Florida’s Nature Coast Overview & History
Covering nine counties from Pasco County to Ochlockonee Bay in Wakulla County, this 980,000 acre stretch known as Florida’s Nature Coast is a sanctuary to 19 endangered species. Native American archeological sites, wildlife parks and abundant undeveloped Florida Gulf coastal access are characteristic of the area.
Brackish creeks run through forests of towering pines and shady oaks where bald eagles build their nests, nature trails tour you through a habitat that’s a living history over a century preserved. Those visiting the area can experience the Southern hospitality and undeveloped historical Florida first hand on Florida’s Nature Coast.
With its rare flowers, sprouting ferns, abundant wildlife and shady old trees, the Nature Coast earns the true meaning behind its name. The west Indian manatee, Florida black bear, bald eagle, Florida sand hill crane, red cockaded woodpecker, least tern, gopher tortoise, Florida panther and many other mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are some of the endangered species that call the Nature Coast home.
“A string of counties studded with emerald-like gulf waters, deep springs and rivers, stretching along the same Florida coast.” This was how world-famous naturalist John Muir described The Nature Coast in 1867 and enchantingly the coast still holds this charm today. Much of the area has remained unchanged from its original appearance. A natural vacation wonderland for families, The Nature Coast offers unique and affordable adventures.
Crystal clear springs are ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving with their extensive depth, underground caverns, exotic fish, clarity and cool 72°F temperature. There are many locations to choose from including King Springs in Citrus County, Manatee Springs in Levy County, and Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon. As well, local salt flats and deep sea fishing grounds beckon you to unwind in old southern style.
State Wildlife parks and Wilderness boat tours cruise you through the jungle of the Nature Coast. Homosassa Springs offers an aquatic experience when you visit the State Wildlife Park’s underwater observatory. Indian manatees and tropical saltwater fish are just a few of the regulars here. Wakulla County is home to the Apalachicola National Forest, a winter haven for thousands of migratory birds.