If you’re sailing (or motoring) south towards Florida’s southwest coast there’s a big gap (about 130 nautical miles!) between the end of the southbound Intracoastal Waterway at Carrabelle and Tarpon Springs, where it assumes it’s marked route. That being the case, it’s always nice to find safe haven and anchorage, especially if the weather starts to get nasty. Steinhatchee, about 90 miles NNW of Tarpon Springs, is just that place!
While not a straight-line course, the detour (and longer run) from East Pass, between Dog Island and St. George Island at Carrabelle, and the mouth of the Steinhatchee River can be an easier trip than staying offshore. It’s about a 60 NM trip at 100-degrees (magnetic) Consider entering the river mouth (Marker #1 is at N29 39.380 W83 27.379) a day or two to enjoy the local hospitality and to get out of the weather. While the narrow outside channel is well=maintained, low winter tides can push some maximum depths to 6-feet. Be careful, and lay-to outside if you arrive in winter on a low tide, with a northeaster’ blowing. Most moderate tides do no affect access.
There’s good sailboat anchorage in the river near Good Times Marina. The Sea Hag Marina (352-498-3008) and Good Times Marina (352-498-8088) both offer limited dockage for bigger boats. Some motor boats may be able to pass under the bridge and will find River Haven Marina (352-498-0709) just upstream. I recommend you call first, or contact them on VHF Channel 9 as you approach the river. Steinhatchee is small, meaning that visiting boaters can easily walk to grocery stores or local restaurants. Or if you want to sleep ashore on dry land, all the marinas offer good lodging.