The area around Spring Hill serves as one of Florida’s premier destinations for ecotourists who want to experience Hernando County's pristine Gulf Coast wilderness. Extensive bayous provide for excellent birding, and outdoorsmen can enjoy kayaking and fishing at parks like Weeki Wachee Springs. Although salt marshes dominate the coastline, there are some sandy beaches within 45 miles of Spring Hill.
Three-acre Pine Island Park, also known as Alfred McKethan Park, sits 12 miles northeast of Spring Hill. Located in the Gulf of Mexico’s Rock Island Bay, Pine Island Beach caters to families with clean, well-maintained white sand and shallow waters for swimming. An adjacent playground provides an additional attraction for young children, while adults can make use of a sand volleyball court and cook up some food on the available grills. An on-site cafe sells drinks and food, and assorted vendors have small watercraft for rent.
Low-Key Freshwater Relaxation
The town of Hernando maintains a freshwater beach as part of the Hernando Beach Community Park, located off Route 41, 40 miles north of Spring Hill. Hernando Beach Community Park sit on the shores of Tsala Apopka Lake, a nearly 20,000-acre chain of marshes and pools. The beach comprises a portion of a 3-acre park, which offers free parking in a paved lot. Park patrons can enjoy a designated swimming area, or make use of an adjacent boat ramp to access the greater lake. A ideal setting for a relaxed weekend outing, the park also features shuffleboard and volleyball courts, a covered picnic area, restrooms and barbecue grills.
Mini-Miami on the Gulf Coast
For a resort-style beach, make the 50-mile drive south from Spring Hill to Clearwater Beach. Sand Key Park provides public access to Clearwater’s powdery sand, which stretches for miles along a shallow, turquoise stretch of the Gulf. Palm trees complete the picture of a tropical paradise, and the city provides full-time lifeguards to ensure that guests can enjoy the water in safety. Overnight visitors can choose from full service, luxurious resort hotels such as the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort, or retro beach motels such as Frenchy’s Oasis.
Fred Howard Park
Fred Howard Park, located 35 miles south of Spring Hill, welcomes over 2 million visitors a year to its 155 acres of pristine wetlands and coastal forest. The park contains an all natural white sand beach where swimmers can enjoy temperate water and perhaps catch sight of a dolphin or manatee. Birders can keep their eyes peeled for the nesting eagles and ospreys that call the park home. A small fee allows for parking and entry, and enables the park to provide a range of amenities including multiple restrooms and picnic shelters, two playgrounds and a seasonal lifeguard.