The Nature Coast is full of natural springs, lakes, rivers, the Gulf of Mexico, thousands of acres of nature preserve, — and plenty of other year-round opportunities where outdoor enthusiasts can hike and explore. Check out these five day trips where the fun remains wild and natural:

 

Weeki Wachee Springs

Each day more than 117 million gallons of fresh 74-degree water bubbles up out of subterranean caverns. From the springs, the Weeki Wachee River flows over 12 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. The translucent water and shallow sandy bottom of the river create a dazzling experience. Visitors can take a riverboat cruise, watch an underwater mermaid show, and check out Buccaneer Bay, Florida’s only spring fed water park.

 

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Visitors can see West Indian manatees every day of the year from the park’s underwater observatory in the main spring and visit with black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles, and river otters. Recreational opportunities include picnicking, nature study, and bird watching.

 

Homosassa Butterfly

Flutter over to Homosassa Butterfly, the largest butterfly attraction and educational facility on the Nature Coast. Stroll through the natural butterfly habitat filled with hundreds of colorful winged wonders feeding on flowering nectar plants while hearing the peaceful sounds of nature.

 

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge

The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 31,000 acres of saltwater bays, estuaries and brackish marshes at the mouth of the Chassahowitzka River. Perfect of bird watching, the park is home to over 250 species of birds as well as 50 species of reptiles and amphibians and at least 25 different species of mammals including the endangered West Indian Manatee.

 

Crystal River

Spring is scalloping season in Crystal River. Take a cruise out on the Gulf of Mexico where the scenery is beautiful and the scallops are plentiful. Upon your return, take a swim with the manatees. On land, Crystal River is an archaeological site that houses Native American burial grounds.

 

GlenLakes

Every day brings a new adventure and an appreciation for Florida’s ecosystem, and GlenLakes is in located the heart of it all. Wake up each day enjoying your cup of coffee and take note of your natural neighbors. Adjoining the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, which borders the Gulf of Mexico, GlenLakes literally borders on wild. Nature lovers, fitness aficionados, golfers and those who love an action-packed social life—GlenLakes is it! 

 

To explore our scenic location, please click here to view our interaction map.

 

One of the best perks about living in Florida is the year-round tropical climate and the constant sunshine accompanying you during your time on the court. The summer season tends to lean a little warmer than usual but we don’t want your tennis skills to suffer because of the increasing heat. Our tips below will help you keep your opponent on his toes despite the rising temperatures:

 

Dress Like You’re Playing at Wimbledon – White or light-colored clothing helps reflect the sun’s heat, not absorb it. If you don’t believe it works, go put your hand on a white car, then see how long you can keep it there on a black car. On hot summer days try to incorporate as much light-colored or white clothing as you can. White hats can be especially effective.

 

Pay Attention to Your Feet – Hard courts trap heat and then send that right up through your feet. It’s essential to wear quality tennis shoes to keep the bottoms of your feet and the rest of your body cool.

 

The Jimmy Connors Special – Jimmy Connors was one of the few you would see on the pro tour that would soak a bandana in cold water and tie around his neck, says Matt Gleason, president of USTA Southern Arizona Tennis. Connors was onto something. Your body’s pulse points, such as behind the ears, the temples and the wrists, are sensitive to the cold. Sticking your wrists under cold water, for instance, can produce a cooling effect. When you’re on the court, use a bandana or wrist bands soaked in cold water to help you stay cool. There are now several companies that make so-called cooling bandanas, which are designed to stay cold longer.

 

Join A Club – GlenLakes Country Club in Weeki Wachee ensures that all of the necessary summer amenities are available to help you beat the heat. Plenty of drinking water is available on six, professional clay courts  and when you’re done, cool off in the junior Olympic sized pool or enjoy an air-conditioned lunch at the state-of-the-art clubhouse.

 

Starting from the low $200s, GlenLakes homes offer beautiful views of the golf course, lake and much more.  To learn more about the GlenLakes lifestyle and everything it has to offer, Contact them at www.glenlakes.com.

