Florida Travel and Tourism
Scenic Inverness, Florida
Inverness Sign Courtesy www.citrushillshomesale.com
Inverness, Florida. Family friendly atmosphere for fun, food, fishing, forests, folk life, family camping, picnicking, RVing, scenic hiking trails, horseback riding trails, hiking, biking, swimming, jet skiing, air boats, State and National Parks are but a few reasons why Inverness, Florida is the state’s best kept secret tourist destination. But we have so much more to see and do! Of course, I believe Inverness’ greatest claim to fame is that it is the Home of International Travel Reviews and its Owner – Rick Stoneking Sr. Me!
Florida is a peninsula, “A peninsula (Latin: paeninsula from paene “almost” and insula “island”) is a piece of land bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland that sticks out from the rest of the country” – like a finger, with the Atlantic on the East side, and the Gulf of Mexico on the west side.
Inverness is on the west side; only a forty-five-minute car ride from the Gulf of Mexico, and only a couple hours NNE of the Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater triangle.
Florida got its nickname – the “Sunshine State” because it has a warm climate and so many days of sunshine. These conditions have attracted our northern friends (we call them snowbirds) and vacationers since the 1920s. Everyone loves a beach and some of Florida’s best beaches are all close by.
Inverness, FL rates high on the livability Index, ranking above the US average for Low Cost of Living, Sunny Weather, Lots of Local Amenities, and High Graduation Rates.
The Citrus County Historical Society
The Citrus County Historical Society, Inc. (CCHS, INC.) was originally formed in 1963, and incorporated in 1979. Since the year 1985, the Citrus County Historical Society has been located in The Old 1912 County Courthouse, located at 1 Courthouse Square, Inverness, Florida. The historic Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Thanks to Central Business Development grants, the city has been able to retain its historic character. Twelve of Inverness’ downtown buildings are part of the historic plaque program.
Inverness Connection to Scotland
“The city of Inverness was originally named “Tompkinsville” (Still an Inverness neighborhood). Settlement of the area dates back to 1868. Tompkinsville was sold to a firm in Jacksonville, and the name was changed to “Inverness”.
According to the late historian Mary McRae of Homosassa, Inverness got its name from a lonely Scotsman, far away from his home, who gazed upon the blue waters of the Native American-named Tsala Apopka Lake and thought the area looked like the headlands and Lochs of Inverness, Scotland. Inver is a Gaelic word meaning “mouth of the river”, and through the Scottish city flows the River Ness, originating from Loch Ness.”
The Columbia Hotel shown above is often mistaken in pictures for the Inverness Castle, which is actually across the river. The real Inverness Castle is across the River Ness. below.:
Are you an Elvis Presley Fan? If so, you will want to visit our Downtown Museum featuring both history & modern culture. There you will find The Old Courthouse that Elvis Presley made famous when he filmed a courtroom scene here in the movie – Follow that Dream in 1961. Follow That Dream (1962) Soundtracks on IMDb. See above photo of the courthouse.
For more information from Visit Florida click Nostalgia Reigns in Inverness as Elvis Movie Plays on Historic Courthouse Lawn
But that courthouse was not the very first. Check out this site for information on the first original Inverness courthouse.
Things to Do in Inverness, FL
Enjoy Warm Inverness Weather at Beaches & Parks.
Inverness has many local beaches and parks for family enjoyment and for singles too. Picnics swimming, hiking, fishing, air boating, water skiing, Jet skiing, birding, hiking, biking, camping and more.
BBOnline has compiled a list of these Hotspots to make your vacation complete.
TripBuzz list of the best things to do in Inverness, Florida features the top 106 nearby activities — including 52 great attractions with user approval ratings of 90% or more! Inverness, FL has a variety of great sights and experiences nearby. Top categories include: Outdoor Places, Sports & Fitness, Tours, and Water Activities. The results below include the top 12 things to do within the city of Inverness, FL, followed by 95 popular activities in nearby cities, including Crystal River, Homosassa, Ocala, Brooksville, The Villages and Marathon/
61 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Inverness, FL This TripBuzz list includes 61 free or cheap things to do in or near Inverness, Florida, including 47 different types of inexpensive activities like Bike Paths, Pubs, Parks and History Museums.
