WEST COAST CRAZE: PRIME SCALLOP GROUNDS
It's scallop season north of the Anclote River. You'll find Argopecten irradians scattered throughout the Gulf of Mexico, but the best places to find scallops are where freshwater rivers flow into the ocean. The state's prime scallop grounds — Steinhatchee, Homosassa and Crystal River — have the perfect combination of both fresh and saltwater.
If you are looking to get in on "the hunt," you'll need a saltwater fishing license, mask, snorkel, dive flag and a way to get out to shellfish beds, which are usually located several miles from shore. The best time to go is on a slack tide, when the grass blades stand straight up.
Bay scallops, like other types of game, are masters of camouflage. It takes a keen eye and steady hand to locate these critters as they hide in the thick beds of eel and turtle grass that flourish in the shallows off the state's west coast. Once you spot a scallop, get ready for a chase. These mollusks, unlike their clam and oyster cousins, can swim. And also pinch. Beware.
HIKING: RIVER RAPIDS NATURE TRAIL
Most folks know that Hillsborough River State Park has some of the best canoeing and kayaking in the state. But if you are looking for something a little different, get up early and hit the trail for a summer hike. Sure, it's hot and humid, but you'll find the temperature cooler, the air a little fresher, in the shade....