 

Fourth of July is just around the corner!  Get in the spirit with this year’s events that are jam-packed with red, white and blue fun and right around the corner.  We have everything from mind-blowing firework shows to patriotic picnics, so gather your family and friends and join in on the fun!

 

Independence Day Patriotic Picnic On The Water: This (free) event is located at Craig Park in Tarpon Springs and includes live entertainment, games, prizes, paddleboat rides, a water slide, food, drinks and multiple contests to choose from. Fireworks will even be set off from Sunset Beach. Snag a seat at nearby Fred Howard Park Beach, where the parking fee has been waived for the day, for the best viewing.

 

All Day Celebration at GlenLakes:  The residents of GlenLakes definitely have the best views, especially this time of year. Golf tournament, backyard BBQ party complete with all the fixin’s and fireworks will all be happening on Monday, July 3rd.  This is a celebration you won’t want to miss. For reservations, visit GlenLakes.com or call 597-9200.

 

July 4th at the Florida Aquarium Firework Cruise: The boat will depart from the Aquarium at 7:30 p.m. for a sunset cruise around the Bay and then returns to the Channel for the most spectacular views of the fireworks. The cruise includes one drink ticket and hors d’oeuvres. Additional drinks will be available for purchase. Aquarium general admission is included in Fireworks Cruise ticket rate.

 

Firework Show Aboard The American Victory Ship: The American Victory Ship offers “the best view in Tampa.”  On top of an amazing firework display, this year’s Family Fun Fest features musical entertainment, a Kid’s Zone and plenty of food trucks to choose from. Where else can you celebrate our country aboard a real-life World Work II victory ship? Click here for more information.

 

Whether you are picnicking on the beach or watching fireworks with the dolphins, the residents of GlenLakes are not far from it all.  Want to stay in for the long weekend?  Enjoy a tasty meal at the GlenLakes Grill Room or gather a few friends for a cocktail at the clubhouse bar and lounge to celebrate.

 

GlenLakes is the perfect place for venturing out or not leaving your backyard.   With country club amenities and a relaxed, yet active atmosphere, residents always have something new to explore. Click here to see what GlenLakes has to offer.

 

A native of Bangkok, Thailand, GlenLakes Executive Chef Mik Wagner’s creations reflect an Asian influence while appealing to the varied palettes of GlenLakes members. Wagner is a graduate of Western Illinois College and Washington Culinary Institute. In the early 1990s, he focused his considerable culinary experience on Spa Cuisine, opening the PGA National Resort and Spa Cuisine Restaurant. Later, he opened Nemacolin Woodland Resort and Spa and Season’s, a spa restaurant, before being named Chef de Cuisine at the Cloister at Sea Island.

Wagner is world renowned for Spa Cuisine, transforming the industry with innovative recipes and techniques. In 2004, Wagner was chosen as one of the lead chefs for the G-8 Summit at the Daufuskie Island Resort in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Throughout his career, Wagner has received numerous awards. His work has been recognized in major publications such as Southern Living, Healthy Living, The New York Times, Spa Finder, Pittsburgh Magazine and Food Management.

Guided by accomplished Wagner, the Grill Room is a member favorite for expertly prepared lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. No staid menus here! Chef Mik is full of delicious surprises, serving up international buffets and even sharing his expertise with demos. Daily Happy Hour, after-dinner drinks and a casual bar menu can be enjoyed at the Main Bar, which also doubles as a sports bar—complete with a special menu—during football season. Check out this delectable dish Chef Wagner is serving this month!

Butter Pecan Duck Coca Cola
1 each whole duck
1 pk. Spring roll paper
2 ounce Chopped pecan
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted soft butter
½ cup honey and Butter (melted)
½ cup Sambvca
½ cup coke
2 Tablespoons apricot glaze
To taste celery salt & pepper
Con t: (Oil, rosemary, bay leaves, black peppercorn, salt)
Coca Cola Sauce:
In a sauce pan place soft butter, pecan, brown sugar, apricot
and Sambvca and reduced down until thick.

