Spend your vacation in Nature’s Place to Play and have plenty of fun without breaking the bank. Plan memorable days and evenings with this round up of 20 Affordable Adventure Ideas.
Touring: Self-Guided or Guided
Historic Downtown Brooksville.
Realize how life once was by touring this small Florida city. Established in 1840, Brooksville is anchored by a 100 year old courthouse surrounded by shady cobblestone streets and historic homes. View detailed murals illustrating times past on building exteriors.
Visit the May-Stringer House Museum for history by day and ghost tours by night. Ranked one of the most haunted places in Florida, many claim paranormal proof of ghosts in the halls of this Victorian mansion. Within walking distance are the authentically-restored 1885 Train Depot and Countryman One-Room Schoolhouse. Nearby, atop one of Florida’s highest points, is Chinsegut Hill Museum. Take a guided tour of this magnificent manor house and estate where such historic notables as Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, J.C. Penney and more were guests.
Throughout Florida’s Adventure Coast, there are sites on the National Registry of Historic Places. Each has one or more official markers explaining its significance. Follow this mapped Marked by History route to discover personal legacies and important milestones from the past.
See where food comes from; collect your own fresh harvest or just have fun in the country with a variety of Adventure Coast farm tours. From places to U-Pick blueberries, blackberries and other delicious produce to sunflower and corn mazes, choose farm tours for affordable adventures.
Rolling hills, canopied roadways and our Gulf of Mexico coastline ensure off-the-main-roads drives are a pleasure by car or motorcycle. East side and west side tour routes are conveniently mapped out for you.
Fishing and Scalloping
Score your annual Florida fishing license for a variety of angling adventures.
Fish from shore, boat or kayak for freshwater catches like bass, crappie and trout. Find your favorite fishing spot along the Withlacoochee River or Silver Lake.
Rent a cane pole and cast for mullet and more at Mary’s Fish Camp. Spend a peaceful day fishing the Mud River from your chair along the seawall.
Scalloping is an eagerly-anticipated summer adventure. Bay scallop harvest season – from July 1 through September 24, 2017 – is compared to an underwater Easter egg hunt. Simple and fun, anyone can do it. Florida’s Adventure Coast marks the southernmost border of Florida’s bay scallop harvest range.
Dine on your fresh catch at one of our You Catch – We Cook establishments. Contact these restaurants and make arrangements to bring your shucked scallops or filleted fish on ice. Have it cooked up to order with a couple of tasty side dishes.
Explore Forests and Natural Areas
With over 170,000 acres of preserves and other public lands, there are countless ways to get close to nature.
Take hikes and discover a variety of landscapes. Choose marked trails through sandhills, pine forests and hardwood hammocks, among others. Walk a section of the Florida Trail, a designated National Scenic Trail. Several Adventure Coast trails are pleasant loops, suitable for any skill level. Each trail has a downloadable trail map.
Become a Citizen Scientist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Download the iNaturalist app and capture your animal and plant observations with your smartphone. Help the FWC with your observations in Wildlife Management Areas like Chinsegut and Chassahowitzka. Don’t know what you are looking at? Upload a photo to get an identification from the app.
Take your binoculars and bird identification book to Adventure Coast sites on the Great Florida Birding Trail. Don’t forget your camera to snap proof of your feathered findings.
Drive the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area loop. If you have at least one hour and a vehicle you don’t mind getting dusty, the driving tour delivers a true sense of being away from it all.
Open on Fridays and Saturdays from 8:00am to 2:00pm, the Chinsegut Conservation Center hosts guided nature walks and has an indoor wildlife display.
Learn and practice archery on 20 targets of varying difficulty. The Chinsegut Conservation Center also maintains an event calendar filled with a wide assortment of family-friendly programs relating to nature and outdoor skills.
Pedal and Paddle
Bike miles of paved trails. The 46-mile long Withlacoochee State Trail and the 42-mile long Suncoast Trail afford picturesque rides free of motorized vehicles. Both trails are level, comfortable rides through rolling countryside, small towns, forests and lakes.
Bike miles of unpaved trails. Challenge yourself by choosing among nearly 60 miles of winding trails through the Withlacoochee State Forest. Marked and maintained by the SWAMP Club of Tampa (SouthWest Association of Mountain Bike Pedalers, Inc.), these trails are perfect for off-road enthusiasts.
Kayak, Canoe or SUP the new coastal trail. Newly opened, the Bayport – Linda Pedersen Paddling Trail reveals our true coastal nature. Follow trail signs through this thriving tidal estuary for views of wildlife such as shore birds, bald eagles and more. Access the 1.7 mile one-way trip from either Bayport or Linda Pedersen; both county parks have ample parking, restrooms and other amenities.
Explore primitive beauty of the Withlacoochee River and Silver Lake. Quiet, shady and serene, the north flowing Withlacoochee River is an enjoyable paddling adventure. A designated Florida Paddling Trail by the Florida Greeways & Trails Commission, it is fully mapped with access points and other information.
Paddle the Weeki Wachee River’s springfed crystal clarity. If you, like so many, are a paddling enthusiast, be sure to try the exquisite Weeki Wachee River. Contact an outfitter to arrange a kayak, canoe or Stand Up Paddleboard rental. The outfitter staff will assist you into the river and out at Roger’s Park, returning you back to your parked car.
Creating memories to treasure here on Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville-Weeki Wachee is priceless. It’s Nature’s Place to Play, and yours too!
Don’t forget to share your photos and experiences!