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See the Real Florida

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An early morning surrounded by nature can truly be theraphic for those that love being outdoors and especially kayaking along the Chassahowitzka River.

Sabal palms, Cedar and Oaks trees line the banks of this 5 mile spring-fed river and kayaking is one sure way to not miss any sightings of wildlife that thrives in this amazing Florida habitat.

Words cannot express how beautiful this area is and even though the personal inspiration may be different from one to another, this is the Real Florida.

Florida Master Naturalist Jodi Spaulding was born and raised in Florida and her love for the Nature Coast is as pure as the environment she surrounds herself with.

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“I love being on the river,” Jodi said. “I have been around it my whole life.”

Because of her strong passion to share her knowledge of the environment she grew up around, she decided to offer nature lovers an educational adventure along the Chassahowitzka River by starting her own business. In 2017 Jodi pursued her goal and created Nature Coast Eco Tours LLC.

“I am really into the ecosystems and understanding how everything works,” Jodi said “I like to talk to people about the ecosystem, I like to break it down to a simpler way for people to understand.”

Nature Coast Eco tours, based out of Citrus County, offers 4 kayak adventures. ‘The Crack Adventure,’ is a trip to a tucked away salt spring in the shape of a crack, located at the end of Bairds Creek.  It is a 2 hour tour roundtrip. The Halls River Guided Tour, also 2 hours roundtrip, is suitable for beginners. The Halls River is a 3 mile tributary to the Homosassa River. While most of the Halls River runs through state lands, there are some interesting houses to see along the way in addition to 3 springs. Ruth Springs Kayak Tour, is a three hour tour for the more experienced paddler as it requires a 7 minute paddle up the fast narrow flow of Ruth Spring to reach the headspring.  The paddle up is demanding, but it’s a fun ride heading back. The Salt Creek Kayak Tour on the Chassahowitzka River is a 2-3 hour tour for moderate and advanced paddlers. Salt Creek is not well known since the mouth of the creek is difficult to find. It is a winding creek that offers many opportunities for wildlife viewing.

These kayak tours are not just about witnessing the real Florida, you will also be learning about the ecosystems. How the river works, what plants and wildlife thrive in wetland habitats.

“It’s understandable that we all want to enjoy something this beautiful and we all deserve to,” Jodi said. “However we should have responsibility to take care of it and that is my focus point for people to understand.”

Protecting the ecological health of the river is also what Jodi strives to do, along with other members of the Chassahowitzka River Keepers, a nonprofit organization.

“People can get involved just by having an interest and a passion and coming out to see how beautiful the river system is,” Jodi said. “When they see how beautiful it is out here it gives them a sense of appreciation and therefore it makes them want to protect it, you want to try to make a difference in keeping it that way.”


Nature Coast Eco Tours offers more than just kayaking, but hiking as well. From the Chassahowitzka River to the Withlacoochee Forest caverns, Jodi will not only provide you with an educated tour but the opportunity to see what the Nature Coast has to offer.

Where to go to book your next kayak or hiking adventure: http://www.naturecoastecotours.com/

Get involved: https://www.chazriverkeepers.org/

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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