DIRECTIONS:
1. Butcher whole duck as show in a demo. Confit leg and
thigh in casserole pan filled with oil and seasoned with four
tablespoons of salt, rosemary, bay leaves, black peppercorn
and bake in oven at 300 degree F. for two hours.
2. Cut away duck legs from the thigh and set aside. Remove
thigh meat from the bone.
3. In a mixing bowl add pecan, soft butter, brown sugar, celery
salt and pepper. Mixed well, place one sheet of spring roll
paper and place the mixture in the center, then roll in to one
inch thick, using egg white to Seal, and bake in oven until
golden brown.
4. Pan seared duck breast with skin side down on high heat
until skin get crispy, turn over and roasted in over for ten
minutes. Slice thinly and display on a dinner plate with duck
con t spring roll and duck leg. Pull coca cola sauce over
everything on the plate, garnish with fried shredded spring
roll and chopped pecan.

Year after year, GlenLakes has been named a “Top 50 Community” by Where to Retire and Ideal-Living magazines.

Neighborhoods of gracious single-family homes line pedestrian- and golf cart-friendly streets. Beautiful landscaping complements the many water features and endless preserve views. Miles of trails and nature preserve provide refreshing outdoor escapes.
Private club amenities include a clubhouse for social engagement, dining and fitness including a junior Olympic-size pool. Tennis courts, bocce ball courts, four brand-new pickleball courts, and a championship golf course define GlenLakes relaxed, yet very active, country club lifestyle. Residents rest easy knowing that maintenance and security are taken care of in this private, gated community.

Starting from the low $200s, GlenLakes homes offer beautiful views of the golf course, lake and much more. Click here to learn more about the GlenLakes lifestyle and everything it has to offer.

Summer is always a fun time to enjoy Florida’s outdoors, especially on the water, where one can cool down and enjoy the laid-back season. North of Tampa, Florida’s Nature Coast is one of the best spots for a refreshing, natural escape for summer fun. Officially, Florida’s Nature Coast includes eight coastal counties that form Florida’s Big Bend, the area bordering the Gulf of Mexico as the state curves from panhandle to peninsula. The three counties at the bottom of the bend – Pasco, Hernando and Citrus, offer many unique ways to turn up the good times.

Florida’s Nature Coast is one of the best spots to kick your summer into full gear with 3 cool adventures including pristine barrier islands, scenic paddling trails and fun scalloping excursions.

Bayport-Linda Pedersen Paddling Trail
Hernando County, aka Florida’s Adventure Coast, embodies everything that is Florida – from kitsch to the natural outdoors – with beautiful mermaids, endearing manatees, and rural living among emerald green rolling hills dotted by farms and forests.

Florida’s Adventure Coast recently unveiled a new coastal paddling trail at the Bayport Park that is not only an enjoyable adventure but provides a scenic trip through a salt marsh ecosystem. The beauty of this adventure is the immersion into the natural surroundings of a tidal estuary, where fresh water from springs meets the salt water of the Gulf of Mexico. The paddling trail connects Bayport Park to Linda Pedersen Park with a navigable waterway that winds through inlets of cordgrass, cabbage palms and mangroves.

Summer Scalloping
The annual Florida scalloping season kicks off on July 1 on the Homosassa River. Pack up the family for good times and a delicious seafood feast where the towns of Crystal River and Homosassa shift into full swing. The area is known year around for its abundance of fresh Florida springs, but during the summer it is one the most popular scalloping destinations on the entire Gulf Coast. The 2017 summer scallop season extends through September, and has become a tradition for many Florida families. Out on Crystal Bay, acres of shallow grass flats provide fertile scalloping grounds. One of the reasons this area is an ideal home for scallops is the abundance of fresh water flowing from the springs to the salty Gulf of Mexico, creating ideal estuary conditions.

