Since summer has officially begun, we decided to take a long weekend trip to check out some of the locations that we hadn’t yet visited. We didn’t have much luck fishing but we did get to enjoy some different areas and the weather was perfect for the trip. We visited the following locations: Crystal River, Port Richey II, and Tarpon Springs. Check out our reviews on each location and our travel experience.
What is Freedom Boat Club?
FBC is an awesome club that allows you to take a boat out at any location and all you have to do is show up, drive around and have fun, and return the boat safely back to the dock. The boats are never older than 3 years which means they stay in great shape and are ready to go without issue. You don’t have to clean anything or worry about maintenance issues. The crew has you covered and there are many different types of boats available for fishing, cruising, watersports, etc. We LOVE being part of the Tampa Bay location because there are over 20 different locations to choose from PLUS we can take a boat out in different areas as “reciprocal” reservations. For more info, check out https://freedomboatclub.com/ If you decide to join, let them know Brandon and Arielle Adams referred you!
Crystal River was quite the experience. We checked into our hotel, the Econolodge, only to find a cockroach crawling out of the fridge, holes in the sheets, crumbs on the table, and unswept floors. This was the worst either of us had seen a hotel so we left and found new accommodations at the Florida Cracker Riverside Resort. The place was clean and spacious with an onsite restaurant/bar that had lawn games and an outdoor patio with views of Monkey Island. We did however have some very noisy neighbors who kept us up all night with their partying, so just be aware that this may be the case for your stay. Overall, lodging in the area is quite expensive but considering our experience, we think it’d be worth paying a little more to stay in a good place. We would visit this area again to try out scalloping or to see the manatees. FBC at the Plantation resort was very nice and easy to get to. It just took a while and a slow speed to get out to better fishing. We’d probably check out Homosassa Springs instead of the Crystal River locations. For dinner, we went over to The Freezer Tiki Bar and had some delicious salmon dip, peel-n-eat shrimp, and clam chowder. It is a cash only place with mostly outdoor seating, though some available inside as well. It was a great family friendly location with kind servers.
Another negative hotel experience. Magnuson Hotel Waterfront Marina New Port Richey was not as it appears online. The place is in the middle of reconstruction and there are weird smells throughout the entire place. One part of the hotel is completely different from the other. We were placed in a smoking room though we paid for non-smoking. We were able to move after a heated conversation with the front desk. Definitely do not waste your time with this hotel. However, we did really like this FBC location. It was wonderful and easy. The crew had some fishing tips for us and it was a super simple drive out from the dock to open water. We traveled over to Anclote Key and Arielle got out and swam for a bit. We enjoyed the sun and laid back atmosphere with many other boaters relaxing and fishing. We had another great seafood meal. This time it was at Davidson’s Dockside, which had great outdoor seating with a view of the water. The waiters were great and the food came out quickly. We ordered the Davidson’s feast and the best part was the snow crab legs. Yum! Definitely recommend checking that out.
This was a fun place to explore. Arielle remembered going here on a family vacation many years ago and we were happy to check it out. Even though many places were still closed up due to Covid-19, there were still shops and restaurants open to check out in the Tarpon Spring Docks area. Tarpon Springs is known for two things, sponges and Greek food, so don’t miss either. Fishing in the area is very similar to Port Richey. You can go out to Anclote Key, Rooker Island, or check out an artificial reef. The FBC location was cool because you get to drive past the sponge boats and the city street which is fun. We probably wouldn’t return to this spot though just because of the slow drive out. We love the locations where we can quickly get to fishing and tubing spots. Again, there are almost 30 locations so we have plenty of great options!
We were excited to check out the Seminole Heights area but due to the protests, local restaurants were closed. We had a good meal at Maggiano’s, a favorite of ours, and enjoyed our Airbnb. We originally planned to go to one more FBC location but the weather wasn’t looking great and we were a bit distraught by our lack of luck fishing. We had a great breakfast at Three Coins Diner and tried to shop around IKEA only to find out they were closed so we headed home. We will definitely be doing another trip to check out some locations that are a bit further from us. We will also be using our reciprocal visits this summer! FBC is the best! Also, shout out to our two favorite locations, Alafia River and Ruskin! They have the best crews, spots for fishing and tubing, and we just love going to the locations.