82 things to do with kids in or near Inverness, Florida, TripBuzz also found 73 fun activities for kids in nearby cities within 25 miles like Homosassa, Crystal River, Ocala and Brooksville. From Rails to Trails, South Citrus Springs Bike Trail, to Old Courthouse Heritage Museum, the Inverness area offers 52 different types of family activities, including: Bike Paths, Parks, History Museums and Dog Park.
One of Florida’s most popular locations is the Flying Eagle Wildlife Management Area. The 10,950-acre Flying Eagle Preserve. The “Flying Eagle WMA (Wildlife Management Area) is a mosaic of lakes, marshes, and swamps along five miles of the Withlacoochee River in southeastern Citrus County. More than 10,000 acres provide recreation opportunities and help recharge the Floridian aquifer. Hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and primitive camping are some of the recreational opportunities available.
There are 13 miles of trails for bicycling, and 16 miles of wooded trails for hiking. Wildlife on the area include wild hog, white-tailed deer, gray squirrel, gopher tortoise, American alligator, swallow-tailed kites and wild turkey. Roads are scenic and pass through either dry, sandy, wooded hammocks or old pasture.
Horseback riding is allowed on nine miles of trails. Children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when horseback riding on public lands. “
The Old Atlantic Coast Line rail depot.
The Atlantic Coast Line Rail Depot, 315 N Apopka Ave, Inverness, Florida 33451 pictured below, still exists on North Apopka Avenue near the Withlacoochee State Trail, another of Florida’s most popular tourism destinations for out of towner’s and locals alike including Kaethe Illing and Ewald Gleich seen here.
The Withlacoochee State Trail extends 46 miles along a former Atlantic Coast Line railroad, from Citrus Springs in Citrus County through Hernando County to Dade City in Pasco County. Situated between Orlando and Tampa, it hosts a steady stream of visitors and locals on its paved path and adjacent equestrian trail.
The Trail is a “must-do” pure Florida experience for any trail enthusiast, hiker, backpacker, or those simply interested in scenery and architecture.’
The Florida Trail Association chose Inverness as a “Gateway Community”. The trail has multiple entry points in the cities along the trail. The Inverness trail head, is on US 41 in Inverness. Coming from the south on US 41, turn left on North Apopka Avenue (470). The marked trail head is a few blocks up North Apopka. Be sure to get a copy of the trail rules.
See also Inverness Historical Trail Copyright 2005 by Steve Rajtar for a list of the historic sites you will pass through on the way.
Inverness – A City of Distinction
Among many accolades “since 1995, Inverness has been recognized as a “Tree City USA” by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the US Forest Service.” Further, in 2009, “Inverness was named “City of the Year” by the Forty and Eight, a national veterans’ organization.”
One of Inverness most popular festivals is The Great American Cooter Festival held annually. In spite of the name, it has nothing to do with a bunch of old codgers getting together. It is actually held in honor of the Cooter Turtle, and draws families, children, young adults, and nature tourists from all over the country, even from overseas.
Florida Cooters are large turtles, ranging in size from 23 cm to 33 cm (9 – 13 in.), and are flatter in appearance than the similar slider turtle (Trachemys scripta)
Festival of the Arts
Since 1971 the first weekend in November marks the Festival of the Arts a juried fine art show that has grown to include over 100 artists. Event is free and open to the public. This 2-day juried art show features over 100 artists and crafters. This year’s awards: Best of Show $1,000; Best of Division I-IV $400, Award of Excellence $250, Award of Merit $200; Division V First Place $150, Second Place $100 and Third Place $75. Exhibitor applications online.
Inverness Neighborhood History
Inverness itself is an attraction. Our neighborhoods even speak history. Inverness has “many small neighborhoods, each with a distinctive past and flavor. We take pride in the rich history of these communities. Families, couples and even single travelers can drive through these communities to see how they have developed unto today. Many of these communities’ street signs bear the names of Inverness” founding families.”