Anclote Key Preserve State Park
Enjoy the blue-green Gulf waters that lap gently along the sandy beaches of the four islands that make up Anclote Key Preserve State Park – Anclote Key, North Anclote Bar, South Anclote Bar and Three Rooker Island. Located three miles off the coast of Tarpon Springs, Anclote Key Preserve State Park is accessible only by private boat or ferry service. The 403-acre park is home to at least 43 species of birds, including the American oystercatcher, bald eagle and piping plover. A picturesque 1887 lighthouse stands as a sentinel on the southern end of the island. Visitors can swim and sunbathe at the beach, fire up a grill and enjoy a picnic, or pitch a tent and enjoy a night of primitive camping under the stars.

For the residents at GlenLakes, an outdoors lifestyle is something they live everyday.  Nature and outdoor activities are something that is very important in the day to day at GlenLakes.  Living in an area that provides endless opportunities for activities such as the River Tours is just one of the amazing things about being a part of the GlenLakes community.  GlenLakes is right where you want to be: in the action, yet surrounded by tranquility.  To see what the lifestyle is all about, click here.

Content modified from original article.

The sport of pickleball, yes that is its real name, is sweeping the nation at a rapid pace and is becoming more and more popular on Florida’s Nature Coast. Pickleball has grown in leaps and bounds since 2010, by some 385 percent in terms of places to play according to the USA Pickleball Association, as there are some 2.5 million estimated number of players. By 2020, that number could easily reach 8 million. Don’t be fooled by the silly name—once you play, you’ll keep coming back for more.

Although it’s the trendy sport right now, it was actually invented in 1965 in a Seattle suburb. Pickleball is a paddle sport with combined elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong, and played on a doubles badminton court. The net is similar to a tennis net, but is two inches lower. The game is played with a hard paddle and] can be played in either singles’ or doubles’ matches. The paddles are similar to table tennis and usually made up of graphite or composite while the ball is comparable to a wiffle ball.

Many communities have adopted the game and have begun to build more and more courts within their club. GlenLakes in Weeki Wachee is the Pickleball capital of Florida’s Nature Coast. With four state-of-the-art courts and games constantly being played by those of all ages and skill levels, pickleball has quickly become a club favorite.

More than just a fun game, playing pickleball can boost your mood and overall mental health, you burn calories, and fewer injuries occur due to the low impact nature of the game. Pickleball specifically works on your balance and agility while it also offers the same benefits of other regular exercise. These include reducing your risk of heart attack and chronic disease, toning your muscles and increasing your energy.

It’s no surprise that GlenLakes is out in front of the Pickleball trend. Year after year, GlenLakes has been named a “Top 50 Community” by Where to Retire and Ideal-Living magazines.

Neighborhoods of gracious single-family homes line pedestrian- and golf cart-friendly streets. Beautiful landscaping complements the many water features and endless preserve views. Miles of trails and nature preserve provide refreshing outdoor escapes.
Private club amenities include a clubhouse for social engagement, dining and fitness including a junior Olympic-size pool. Tennis courts, bocce ball courts, the four brand-new pickleball courts, and a championship golf course define GlenLakes relaxed, yet very active, country club lifestyle. Residents rest easy knowing that maintenance and security are taken care of in this private, gated community.

Starting from the low $200s, GlenLakes homes offer beautiful views of the golf course, lake and much more. Click here to learn more about the GlenLakes lifestyle and everything it has to offer.

It seems like every day you explore the natural beauty of Hernando County; you discover a hidden gem that you cannot find anywhere else. In a place so unique it is not hard to believe that the food and restaurants in the area are also one-of-a-kind. Below is a list of absolute must-try dining experiences in Hernando County that will leave you wanting more!

