Hernando at a Glance
|Coastal Cities||Weeki Wachee|
|Sandy Beaches||.8 miles|
|Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail||19 sites|
|State Parks & Lands||Acres|
|Chassahowitzka River and Coastal Swamps (Citrus)||5,679|
|Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area||27,264|
|Chinsegut Wildlife Environmental Area||828|
|Weeki Wachee Springs State Park||538|
|Weekiwachee Preserve (Pasco)||10,979|
|Withlacoochee State Forest (Citrus, Pasco, Sumter)||159,562|
|Withlacoochee State Trail (Citrus, Pasco)||760|
|Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge (Citrus)||30,843|
|Subtropical Agricultural Research Station||3,850|
|Bays & Inlets|
|Rivers & Paddling Trails|
|Chassahowitzka River, Mud River, Weeki Wachee River, Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail|
Hernando County is natural Florida. Named for Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, it was thought to be the Garden of Eden with rivers, lakes and streams filled with fish, inland forests filled with deer, an abundance of oyster beds in the gulf and excellent weather all year.
With the lowest energy shore in the state, this 18-mile coast is largely an undeveloped wilderness with small inlets, creeks, swamps and salt marshes along the Gulf of Mexico, a few residential communities and two small coastal parks. One park, Alfred McKethan (Pine Island) Park has a short strip of sandy white beach where visitors can swim and sunbathe. The other, Baypoint Park, in a coastal forest and salt marsh, has no beach or swimming, but does have a fishing pier overlooking the gulf and bay.
The northernmost six miles of Hernando, in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, have no roads to the gulf. Bordering the refuge to the south and east, Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area's 33,919 acres are managed by the state. Recreation includes hunting deer and waterfowl, fishing, hiking, bird watching, canoeing/kayaking and watching sunsets.
The county's most well-known attraction, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, is at the head-springs of the Weeki Wachee River, which meanders to the gulf. For over 60 years Weeki Wachee has featured live mermaids performances in an underwater glass theatre. In 2008 it became a state park. Park mermaid camp offers underwater ballet classes. Other water fun can be had at Buccaneer Bay Water Park, Florida's only spring-fed water park. The park offers a flume ride, a sandy beach, bird and reptile shows, a river boat cruise, canoe/kayak rentals and scuba diving in an underwater cave, "Hospital Hole," where local legend claims injured fish came to heal.
Anglers frequently catch bass and record-breaking grouper in the crystal-clear river. Weekiwachee Preserve protects dense hardwood swamps, fresh and saltwater marshes and pine-covered sandhill habitats along several miles of Weeki Wachee and Mud rivers. It is best known for the shy, elusive Florida black bears that live deep within the swamp.