Energy is running high with the school year’s end and your family – like many – is probably eager to dig into those long, fun days of summertime. What will make you rush through your morning coffee and load up the cooler? Apply that sunscreen. Put on those sunglasses and embrace the outdoors with this list of adventures sealed with a big “High Five” from Dad.
Reeling and Casting
A pastime as old as time itself, the lure of fishing can be irresistible to both fish and angler. Moments shared casting and landing fish are simple and pure, whatever your age.
Here on Florida’s Adventure Coast, the fishing choices are so plentiful that every day can yield a new favorite. Try casting from the shore of Lake Townsen, Silver Lake or sites along the Withlacoochee River for a freshwater catch.
Spend time from a seat along the seawall at Mary’s Fish Camp or from the piers at Jenkin’s Creek and Bayport for inshore catches.
Explore flats fishing from a kayak or small boat among the canals and marshy flats near Hernando Beach. For both fresh and saltwater fishing in Florida, an annual license is required and can be purchased from such places as WalMart, sporting goods stores and bait shops. View saltwater fishing regulations online. Be sure to take advantage of License Free Saltwater Fishing Days every year.
Plan a half or full-day guided offshore adventure with a professional charter service. Choose among licensed fishing Captains familiar with local waters. No fishing license or gear is required; your guide takes care of everything. Charter fishing services are listed here.
ATV Powering Up
For a powerful surge on land, go off-road and drive trails within the Croom Motorcycle Area.
Part of the Withlacoochee State Forest, the 2,600 acre Croom Motorcycle Area is the only state-run property devoted exclusively to off highway vehicles (OHVs). This popular attraction features miles of trails that include hardwood hammocks, scrubland and jump areas created from mining pits. The Croom Motorcycle Area also offers separate trails for BMX and mountain bikers. There are areas set aside for training and young riders as well.
Florida’s Adventure Coast’s Croom Motorcycle Area offers fun for the whole family. For those without their own vehicles, it’s easy to arrange rentals. Contact one of the service providers and choose among variably-sized four-wheel ATVs or dirt bikes. Even for those new to the activity, training is available with no minimum age limit; vehicles are matched to body size and skill level. For those ready to get a little dusty and power through miles of forested trails, Croom Motorcycle Area offers something for everyone. Plan your adventure today.
Does floating the idea of just getting out on the open water drive household excitement? For some scenic cruising, use your own craft or rent from one of the Hernando Beach marinas. Prefer to leave the driving to someone else? Hire a full or half day charter. Inquire from charter services listed here.
The Gulf of Mexico accessed from Florida’s Adventure Coast is best suited for shallow water vessels. Explore the coastline – carefully dodging the manatee that spend a lot of time near the water’s surface – and watch for leaping dolphin, another frequent sight.
Pick a spot. Toss the anchor. Hoist a diver down flag and take a swim. Better yet, scout the sea grass beds for bay scallops; they’re out there waiting, ready for you to catch during harvest season. Gulf water temperatures are balmy and bath-like, great for summertime swims. Download this Waterways brochure for helpful boating information.
Have you ever tried geo-caching? Like a scavenger hunt, it’s a popular way to blend the primitive outdoors with current technology. There are geo-caches hidden throughout Nature’s Place to Play. According to Geocaching.com, there are 2,590 around Spring Hill alone.
Anyone can enjoy this satisfying activity; no special skills beyond basic gps navigation are required. Download a free app from geocaching.com and discover your surrounding geocaches.
Our mix of waterways welcomes paddlers with a diverse collection of experiences. Plan unforgettable adventures on the water from the Gulf of Mexico to the Withlacoochee River and points between.
For a leisurely day on the Weeki Wachee River, launch at Paddling Adventures and paddle with the current to Rogers Park. Choose among outfitters from whom you can rent various single or double kayaks and canoes, as well as paddleboards. At the end of your fun three-to-five hour river experience, you will be assisted out at Rogers Park and returned to your car. For even more adventure, continue until you reach the Gulf at Bayport Park.
Try the Weeki Wachee for stand-up paddle boarding, it’s an increasingly popular activity that combines exercise with an exceptional nature experience. You’ll see why the Weeki Wachee is often referred to as Florida’s most beautiful river.
The shady and primitive Withlacoochee River flows north and winds through the Withlacoochee State Forest, often running adjacent to the Withlacoochee State Trail, where hiking, biking and horseback riding enthusiasts enjoy the trail year-round. Put-ins and canoe/kayak ramps are available at Nobleton Wayside Park. Lake Townsen Regional Park and Silver Lake Recreation Area are also great waterways to explore as paddlers. Download the official Withlacoochee River South Paddling Trail map here.