 

• Becky Jack’s Food Shack – To some, the venue with its mismatched chairs and tables and funky, laid-back decor may not rate a second glance. But if visual aesthetics are your sole criteria for choosing a spot to dine out, you’ll miss out on one of the best-kept foodie secrets in Hernando County. Folks in the know have come to recognize Becky Jack’s as a comfortable, affordable regular stop where simple, flavorful home-cooked burgers, wings and seafood and tasty craft beers are king.

 

• Brian’s Place – This Spanish-Italian fusion restaurant is a rare treat that offers adventurous cuisine with perfect proportions at the right price. The restaurant specializes in seafood but has a variety of other fare. It’s a nice, casual place to savor a unique meal in a family atmosphere. Chef Brian intermixes French flavors with Italian and Latin ingredients to create a unique cuisine.  briansonthebeach.com

 

• Upper Deck – Kayak from the state park to the Upper Deck that has a spectacular views of the Weeki Wachee River. You might even see some manatee while there. upperdeckweekiwachee.com

 

• GlenLakes Country Club – Guided by accomplished Executive chef Mik Wagner, the Grill Room is a member favorite for expertly prepared lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. No staid menus here! Chef Mik is full of delicious surprises, serving up international buffets and even sharing his expertise with demos. Daily Happy Hour, after-dinner drinks and a casual bar menu can be enjoyed at the Main Bar, which also doubles as a sports bar—complete with a special menu—during football season. Glenlakes.com

 

Located in the heart of Weeki Wachee, and just minutes from all of these foodie havens, GlenLakes is right where you want to be. Natural springs, lakes, the Weeki Wachee River, the Gulf of Mexico and 85,000 acres of Florida nature preserve provide a pristine habitat for wildlife and year-round opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

 

All this and you’re only minutes away from the white sand Gulf Coast beaches and excellent shopping, restaurants and medical facilities. It’s little wonder that GlenLakes is consistently named “One of the Best Places to Retire” by Where to Retire Magazine, as well as a “Top 50 Community” by Ideal-Living Magazine.

 

When you are a resident at GlenLakes, you are a member of a fabulous club. Private club amenities include a 35K clubhouse for social engagement, dining and fitness, including a junior Olympic-size pool. Clay tennis courts, bocce ball courts, four pickleball courts, and a championship, private golf course defines GlenLakes’ relaxed, yet very active, country club lifestyle. Residents rest easy knowing that maintenance and security are taken care of in this private, gated community. With the community constantly growing, the club is a great way to meet neighbors, make friends and socialize, right in your own backyard.

 

Choosing your Florida dream home is easier than ever. Ranging from 1,620 to more than 3,000 square feet of air conditioned space, every home is filled with features that wow: volume and tray ceilings, ceramic tile, spectacular island kitchens with granite and designer finishes throughout the home. Starting from the low $200s, GlenLakes homes offer beautiful views of the golf course, lake and much more. Click here to learn more about the GlenLakes lifestyle and everything it has to offer.

The trees, shrubs and plants outside your home might offer something more than just pretty scenery. A new study found that living in, or near, green areas can help you live longer and improve your mental health.

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined more than 108,000 women enrolled in the Nurse’s Health Study — a nationwide investigation into risk factors for major chronic diseases in women — from 2000 to 2008.

They compared risk of death with the amount of plant life and vegetation near the women’s homes and found that women living in the greenest areas had a 12% lower death rate than women living in the least green areas. The study suggests that several factors might play a role in reducing the death rate, including improved mental health, which was measured through levels of depression and estimated to explain 30% of the benefit from living in greener areas. Increased opportunities for social engagement, increased physical activity and lower exposure to air pollution may also play important roles, according to the study. Click here for the full story.

Everyone knows that Weeki Wachee is no stranger to natural wonders, and at GlenLakes, you get to enjoy all the beauty Weeki Wachee has to offer right in your own backyard. Our area’s 11,206-acre preserve is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring this nature lover’s paradise. The preserve is of the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s many protected lands and one of Hernando County’s prime recreation spots. It lies just south of the Weeki Wachee River.