Take a leisurely scenic drive and visit the many locations where you will find a variety of wildlife including our Sand Hill Cranes. You might even find them raising a ruckus over a wrong order at a Subway Drive-Through
History of the Valerie Theatre. “Mrs. Pearl G. Maddox built the theatre in 1926-27 during the silent movie era, naming it the Valerie after her daughter. The first movie shown was “The Only Woman” in 1927; the last was “The Untouchables” in 1987. Herbert Pittman of Clearwater leased the theatre when “talking equipment” was installed. Prices were 10 cents for children and 25 cents for adults. At a time when other towns prohibited Sunday shows, City Council boldly adopted a resolution to permit Sunday movies, boosting trade in the City and making the Theatre a social focal point for many years.”
“Many people, including many Floridians, believe there are two Floridas. First, there is the southern part of the state known for its beaches, the Everglades, and an identity closer in some regards to Latin America than most of the United States. Then there is the northern and panhandle parts of the state, which share an identity with the rest of the Deep South, strong farming traditions, and more pine trees than palm trees by far.”
“Citrus County is in that northern part of Florida but not all that far north of Tampa and on the cusp of beginnings and endings of many aspects of Florida, which makes it a fascinating place. The most-promising industry now, however, is tourism, with fishing and exploration of the springs, rivers, and Gulf itself the key attraction.”
“Teen diving in Rainbow Springs with a GoPro to capture video of fish (photo by Mike Walker)”
Citrus County has an ace up its sleeve that other Gulf Coast counties can’t match: its warm waters and geographic location attract swarms of the gentle aquatic mammals known as Manatees, especially in the winter, and people flock to boat cruises to see these unique and lovable creatures in the wild. While manatees can be found in many parts of Florida, Citrus County seems to be the best place to ensure seeing one.”
Citrus County Speedway
CCS Wingless Sprint Car Series feature race at Citrus County Speedway in Inverness, FL on Saturday, February 1, 2014, included full feature race and GoPro camera video from the cars of Aaron Pierce and Shane Butler
Inverness also has a small airport operated by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office aviation unit located 1 mile (1.6 km) south of the city limits for those who want to fly into Inverness.
Other Attractions Close to Inverness
Inverness has many more attractions. This is but a taste of the huge number of things to do and events to participate in while here. Inverness is a very economical place to vacation, and a great focal point to many other attractions within easy driving distance.
From Inverness, some of Florida’s top tourist destinations are within a two-hour drive. Destinations like Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater triangle. Attractions include Busch Gardens, Flight enthusiasts shouldn’t miss SimCenter Tampa Bay’s – CockpitSonicUSA, located in Clearwater, Florida, CockpitSonicUSA is a great way to have fun when you aren’t at Florida’s famous Clearwater Beach. History buffs won’t want to miss The Tampa Bay History Center a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. The History Center includes three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space focusing on 12,000 years of Florida history
Other attractions include Florida’s newest Family attraction LEGOLAND
LEGOLAND® Billund Resort welcomes you with high-speed action and excitement for the whole family. More than 50 exciting rides and plenty of fun events are waiting just for you.
Orlando theme parks like Disney, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios. To the east is my favorite – The Kennedy Space Center. Visitors to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will soon be able to experience what it’s like to walk on Mars.
To the NE you can reach Daytona Beach and the Daytona Speedway
Further south you can even visit the Pinecraft Amish community in Sarasota. “Pinecraft is a small neighborhood community of approximately 3,000 Amish and Mennonites. It is situated near the intersection of Bahia Vista Avenue and Beneva Road in Sarasota, Florida, USA. It is a popular winter vacation spot for many North American Amish and Mennonites, particularly from Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.” From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
These are all within a two-hour drive of Inverness, Florida. So come visit, stay awhile, and even use this as an economical base for further adventures.
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For more information about Florida Tourism visit the State of Florida Travel Page.
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Rick Stoneking Sr, is a retired, disabled, veteran, minister and formal federal agent. He is now the Founder/Owner of International Travel Reviews (ITR) and a #DisabilityAdvocate for #AccessibleTravel.
Rick has been writing in one form or another for over forty years. He is published in multiple genres in both Christian and secular circles. He has written everything from police reports to a Christian eBook, to a year-long daily devotional series. He has published articles and columns in well-recognized state and international magazines.