52 Weeks of Fun

Not Just Destination Finders, But Destination Storytellers


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A small town in Florida's Big Bend region, Steinhatchee is known for its Spanish moss, the egrets who seem in nearly permanent residence, and the abundant fishing opportunities. In addition, miles and miles of tranquil country roads and bike trails await the relaxation-driven visitor.

Steinhatchee’s long history of human habitation goes back 12,000 years, with pirates between the15th and 18th centuries, loggers in the 19th Century, sponge divers during the 20th century, and commercial fishermen, shrimpers, and crabbers today. Located at the mouth of the Steinhatchee River, Deadman Bay was on Spanish maps as early as the 1500s.

In 1879 James Howard Stephens, a local pioneer, offered land for a post office, changing the name from Deadman Bay to Stephensville. The name Steinhatchee was established in 1931, derived from the Native American “esteen hatchee” meaning river (hatchee) of man (esteen).

Steinhatchee businesses once procured salt from seawater. The remains of these “salt works” are still evident along the mudflats and salt marshes. The collection, processing, and marketing of marine stores began to thrive as commercial fishing increased. It is unclear when the first sponge fishermen came to the area but local residents say it was common to see 50-100 sponge boats moored in the river during that period.

Commercial fishing was the mainstay for most residents until late 1995 when new regulations for commercial fishing took effect and a net fishing ban heavily impacted the economy of Steinhatchee.

The hospitality industry in Steinhatchee continues to grow and expand, though. Fish camps, motor courts, motels, and lodges are being replaced by rental apartments, condos, and service industries such as boat rentals, storage, and restaurants, but Steinhatchee still welcomes visitors with old-fashioned Florida hospitality.

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A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Steinhatchee

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