The Nature Coast is a place where cute critters aren’t animated or mechanical, but are the real thing. A place where outdoor enthusiasts can hike and play among natural springs, rivers, and thousands of acres of nature preserve. 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.

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.

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.

Every day brings a new adventure and an appreciation for Florida’s ecosystem, and GlenLakes is in 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.

As Florida’s strawberry harvest winds down, the packinghouses turn their attention to homegrown blueberries. And like the strawberry harvest, the berry growers of West Central Florida hate to miss an opportunity for a party as the harvest celebrations shift from Plant City to Brooksville. Here are a few fun facts about the Florida Blueberry Festival April 16-17 in Brooksville’s downtown square:

  1. You may not think of Florida as blueberry country, but the state is now eighth in the nation in blueberry production. Brooksville is the center of 15 Florida counties that grow blueberries and all are participating in the festival.
  2. The festival offers more than just blueberries. There is something for everyone with over 20 food concessionaires, the Fresh from Florida Market featuring Florida grown blueberries and produce, a car show, street entertainers, 85 artisans in a juried show and 120 retail exhibitors. There is also beer gardens, wine bars, magic shows, dog shows and stilt walkers.
  3. During the week leading up to the festival, artists from across the Tampa Bay area will converge on Brooksville to paint scenes reflecting the natural beauty of Hernando County, somewhat akin to a “Day in the Life” project, only with a paintbrush instead of cameras.
  4. Even without the blueberry, Brooksville/Hernando County is the center of one of Florida’s greatest unspoiled natural regions. Nearby is the Withlacoochee State Forest, named by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the “10 Coolest Places in North America You’ve Never Seen.” The forest is home to what many argue is Florida’s prettiest river for kayaking and canoes, the Withlacoochee River and what may be its best paved bike trail, the 46-mile Withlacoochee Bike Trail.

Lucky for residents of GlenLakes in Hernando County the blueberry festival is a short drive away. GlenLakes homes are designed for easy living and gracious entertaining. Nestled in the heart of the community is the newest neighborhood of estate home sites. Located between the 10th, 11th and 12th fairways and sparkling Cypress Lake, each estate home site offers outstanding views and plenty of room for a beautiful home. For more information on living the Florida lifestyle at GlenLakes, click here.

While many parts of the country head inside during the cold winter months, residents of Weeki Wachee, Florida are blessed with warm weather and adventure year round. The community of GlenLakes offers residents numerous ways to experience new things, get social, and stay active in the new year. Here a just a few of the GlenLakes clubs:

Kayak Club: Meets first Thursday of the month, February – November with monthly group paddles.

Bellydance Classes: Wednesday nights from 6:00-7:00pm in the aerobics room. New students are always welcome! Complimentary first class!

Investment Club: If you are interested in investing and meeting a bunch of savvy investors we invite you to attend one of our meetings. Just show up, we would be happy to have you join the group.

Model Yacht Club: Meets every Wednesday and Friday at 1:15pm on the pond across from the Clubhouse. Everyone welcome.

GlenLakes Singles Club: Meets the first Tuesday of each month at 4:30pm on the second floor. Singles who are GlenLakes Club Members are welcome to attend.

Tai Chi Class: Wednesday, 7:45am in the aerobics room. New students welcome. $35 per month. First class is always complimentary to see how you like the class.

Zumba, Body Sculpting, Step & Water Aerobics: See schedule posted in Fitness Center.

Ceramics Class: Ceramics classes are held every Monday and Tuesday morning from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Just show up!

The community of GlenLakes not only offers an outstanding portfolio of clubs but also homes designed for easy living and gracious entertaining. Tour a model home and then choose the perfect site for your new home. Nestled in the heart of GlenLakes is the newest neighborhood of estate home sites. Located between the 10th, 11th and 12th fairways and sparkling Cypress Lake, each estate home site offers outstanding views. Click here for a GlenLakes homebuyer’s guide.

