Brooksville is a city of nearly 8,000 residents located a few miles inland on the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of the state’s west coast.
Part of the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater metropolitan areas, the city offers visitors a variety of recreational options, including state and national parks, world-class beaches, and arts and cultural attractions.
Day trips to Orlando in the east and Tampa in the south are easy, but there are plenty of options nearby for those who don’t want to waste precious time in the car.
Here are 15 things to do in and around Brooksville.
1. Brooksville Visitor Information Center
Although they are generally ignored by all but the most savvy travelers, the humble visitor information center is a true traveler’s gem, especially for those visiting the area for the first time.
Located on Cortez Avenue in town, the Brooksville Visitor Information Center is staffed by knowledgeable and enthusiastic locals who are an excellent community resource in their own right.
The centre has free brochures, maps and travel magazines. Many of them have plenty of valuable coupons for lodging, dining, and local attractions that often offer discounts and special offers that can save you a few dollars.
2. Tom Vine Park
Conveniently located in the city center, Tom Vine Park is a free attraction popular with activity-loving locals and tourists alike.
The park features several trails perfect for morning or afternoon strolls, as well as covered gazebos and picnic areas.
Playgrounds, swings and baseball fields complete the park’s facilities. Throughout the year, it also hosts several fairs and festivals, one of the most popular being the annual Park Arts and Crafts Festival, which has been going strong for 35 years.
3. Hernando Oaks Golf and Country Club
The Sunshine State is one of the country’s premier golfing destinations, and as many states dig out of cold, snowy winters, Florida golfers are putting on sunscreen and playing.
The championship 18-hole course at Hernando Oaks Golf and Country Club is Brooksville’s premier golf course, just 7,000 yards from the blue tee.
This makes it longer than many of its contemporaries, and despite a variety of tee options, it’s suitable for players of most ages and skill levels.
Tee times can be booked online, as well as at the facility’s popular restaurants.
4. May-Stringer House
Located in Museum Court in Brooksville, the May-Stringer House is home to the Hernando Heritage Museum; they are a must-see for those interested in learning about the history of the area.
One of the best preserved historic buildings in the area, the house is set on a scenic hill overlooking the city.
Its exhibits include more than 10,000 objects related to the establishment, settlement, and development of the area, and docent tours are offered on a regular basis, lasting about an hour.
Rumor has it that the house is haunted, and for the less squeamish travelers, nighttime ghost tours are available if arranged in advance.
5. Belle Parc RV Resort
For RV enthusiasts 55 and older, Belle Parc RV Resort will be a great place to park and relax while visiting Brooksville.
Belle Parc is more of a resort than a typical RV camp, close to local attractions and offering visitors a wealth of options for activities.
While many choose to kill time with good books and old friends, others choose to fill their schedules with beach trips, kayaking and exploring the area’s many historic sites.
Check out their website for a full list of amenities.
6. Rising Sun Tavern and Market
Located on South Street in scenic downtown Brooksville, the Rising Sun Bistro and Market is a popular destination for those looking to enjoy fine dining at a reasonable price in a cozy family-style restaurant.
The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner menus with many traditional dishes, most of which are made with fresh local produce.
They’re also particularly known for their coffee, which they source from local small-batch roasters and blend on-site.
Please check their schedules before you go, as their hours vary from day to day. They are closed on Sundays and only open for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays.
7. NJoy Spirits Distillery
NJoy Spirits is one of the region’s premier wineries with nearly 100 acres of farmland. They are mainly dedicated to growing sugar cane and rye, which are used to distill rum and whisky respectively.
The facility is open to the public Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
Site and distillery tours are offered, with free samples along the way for those of legal drinking age.
Most guests find the process of turning ordinary ingredients into intoxicating booze fascinating, and there’s a great gift shop on-site.
8. Boyette’s Grove
Boyett’s Grove is described as a unique combination of citrus farm, safari park and prospector’s camp. It’s one of those cool local attractions that usually manages to exceed guests’ expectations.
