Spanning from the Gulf of Mexico to the Withlacoochee River basin, Hernando County stakes its claim as Florida’s Adventure Coast with outdoor activities to choose from in every season.
Centered on Brooksville, this is a big region with an outstanding amount of hiking, paddling, and bicycling opportunites. The Florida Trail follows the Withlacoochee River for a long stretch through Withlacoochee State Forest, with both long linear sections and loop trails in both the Richloam and Croom Tracts, and connectivity through Perry Oldenberg WEA and Chinsegut WEA. Campers will appreciate being able to choose between nicely developed sites and primitive sites in the state forest.
Three major bike paths – the state-spanning Coast to Coast Trail, the Suncoast Trail, and the Withlacoochee State Trail – all cross Brooksville. Along the coast, Chassahowitzka WMA and neighboring public lands provide thousands of acres of wildlife habitat crisscrossed with hiking and biking trails.
Communities on Florida’s Adventure Coast
Parks and Activities
- Annutteliga Hammock CA- Buffering Chassahowitzka WMA and considered an extension of it, Annutteliga Hammock Conservation Area protects 570 acres of sandhills and scrub while offering several loop hikes.
- Bayport Park- Where the highway ends, Bayport Park begins. Perched on the edge of the estuary where the Weeki Wachee River meets the Gulf of Mexico, it offers spectacular sunset views along with its water access.
- Bayport-Linda Pedersen Paddling Trail- Following the Bayport-Linda Pedersen Paddling Trail for 1.7 miles through mazes of needlerush along Florida's Adventure Coast, you're immersed in the sights and sounds of a coastal estuary.
- Chassahowitzka WMA- Protecting more than 34,000 acres of coastal habitats along Florida's Adventure Coast, Chassahowitzka WMA offers extensive exploration on its network of limerock roads.
- Chinsegut Big Pine Tract- The southernmost concentration of ancient longleaf pine in America, the Big Pine Tract of Chinsegut WEA is also the second largest contiguous tract of old-growth longleaf pine in Florida.
- Chinsegut Conservation Center Tract- At Chinsegut WEA, the Conservation Center Tract is a birder’s delight. Sandhill cranes are common in May's Prairie, which the loop trail circles for a 2 mile hike.
- Croom River Trail Loop- Using the Florida Trail and the Blue Loop Trail, hikers can explore a picturesque corner of Withlacoochee State Forest in Ridge Manor along a 3.9-mile loop.
- Cypress Circle- Showcasing one small corner of Chassahowitzka WMA, Cypress Circle introduces you to both upland and lowland habitats as it circles around a cypress dome.
- Fickett Hammock Preserve- Delving deep into a hardwood hammock with towering trees, the loop trail at Fickett Hammock Preserve quickly immerses you into a shady forest of botanical beauty.
- Florida Trail, Croom Hiking Trail- With three stacked loops containing 24.9 miles of marked footpaths, the Croom Hiking Trail is one of the oldest and driest loop hike destinations for backpackers on the Florida Trail.
- Florida Trail, Croom River Trail- A pleasant ramble on bluffs above the Withlacoochee River, the Croom River Trail segment of the Florida Trail tunnels through oak hammocks and slips around cypress swamps along its 6.3-mile journey.
- Florida Trail, Cypress Lakes Preserve- At Cypress Lakes Preserve, a 1.7-mile segment of the Florida Trail follows the edge of a series of cypress-lined lakes where ancient trees have survived the ages
- Good Neighbor Trail- Following a former narrow gauge railroad corridor from the main line at Croom to a depot built in 1885 in Brooksville, the Good Neighbor Trail is a 10.1-mile linear paved bike path that is part of the Coast to Coast Trail.
- Hog Island Nature Trail- For a dip into primordial wilderness along the Withlacoochee River, walk the Hog Island Nature Trail at Hog Island Recreation Area in Withlacoochee State Forest
- Jenkins Creek Park- Overlooking the vast estuary that paddlers tackle on the Coastal Paddling Trail, Jenkins Creek Park provides a trail terminus as well as ample space for anglers to drop a line.
- Lake Townsen Preserve- Offering access to the Withlacoochee River and the Withlacoochee State Trail while protecting a swath of environmentally sensitive lands west of Nobleton, Lake Townsen Preserve is the gateway to miles of trails.
- Linda Pedersen Preserve- Offering recreational access to the Jenkins Creek basin and Jenkins Spring, Linda Pedersen Preserve provides fine views and fun activities for families.
- Nature Coast Botanical Gardens- An oasis of serenity in Spring Hill, several acres of compact garden rooms make up the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens. Each delights the senses with an ever-changing array of blooms and colors.
- Paddling the Weeki Wachee River- One of Florida's most beautiful paddling trips, the Weeki Wachee River rises from first magnitude Weeki Wachee Springs and winds through lush floodplain forests as it is fed by hundreds of smaller springs along this 5.5-mile paddling run.
- Peck Sink Preserve- Centered on a deep sinkhole and swallet that drains directly into the Floridan Aquifer, Peck Sink Preserve is a 112-acre conservation area near Brooksville.
- Perry Oldenburg WEA- With a surprising diversity of oak species for Central Florida on its 1.5-mile loop, Perry Oldenburg WEA protects a prime piece of sandhill habitat where gopher tortoises thrive.
- Weeki Wachee Springs State Park- Surrounding a sparkling first-magnitude spring, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has been a draw for tourists since its mermaids first started wooing visitors in the 1940s.
- Weekiwachee Preserve- Named for the river defining its northern boundary, the 11,000-acre Weekiwachee Preserve, along with adjoining public lands, forms the largest remaining Florida black bear habitat along the peninsular Gulf Coast.
- Wild Turkey Trace- Along this upland trail in Chassahowitzka WMA, Wild Turkey Trace immerses you in the turkey oaks and pines of the sandhill forest, with the surprise of a boggy marsh along the way.
- Withlacoochee State Forest- With more than 155,000 acres spread over several counties, Withlacoochee State Forest is Florida’s second largest state forest, and arguably the most popular for outdoor recreation
- Destination: Adventure (Mar 2019)- Biking, paddling, and even a bit of hiking were in the plans as we explored Florida's Adventure Coast - Hernando County - for activities we could enjoy during warm weather.
- Biking the Good Neighbor Trail (Dec 2018)- A morning of exploration allowed us to experience the not-quite-open-yet Good Neighbor Trail and its historic context during our visit to Brooksville this September.
- The new 50 Hikes in Central Florida (Oct 2018)- We launched a new full-color edition of 50 Hikes in Central Florida at the National Trails Festival in Deland the first weekend of October. Take a peek inside.
- Three Days of Nature Coast Springs (Oct 2014)- Between New Port Richey and Crystal River, explore a variety of springs along the Nature Coast that provide splashing fun in summer and manatee watching in winter.