While many parts of the country head inside during the cold winter months, residents of Weeki Wachee, Florida are blessed with warm weather year round. If you’re lucky enough to be spending the holiday season on the Adventure Coast, here are five not to miss activities:

Chinsegut Hill Retreat- December 5th, 12th, 18th

Come see how the Chinsegut Hill Retreat glows with vintage Christmas charm. Watch a demonstration and learn how Christmas candy was made long ago. Santa Claus is also making appearance. Chinsegut Hill has welcomed many great dignitaries like Thomas Edison, Helen Keller and William Jennings Bryan. But none can compare to the excitement about Old St. Nick.

Candy Cane Acres- Every Fri/Sat of December

Gather your family and friends to enjoy the holiday light display and Christmas Village at Hernando County Fairgrounds. Visit Mrs. Claus’ kitchen and decorate your own cookie, see the Parade of Trees, stop by Santa’s workshop and make a craft to take home, and cuddle up for an old Florida-style sleigh ride.

Breakfast with Santa- December 13th

This is the perfect event for residents of GlenLakes to bring the family from out of town to. The grandchildren can meet the man himself, Santa Claus! This holiday filled breakfast will include an omelet station, French toast, whipped buttermilk biscuits, and many more delicious items.

Holiday Food Drive- December 15th

Food donations are being collected at the GlenLakes Sales Office and will be distributed to local churches. Items needed include boxed/canned meals, soups, jelly, peanut butter, and baby food. After all, it is the season of giving!

 New Years Eve Dinner & Dance- December 31st

Put your dancing shoes on and get ready to ring in the New Year. Residents of GlenLakes are invited to a night of dinner and dancing. The menu will include wild blueberry BBQ’d pork shanks, seaweed relish seared lamb lollipops, assorted petite desserts, and of course a champagne toast at midnight.

The Adventure Coast is ready to spread holiday cheer this winter season! The community of GlenLakes spreads cheer all year long offering an outstanding portfolio of homes designed for easy living and gracious entertaining. Tour a model home and then choose the perfect site for your new home. Nestled in the heart of GlenLakes is the newest neighborhood of estate home sites. Located between the 10th, 11th and 12th fairways and sparkling Cypress Lake, each estate home site offers outstanding views. Click here for a GlenLakes homebuyer’s guide.

800-pounds of gray giant gently breaks the water’s surface with two perfectly round nostrils and many, many whiskers. The warm springs of Citrus County are an extremely popular refuge for endangered West Indian manatees. The springs allow these docile creatures to escape winter’s cold and serve as a place to mate and nurse their young. In winter, Citrus has the world’s largest collection of manatees in their natural environment and their local Florida neighbors are anxious to say hello. Few people realize that Citrus County is the only place in America that you can legally enter the water with these gentle giants. Here’s how:

Kayak, Canoe or Paddleboard: Some of the best places to see manatees this way is in King’s Bay in Crystal River, the Chassahowitzka River, and the Homosassa River. Guides and rental companies have everything that is needed for a manatee-filled adventure.

Swimming Tours: Although visitors can go it alone, guides are recommended. Guides are knowledgeable about federal regulations for manatee interactions, and swim-with tour operators show all guests a short manatee manners video.

View From Land: One of the most popular places for manatees to go in the winter is Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River. Visitors to the property can’t enter the water from land, but they get an unbeatable view of the springs and manatees from the boardwalk that surrounds the area.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park: This is home to captive manatees, many of which are being rehabilitated and will eventually be released back into the wild. It’s the perfect place to see manatees by land, no wetsuit required! Manatees meander in the headspring of the Homosassa River and relax in their custom pools.

Lucky for residents of GlenLakes, these gentle giants are just a short drive away. With visiting grandchildren and guests, it’s a real thrill to experience the natural wildlife in person. When the eco tour is complete, it’s time to hit the links, and GlenLakes newest home sites are located between the 10th, 11th and 12th fairways. Each estate home offers outstanding views and plenty of room for friends and family visiting from the north. For more information on living the Florida lifestyle at GlenLakes, click here