• Scenic Touring

    Hernando County Drive Tour West Side

    Whether by motorcycle or car, enjoy this tour that includes some of our most spectacular scenic byways. This winding journey reveals sights and vistas both familiar and unexpected.

    Day 1 – Coastal Roadway Cruise

    From Mary’s Fish Camp, turn left and drive west to Bayport Park. This park, with its waterfront park and boat launch is a popular local gathering spot. Here you can enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the pavilions. Be sure to return in the evening for sunset viewing.

    Pass the historic Bayport Inn, a great choice for dining, and take a short drive north on Pine Island Drive. This roadway, with salt marshes on both sides, dramatically reveals the sprawling natural wetlands. Terminating at Alfred McKethan Park, locally known as Pine Island Beach, you can either stop for a while and wade into the shallow Gulf or, turn around to continue your west side tour.

    Returning from Pine Island, turn right onto Shoal Line Boulevard. Another beautiful route to enjoy, you’ll travel through the Weeki Wachee Preserve and out to the community of Hernando Beach. There is no sand at Hernando Beach, but this waterfront community boasts some excellent dining options. Often provisioned by local fishermen with that day’s catch, the cuisine couldn’t be fresher. Check out Brian’s Place, The Cove, ZigZag Scallops and Hernando Beach Tropical Grille for local flavor. Check their curbside pick-up and carry-out menu options.

    Follow Shoal Line Boulevard to Osowaw Boulevard and turn right. This brief drive will provide plenty of photo-op views, with open stretches of the Gulf of Mexico. You will pass through the small community of Aripeka, settled in 1873 and named for an early 19th century Seminole chief who is thought to have lived nearby. Historic Norfleet’s Fish Camp is a local haunt open since WWII and supplier of all things needed to create your fish-tale.

    At the end of this travel segment, you will be at the intersection of US-19 / Commercial Way.

    Turn left and travel north a short distance to County Line Road and turn right. Travel east though Florida’s Adventure Coast to US-41. At Bowman Road, turn right for approximately two miles, arriving at Forge Drive, just before the overpass. Here you will find Strong Tower Vineyard and Winery. Currently offering retail and bottle sales only, plan a future visit when owners Janis and Terry can welcome you to walk through the vineyard and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine.

    Hernando County Drive Tour Loop

    Day 2 – Countryside and Forest

    Start your day early and enjoy the peaceful sights and sounds at Jenkin’s Creek Park. Should you make a few casts, maybe catch and release a couple of fish before setting off? Maybe just for a little while.

    When you are ready, head north on Shoal Line Boulevard and east on Cortez Boulevard to historic downtown Brooksville. Park and walk the few blocks of cobblestone streets lined with turn-of-the-century homes and Spanish moss draped oaks, quaint shops and eateries. Stop by Mountaineer Coffee for an unmatched cuppa joe to go. Coffee purists, the owners of Mountaineer Coffee take pride in pursuing the art of in-house roasting of single-origin coffees.

    On building exteriors throughout downtown, view local history through some amazing murals. Be sure to pick up a Florida Mermaid Trail map and seek out the 21 small statuettes hidden around town.

    From Brooksville, follow Broad Street north to Croom Road. Turn right on Croom Road and follow to appreciate the hilly terrain of the Brooksville Ridge and Withlacoochee State Forest. Once in the Withlacoochee Forest, you will pass Tucker Hill, a heavily-trailed recreational area for hiking, off-road biking and horseback riding.

    While driving through the Forest, free of structures and civilization, follow the left fork at the intersection for Nobleton-Croom Road. The ride then takes you to Nobleton, a tiny town bordered by the Withlacoochee River.

    Continue west on Lake Lindsey Road for a pleasant country drive back to US-41. Cross US-41 and continue west on Lake Lindsey Road to Snow Memorial Highway, where you will turn left. From Snow Memorial Highway, you will pass Chinsegut Hill Manor. On the register of historic places, the estate is poised atop the highest point on Florida’s Adventure Coast: 269 feet above sea level.

    Leave Chinsegut Hill and turn left onto Snow Memorial Highway, heading back to Lake Lindsey Road. Follow Lake Lindsey Road, which becomes Centralia Road west until it terminates at US-19. Turn left on US-19 and, after turning right onto Cortez Boulevard, return to your Mary’s Fish Camp home base.

     

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