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 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 more than 60 years, Weeki Wachee has featured live mermaid performances in an underwater glass theater. In 2008, it became a state park. The 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.
February 27, 2019 - 8:49am
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.