It’s located on the Spring Lake Highway in Brooksville, and for fun at the market, it features mini golf, a gold rush area, an art gallery, an ice cream parlour and a gift shop.
Needless to say, boredom isn’t usually an issue at Boyett’s Grove, but this place does draw a crowd. To avoid crowds, consider making a morning visit when it first opens for the day.
9. Chinssegut Mountain Museum
The Chinsegut Hill Museum in Brooksville is housed in a sugar cane plantation estate dating back to the mid-19th century.
It features stunning traditional southern architecture typical of the era, and a guided tour is the best way to gain insight into the plantation, history, and life of its former inhabitants.
The museum’s exhibits include historical artifacts and memorabilia, and they also regularly host special events and guest speakers.
There are also on-site cabins for those looking to spend a night or two on a small stretch of the Old South.
10. Brooksville Blueberry Festival
Blueberries haven’t always been a staple of Florida agriculture like melons, strawberries, and tomatoes, but in recent years they’ve begun to be grown by a large number of growers. The counties surrounding Brooksville are among the most prolific blueberry producers in the state.
The Florida Blueberry Festival is held every year in Brooksville for a few days in March or April, when the weather is usually nearly perfect. Events include live entertainment, arts and crafts, and a variety of food and adult beverages, mostly from local producers.
The festival takes place on the Court Lawn in the city center; children under 10 get in for free, although adults pay a nominal fee.
11. Withlacoochee National Forest
Withlacoochee State Forest is a large area of preserved land just 20 minutes north of downtown Brooksville, a convenient location for those who want to experience nature without spending half a day behind a windshield Day trip options.
The forest includes a variety of environments and is popular with wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, hikers, and mountain bikers, but it’s perhaps best known for its nearly 50-mile scenic state road.
A variety of unique Florida animals are often seen along the way, many of which are active, especially during the dim hours of the morning and evening.
12. Annual Halloween Haunted House and Fall Festival
Every year, the Hernando Historical Museum Association hosts its annual Halloween Haunted House and Fall Festival. It is held in two distinct periods in mid and late October.
The event, which celebrates the arrival of fall, includes a variety of fun and often creepy activities, such as ghost stories around the campfire, haunted house tours, and fortune tellers.
Admission is not expensive, but some activities can be modest but extra.
The festival usually features local food trucks serving a variety of delicious treats, and kids are encouraged to dress up in their favorite outfits.
13. Leepa-Rattner Art Museum
For those who like the idea of cruising south on the scenic highway in front of the Gulf of Mexico, Tarpon Springs would be a great destination.
Located on the campus of St. Petersburg College, the Leepa-Rattner Art Museum is the premier museum in this quaint seaside city, focusing on contemporary art.
Many of the works in the museum’s collection feature local themes such as commercial fishing and sponge diving, many of which were created by well-known local and regional artists.
Admission is cheap, and most guests are pleasantly surprised by the range and quality of works on display.
14. Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens Tampa is one of Florida’s theme park heavyweights, attracting huge numbers of visitors from around the country and around the world each year.
Busch Gardens is like a zoo, amusement park and world-class live entertainment all under one roof. For many tourists with children, this is where they spend most of their vacations in Florida.
In addition to traditional animal attractions and exhilarating rides, Busch Gardens offers a variety of accommodation, dining and entertainment options. There are even some for adults who happen to have an evening free of their own.
15. Florida Museum of Photographic Art
Photography as an artistic medium is often overlooked, but in the hands of professionals, cameras can capture moments that other artists cannot.
Located in Tampa’s trendy waterfront arts district, the Florida Museum of Photographic Art was established in 2001.
The museum’s collection includes historical and contemporary photography from locally, nationally and internationally renowned photographers.
In addition to permanent exhibits, the museum hosts temporary exhibits from other institutional and private collections. There are also guided tours, guest speakers, and instructional sessions for adults and children, so check out their website’s calendar of events.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Brooksville, FL (FL)
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