Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2

Scenic Inverness, Florida - Florida Travel and Tourism Part 2

Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2

Florida Travel and Tourism

Part 2

Scenic Inverness, Florida


Rick Stoneking Sr. CEO

Heather Pendley,  Submissions Editor

Inverness Sign Courtesy www.citrushillshomesale.com


Introduction To Scenic Inverness, Florida

Most importantly, Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 introduces you to scenic Inverness, Florida. First, Inverness, Florida is the state’s best kept secret tourist destination. As well, Inverness Florida is rich in history. Also, Inverness has a diverse offering of activities to suit everyone. Some of these include the following.

  • Family friendly atmosphere offering fun for everyone.
  • Great food with a wide variety.
  • Freshwater Fishing with saltwater fishing only 35 minutes away.
  • State and National forests with scenic trails for hiking, biking, walking and horseback riding trails.
  • Folk life with family camping, picnicking.
  • RVing includes repair and parking for quiet relaxing.
  • Swimming and jet skiing on dozens of lakes.
  • Florida Manatees that you can see year round.
  • Airboats that fly across the marshes and waterways allowing you to see things you wouldn’t otherwise.

Obviously, 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 Travel And Tourism Part 2 – Florida Geography

First of all, 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”. Thus, Florida juts down like a finger, with the Atlantic on the East side, the Gulf of Mexico on the west side. Of course, we also have the Caribbean at the bottom.

In addition, Inverness is on the west side; only a forty-five-minute car ride from the Gulf of Mexico.  Also, we are only a couple hours NNE of the Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater triangle.

Moreover, Florida got its nickname – the “Sunshine State“, because of our warm climate.  So, that results in 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.


Livability Index

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.


Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 – Inverness History

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.

Kaethe Illing and Ewald Gleich from Germany in front of the Old Historic Courthouse in Inverness, Florida
Kaethe Illing and Ewald Gleich of Biblis, Germany at the Old Historic Courthouse where Elvis Presley filmed “Follow That Dream” in 1961.   Photo by Rick Stoneking Sr. For International Travel Reviews. – Inverness Florida Travel and Tourism Part 2.

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.


Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 – 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 in Inverness, Scotland
The Columbia Hotel in Inverness, Scotland

The Columbia Hotel shown above is often mistaken in pictures for the Inverness Castle. However, Inverness Castle  is actually across the River Ness. See below.

The Inverness Castle Courtesy istock Photo
Closeup of the river side of Inverness, Castle. Castle Photos courtesy of  iStock Photos

Inverness Attractions

Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 introduces you to many Florida attractions. Obviously, we get many Elvis Presley Fans. 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. Most importantly, Elvis filmed the entire courtroom scene here for the movie – Follow that Dream in 1961Follow 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.


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.”


Things to Do in Inverness, FL

Enjoy Warm Inverness Weather at Beaches & Parks.

Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 introduces you to many Florida attractions for both singles and families. For example, Inverness has many local beaches and parks for family enjoyment, Also, singles enjoy the many activities. For instance, picnics, swimming, hiking, fishing, air boating, water skiing, Jet skiing, birding, hiking, biking, camping and more.

BBOnline has compiled a list of these Inverness, Florida Hotspots to make your vacation complete.

In addition, see the TripBuzz list of the best things to do in Inverness, Florida. The TripBuzz list features the top 106 nearby activities. Moreover, it includes 52 great attractions with user approval ratings of 90% or more!


Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 – Popular Fun Activities

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 in Inverness, FL. Moreover, it is 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.


Florida Wildlife

Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 also introduces one of Florida’s most popular wildlife locations. For instance, the Flying Eagle Wildlife Management Area. Surprisingly large, the Flying Eagle Preserve includes an area of 10,950 acres. The “Flying Eagle WMA (Wildlife Management Area) is a mosaic of lakes, marshes, and swamps along five miles of the Withlacoochee River. Moreover, Flying Eagle Preserve in southeastern Citrus County provides a lot of recreation opportunities. For instance, these include canoeing and kayaking. As well, other activities include hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and primitive camping.  Recreational opportunities abound. In addition, the Preserve helps recharge the Florida aquifer. .

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.

Also, horseback riding is allowed on nine miles of trails. Children under the age of 16 must wear a helmet when horseback riding on public lands. “


The Old Atlantic Coast Line Rail Depot.

Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 also introduces The Atlantic Coast Line Rail Depot. The depot is at 315 N Apopka Ave, Inverness, Florida 33451. Moreover, pictured below, the depot still exists on North Apopka Avenue near the Withlacoochee State Trail.