The Weeki Wachee preserve is open daily from sunrise to sunset, so you can use the natural habitat however you desire. The preserve is a go-to spot for GlenLakes residents and a great place for locals to stay fit, or simply relax among the scenic views. At GlenLakes we encourage a love for natural living and with nature all around in Weeki Wachee, you’ll discover the natural curiosity within you.

Choosing your Florida dream home is easier than ever.  Ranging from 1,620 to more than 3,000 square feet of air conditioned space, every home is filled with features that wow: volume and tray ceilings, ceramic tile, spectacular island kitchens with granite and designer finishes throughout the home.  Starting from the low $200s, GlenLakes homes offer beautiful views of the golf course, lake and much more. To learn more about the GlenLakes lifestyle and everything it has to offer, visit www.glenlakes.com.

One of the best perks about living in Florida is the year-round tropical climate and the constant sunshine accompanying you during your round of golf. The summer season tends to lean a little warmer than usual but we don’t want your game to suffer because of the increasing heat. Our tips below will help you keep your scores low despite the rising temperatures:

Clothing – Try to wear light-colored clothing when playing in the heat.  The trend in golf apparel now is synthetic fabric make with moisture wicking elements designed to help you stay dry.  Some apparel lines have SPF (sun protection factor) clothing that helps protect against the UV rays that cause skin cancer.  Another new addition in golf clothing is sun sleeves – a tight cuff (sold in pairs) that extends from above the elbow to the wrist – designed to protect your arms from the sun.

Cart or caddy – If you prefer to walk when playing golf, playing in extreme heat is your turn to treat yourself to a riding cart or caddy.  Let someone or something else tote your clubs so you can enjoy your day a bit more on the course.  If riding in a cart, you have room for cool towels, ice and water, plus you can use a seat cover to make the ride more comfortable.

Play 9-holes – Remember a round of golf doesn’t have to be 18 holes.  Playing 9-holes allows you to get out and play a few holes without having to be in the heat for four or more hours.  Many after-work leagues are 9-holes because of the time required to play and due to daylight hours.  Most people would rather play 9-holes than to not play golf at all.  You may also enjoy an Executive or Par 3 course that will allow you to play in a shorter amount of time.

Join A Club – GlenLakes Country Club in Weeki Wachee ensures that all of the necessary summer amenities are available to help you beat the heat. Plenty of drinking water is available throughout the course and when you’re done, cool off in the junior Olympic sized pool or enjoy an air-conditioned lunch at the state-of-the-art clubhouse.

Starting from the low $200s, GlenLakes homes offer beautiful views of the golf course, lake and much more.  To learn more about the GlenLakes lifestyle and everything it has to offer, Contact them at www.glenlakes.com.

Selecting a wedding venue is one of the first and biggest decisions you’ll make as an engaged couple — it will influence your theme, guest count and even attire. Here are three reasons why you should celebrate your wedding at the GlenLakes Clubhouse:

Professional Experts: If you’re a busy person with limited time to plan and execute a party, pick a facility that offers coordination services, from catering to decorations and music. The professionals at GlenLakes can help arrange the perfect wedding- stress free. With a wealth of experience, the dedicated specialists will ensure that every aspect is planned right down to the smallest detail.

Venue: The Clubhouse offers casual elegance year round no matter the size of your group. The main banquet facility accommodates up to 300 guests and includes a grand ballroom to dance the night away. Smaller, private rooms are also available for a more intimate setting as well as several beautiful locations on property for wedding ceremonies.

Dining: With a rich history of entertaining, GlenLakes offers an array of banquet menus featuring only the finest cuisine or tailor your menu to fit your special day. GlenLakes uses only the freshest ingredients. From lavish banquets to intimate private dining, make your catering vision a reality.

Start planning your special day and enjoy the celebration of your dreams at GlenLakes. Your wedding will be the club’s exclusive event for the day of your choosing –no other parties will be accepted. For more information on booking a wedding at GlenLakes, click here.