Eco-Tourism is Calling Your Name

Florida’s Adventure Coast

Dining is always a big part of a vacation. With so many options and wide range of culinary adventures, it was difficult to create a list of our favorite "must do" culinary experiences. 

 

  1. Celebrate  the bounty of Florida's Adventure Coast. Everything from blackberries to strawberries to corn and more. Tour and explore the twenty-seven, yes, 27 farms at your leisure. Download U-pick Farms brochure here

  2. The "Best Little Festival in Florida," the Brooksville Blueberry Festival is a one of a kind experience with live music, over 200 vendors including specialty blueberry food and drinks, plus fun activities for the kids and unique shopping in historic downtown Brooksville, FL. The Blueberry Festival runs the last weekend in April each year. 

  3. Raise your glass for more reasons to raise your glass! I love this line. Craft beer lovers will not want to miss Marker 48, housed in a converted garage and using Mermaid water as a key ingredient. Frothy beer flights, swirling wine goblets. Satisfy your adventurous palate with hand-crafted beer, wine, and distilled liquors throughout Florida’s Adventure Coast.

  4. Summer scalloping is like an underwater Easter egg hunt for the whole family. Charter a guide, grab a snorkel and dive among the shallow seagrass to catch scallops that eight+ local restaurants will be happy to prepare for you at the end of the day.

  5. From wine to shine. Enjoy all the tastings and tours. Visit local vineyards in gorgeous settings or go deep into the Chassahowitzka Preserve where NJoy Spirits invites guests to enjoy authentic farm-to-table Rye whiskey, Mermaid rum and moonshine, handcrafted from locally grown rye and sugar cane.

  6. Meet the growers themselves at Saturday's Spring Hill Farmers Market and Sunday's Brooksville Farmers Market in downtown historic Brooksville.

 

Start planning your visit to Florida's Adventure Coast. Come early and stay longer. Memories are made like this.

Special of the Day:  Unique Culinary Adventures

Bike it Your Way

In my book, the best way to travel is with a bike in tow. I'm game for long scenic rides with a group, shorter greenway rides with the family, and even hitting the mountain bike trails for some outdoor family fun. 

 

After doing some research, I discovered Black Bear Bike. Besides selling bike gear, they organize group rides which they post and promote on their Facebook page. Saturday morning, I was ready to ride! I joined the group at 8am for a 35-mile ride along the Suncoast Trail full of scenic vistas, agricultural views, and good conversation with my fellow bikers who shared insider knowledge on where else to bike (next trip will undoubtedly include the 46-mile Withlacoochee State Trail). 

 

For Sunday's ride, we chose the Good Neighbor Trail connecting historic Brooksville to the Withlacoochee State Trail. After our ride, we made sure to stop by the 1885 Train Depot and The Countryman Family One Room Schoolhouse. The kids had great fun visiting the One Room Schoolhouse, and it set the tone for the day. After our visit, we parked our bikes and enjoyed brunch at The Bistro in Downtown Brooksville. How do you spell "yum-yum?" Is it one or two words? Just kidding, but the food was delicious.

 

Next we headed out to Weekiwachee Preserve for their 6-mile loop around beautiful lakes, grasslands, and forests filled with live oaks. It is hard to describe the joy of the ride, the beautiful scenery, blue sky and family time. We stayed an extra day to take the time to hang out and eat some delicious seafood. We left with great memories of a wonderful family vacation and, yes, we will be back.

When I learned that the Florida’s Adventure Coast on the Gulf, is also known as Nature's Place to Play, I knew that this is a must-see. With so many options and with such thoughtful management of the environment, this region is worth visiting again and again.  

 

Biking, camping, canoeing, and other outdoor activities mean there's something for every type of nature lover in the Withlacoochee State Forest. I hit the highlights starting with a birding hike around the Withlacoochee State Forest, the largest state forest in Florida, where I was delighted to spot a Pileated Woodpecker and an Eastern Screech Owl in the same journey! Apart from the birds, simply hiking among longleaf pines, and swamp forests along the Withlacoochee River bring a nostalgic old-Florida feel that you can only truly find in a "Nature's Place. Fun fact: With many species of wildlife and recreational opportunities, the Withlacoochee State Forest has been named one of the "10 Coolest Places You've Never Been in North America" by the World Wildlife Fund.

 

With my energy recharged for the second day, I was curious to explore FLG X Adventure Course - hours of tree-to-tree adventure. This course is designed as an eco-friendly attraction, where the innovative  design allows guests to soar high up in the trees with minimal tree damage, while sensitive habitats in the park are left in their natural condition. The obstacles range from rope swings, scrambling walls, hanging nets, wobbly bridges, and suspended "surprises,” all culminating with a 50’ zipline. There are four courses designed for different skill levels. At any exit point along the courses, you can descend. Walking paths will take you back to guest services and the welcome center.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is one of Florida's most legendary and unique family destinations, featuring live mermaid shows, wildlife, and more. We had the time of our lives.  When asked, Lori from Versailles, KY noted: “It was an amazing day; highly recommend it. The Mermaid show, animal show, fun at Buccaneer Bay, and relaxing at the beach are all included for a reasonable price." I could not agree more. It’s an eco-tourism experience with something for all ages. 

Eco-Tourism in Nature's Place to Play

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