Obviously, the depot and especially the caboose, make up one of Florida’s most popular tourist destinations. And, this includes out of towner’s and locals alike, including Katharina (Kaethe) Illing and Ewald Gleich from Biblis, Germany seen below next to the little red caboose. Be sure to read the Adventures of Two Germans In Florida. Written by Katharina Illing

Withlacoochee Caboose, Inverness, Florida

Kaethe Illing & Ewald Gleich of Biblis, Germany at the Withlacoochee Trailhead's Red Caboose
Kaethe Illing & Ewald Gleich of Biblis, Germany at the Withlacoochee Trailhead. Photo courtesy of Rick Stoneking Sr. International Travel Reviews

Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 – The Withlacoochee State Trail

Without a doubt, hikers, bikers, and horseback riders should visit The Withlacoochee State Trail.  In fact, the trail extends 46 miles along a former Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Moreover, it takes you from Citrus Springs in Citrus County, through Hernando County, to Dade City in Pasco County. As well, situated between Orlando and Tampa provides a glimpse of Florida’s diverse and abundant foul, foliage, and fauna, As a result, it hosts a steady stream of visitors and locals on its paved path. Moreover, an equestrian trail follows beside the paved pathway.

Obviously, the trail is a “must-do” experience for any trail enthusiast, hiker, cyclist, backpacker, or those simply interested in our scenery.

Indeed, the Florida Trail Association chose Inverness as a “Gateway Community“. Obviously, because of the trails multiple entry points in cities along the trail. The Inverness trail head is located on US 41 in Inverness. Coming from the south on US 41, turn left on North Apopka Avenue (highway 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 Festivals

The Great American Cooter Festival

Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 – The Cooter Festival. 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.


Kaethe Illing with a Cooter Turtle Statue
Kaethe Illing of Biblis, Germany sharing the love with a Cooter Turtle Statue.  Photo by Rick Stoneking Sr. for International Travel Reviews

Florida Cooters are large turtles, ranging from 23 cm to 33 cm (9 – 13 in.), and 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

Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 proves that 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


2 Sand Hill Cranes at a Subway Drive-Through
Sand Hill Cranes at a Subway Drive-Through


_Sand Hill Crane Wings Spread about to fly off
_Sand Hill Crane Wings Spread about to fly off.   Can you believe this Ma? They got our order wrong again! I’m outta here! Photographer: Rick Stoneking Sr. International Travel Reviews

Valerie Theater

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.”


About Citrus County, Inverness, and Florida’s Gulf Frontier

Firstly, many Floridians believe there are two parts to Florida’s. First, the southern part of the state. Certainly, this part of Florida includes its beaches and the Everglades. Furthermore, its identity is closer to Latin America than most of the United States. In contrast, the northern and panhandle parts of the state, share an identity with the rest of the Deep South. For instance, 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.”


Citrus County Manatees

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.”

Photo of a Florida Manatee
Florida Manatee – Photo of a Florida Manatee taken by Ewald Gleich of Biblis, Germany for International Travel Reviews

Underwater photo of a baby Manatee and a snorkeler. Snorkel with this friendly Baby Manatee in the clear spring water In Crystal River, Florida for the article Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2
Baby Manatee In Crystal River, Florida Courtesy www.RiverVentures.com


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

This article, Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2, shows that Inverness has many attractions. This is but a taste of the huge number of things to do, and events to take part in while here. Inverness is a very economical place to vacation. And, Inverness makes 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 the Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater triangle. Attractions include Busch Gardens, Flight enthusiasts shouldn’t miss SimCenter Tampa Bay’s – CockpitSonicUSA, 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


Red, Black and Yellow LegoLand Banner
LegoLand Banner

Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2 – introduces 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 for you.

Of course, Orlando theme parks like Disney, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios are all close by. 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. And, NASA is a very accessible destination for those with mobility issues.

To the Northeast you can reach Daytona Beach, and the Daytona Speedway.


Visit An Amish Community –  – Yes, In Florida!

Further south you can even visit the Pinecraft Amish community in Sarasota. Only a three-hour drive!

“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. 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 except Sarasota. So come visit, stay awhile, and even use Inverness, Florida as an economic base for further adventures.


More Information

Remember to Request Free Travel Planners and Guides for Florida

For more information about Florida Tourism visit the State of Florida Travel Page.



Inverness, Florida is the undiscovered gem of Florida’s gulf coast. Perhaps this motto should be, if you can’t do it here, you can do it close by. Lastly, if you enjoyed this article – Florida Travel And Tourism Part 2, please leave a comment.


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Rick Stoneking Sr. CEO
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Inverness, Florida

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About The Author

Rick Stoneking Sr, is a retired, disabled, veteran and minister. Indeed, Rick Stoneking Sr. is the Founder/Owner of International Publishing Group, LLC™. Second, he is also the Founder/Owner of InternationalTravelReviews.com™ . Rick operated ITR as a sole proprietor. Also, ITR is now a division of IPG. Third, ITR publishes The International Travel Herald™.

Rick’s writing spans over forty years. Rick’s published articles and columns appeared in recognized state and international magazines. His published articles include both Christian and secular articles.  Moreover, Rick wrote two books – a Christian eBook, and a year-long daily devotional series.


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