIS PLACE! Joyce Clark.