CITRUS COUNTY and Neighboring Hernando County have a wealth of fun travel options.
Among our favorites is the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park located about 90 minutes north of Tampa on US19. The park has numerous options for seeing Florida’s bounty of wildlife. Birds are in a giant natural setting. A short pontoon ride takes you into the wild.
At the springs, manatees frolic as you observe from a bubble under the water! You see snook and redfish in their natural setting. This state facility is a must-see for people who want to experience Florida’s forests, marshes, and streams. The park offers guided tours and information about various animals and feeding opportunities.
While at the park, the birds of Florida’s forests nest in the trees around you. A comfortable walking path takes you through natural exhibits unseen on a normal walk in a state park.
After your visit, just a few miles down the road from the park is The Monkey Bar featuring Monkey Island (seen above) with four monkeys frolicking around their island home entertaining you while sipping your favorite cocktail.
Skip the food at the Monkey Bar and go across the river to Crumps Landing. If you like tiki bars, Crump’s is one of the largest you will ever find! Food is reasonable and there is plenty of activity on the water and entertainment in the afternoons.
Citrus County and Hernando County Have a Lot to See
A few miles north of Homosassa Springs is Crystal River, Florida. We have written about this waterfront town on several occasions. Crystal River is known as the Manatee Capital of the World.
Crystal River is also known as one of Florida’s best inshore fishing destinations as well as seasonal scalloping. If you go, stay or stop at the Plantation Inn. This hotel and its water activity center are worth a visit. You may even see a manatee or two at their tiki bar on the canal.
After a visit to Crystal River, take a short drive east on Rt. 44 to Inverness, Florida. Inverness is known for their freshwater lakes including the connected Tsala and Henderson Lakes. Both lakes are in the middle of Inverness.
You will also find the Citrus County Historical Society in downtown Inverness. The culture and history of the area include a Seminole Indian town purported started by the famed leader Osceola, named Billy Powell at birth.
Inverness is also home to the annual Cooter Fest held each year in October.
Brooksville was originally Fort de Soto in 1840. Not to be confused with the Fort De Soto in Pinellas County, the Hernando County fort was built to protect settlers from Indian attacks. Later the fort became Brooksville.
Brooksville was the place of the famed Civil War raid of the same name. The Brooksville Raid in 1864 was done by Union troops who landed at Bayport and marched into Brooksville to cut off Confederate supply lines.
The annual reenactment of this famous Civil War battle occurs every year. This is one of the largest replicas of Civil War skirmishes in the county with over 1500 participants.
Brooksville later became an import stagecoach stop on the way to Tampa. Traders could send their local goods on to bigger markets through Brooksville in the 1800s.
While both Citrus County and Hernando County are small, they were important to the settlement and development of Florida.