Florida is full of things to do. It really has no equal and it seems to be able to make anything into an attraction. I find myself tossing five or six things into the “to do” bag for each road trip I take, only to come home and realize I’ve missed out on something very important. I use a number of reference materials as my guide, but often these materials make it seem as if you could spend the whole day looking at the “Discovery of Phosphate,” which then turns out to be a sign by the side of the road.
When I decided to explore the area around Homosassa, I noticed frequent mentions of Monkey Island and I added it to the list. I figured that my more sophisticated friends would think I was making this up, and I was thrilled to casually post about it on the various forums I frequent. “Me? I’m going to Monkey Island today.” It was right up there with “I spent half a day at a mullet hole” and “I just stepped around that ten-foot alligator and moved on down the road.”
There isn’t anything to do at Monkey Island; you can’t even step foot on Monkey Island. The most you can do is to casually observe it from a floating dock in back of a restaurant. If you aren’t carrying binoculars, you can sort of make out the monkeys, who, on the day we visited, were sitting with their backs to the docks and did not appear to want to put on any kind of antic display.
Monkey Island is a rock outcropping in the Crystal River at Homosassa Riverside Resort and it is best viewed from a boat. The view is less acute from the Monkey Bar; if the monkeys aren’t swinging about then the most you’ll see is a dark and hunched shape. In this case, the highpoint of the visit is having your picture taken in a cut-out board, even as stuffier adults stroll by with raised eyebrows.
Monkeys have lived on Monkey Island since the 1960s, when the resort’s owner added them as a tourist attraction. If you want to do a bit more at the resort than to stand on a dock and squint your eyes, there are river cruises that look like a great way to enjoy this beautiful part of Citrus County, unless you’re in a hurry to see the ruins of the Yulee Sugar Mill.