Homosassa is derived from a Seminole Indian name meaning either "river of fishes" or "pepper ridge". In 1851, David Levy Yulee established a 5,000-acre (20 km2) sugar plantation on the Homosassa River, close to the current town of Homosassa. The remains of the plantation are preserved at the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park.
The Homosassa and Halls rivers run through the area, and it is fairly common to see manatees surface near the area's waterfront restaurants and bars. On Florida's Gulf Coast, near the southern end of what many call the Big Bend, Homosassa serves as home to several state parks including Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, where you can view manatees migrating due to the warm waters of the natural springs. The park is home to Lu, a famous hippopotamus known for his performances in many movies for the past 40 years. The park also hosts an underwater viewing platform, known as the "fish bowl", where visitors can see manatees and fish swimming in the large spring from which the Homosassa River begins. At the Yulee Sugar Mill State Park, you can visit a sugar mill used to supply troops during the Civil War. In the nearby Citrus County seat of Inverness, don’t miss the historic county courthouse, now more than 100 years old.