Hernando Beach is located about 90 miles west of Orlando and its attractions and just 45 miles north of Tampa Bay. Thanks to the new Sunshine Parkway, the area connects directly to the city of Tampa. As part of the "Nature Coast," Hernando Beach residents are dedicated to preserving the area’s wetlands and forests. The Weeki Wachee Preserve, a 6,000-acre protected wildlife area, separates Hernando Beach from the inland areas of Spring Hill. Plans are in the works to develop the spring fed lakes within the preserve and include a future swimming beach and fishing areas. This huge, heavily forested preserve provides a natural green belt along Hernando Beach that gives residents the Gulf on one side and protected forests on the other.
Recreation in the area includes charter and private boat fishing both on inland fresh waterways and out in the Gulf. Tarpon and Grouper fishing are specialties of local charter companies. Shrimpers work the waters at night supporting one of the most lucrative bait supply businesses in the state. Recreational fishermen can find great fishing off the pier at Jenkins Creek County Park and Hernando Beach County Park, both on the banks of the spring-fed creek.
Sharing the coast line with Hernando Beach are the waterfront communities of Bayport, Aripeka and Weeki Wachee. Each have a unique place in the history of Florida and the latter two derive their names from Native American tribes. Chief Aripeka once lived and thrived along the shores of the little fishing community now bearing his name.
Just a few miles north of Hernando Beach lies a little spit of land protruding out into the Gulf called Pine Island. Along with a cluster of homes there is a county park, one of five in the coastal area. Swimming in the salt water and sunning on the white sandy beach attract many winter visitors.
One of the area's most treasured winter visitors is the Florida Manatee. This large but gentle sea cow migrates into the warm waters of area rivers as the Gulf waters cool in the winter. From October through February these underwater mammals move into the relatively warm (a constant 72 degrees) waters of Florida's rivers.
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