Located along US Highway 19 just about halfway between Homosassa and Crystal River, not far from the Villages of Citrus Hills, you will find one of the most beautiful stretches of road in all of Florida.
Also known as Country Road 494, the Ozello Trail runs a total of nine miles west and then north from its start at US 19 to its end at the small fishing town of Ozello.
The speed limit along the Ozello Trail is only 35 miles per hour, but you will almost certainly find yourself cruising even slower than that in order to take in all of the sights of this fantastic marshland that is filled with the perfect combination of small islands and saltwater!
At the end of the Ozello Trail, you will find the small fishing town of Ozello, which is occupied by a population of about 600 people. One interesting note about the town is that it has been featured in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not because the town school bus is actually a boat.
Fishing and Wildlife
As you drive along this beautiful stretch, you are almost certain to see a wide variety of wildlife from osprey, owls, and kingfishers to deer and turkey running freely on the islands. Because there is so much water, bringing along a kayak is a great way to explore the area, but locals highly recommend using a GPS because all of the different coves and islands make it pretty easy to get lost.
If great fishing is what you are after, there are some excellent spots to stop along the Ozello Trail. Most of the area is best suited for fly-fishing or kayak fishing, but there is also a pier at a local county park that can make a good spot for a novice fisherman. The park can be found on John Brown Road just off of the main trail.
Stopping for Dinner
While a scenic trail doesn’t necessarily need a destination at the end to earn its stripes, there is something to be said for a lazy Florida sightseeing drive that ends at the door of a great seafood restaurant. On the Ozello Trail, that seafood restaurant is Peck’s Old Port Cove.
The most popular menu item at Peck’s is the steamed blue crabs and the garlic crabs, which are raised on-site. Many hard-crab experts consider Peck’s to have the best crabs in the area. They are also well known for their outstanding fried seafood platters and fried fish because they don’t go overboard with the breading.
Regardless of whether you are driving the Ozello Trail in search of great fishing, great blue crabs, or just a great view, you are going to want to time your drive so that you can catch the sunset over the wonderful combination of land and sea.
There is a good reason that these stunning sunsets past the Ozello Trail are commonly referred to as “Ozello Gold.” The sunsets alone make the short trip to the Ozello Trail worthwhile!