More than ever, family generations vacation together and Florida’s Adventure Coast is just the place to do it. Not only is it an affordable lodging base in the geographic center of the state, you need only travel a short distance for a variety of fun things to do. Share experiences and make new memories with this easy-to-arrange plan. Gather grandparents, small children and everyone in between to adore you and your brilliance as their Family Reunion Hero!
Convenient to the metro areas of Tampa, less than an hour south and Orlando, 90 minutes or so to the east, the Adventure Coast makes perfect sense as a base location. Delightful family lodging is the centerpiece to this plan of perfectly-paced adventures. Settle in to Chinsegut Hill Retreat’s shady cottages, each with four bedrooms, a shower, kitchenette, dining and living area. As many as 56 guests can be comfortably accommodated to enjoy the front porch charm of this stunning historical estate.
Day 1 – Birding and Biking
Arise early on Friday or Saturday morning and drive to Chinsegut Conservation Center for an 8:30 am backyard bird watching experience. Learn about, watch and listen for feathered residents of the native and migratory variety.
Join a guided wildlife walk the first Wednesday of every month at 9:00 am. If these days, or the many other calendar events don’t fit your plans, contact Conservation Center staff to inquire about possible special arrangements.
Return to Chinsegut Hill Retreat for a tour of the Manor and estate; an expert docent will escort you, explaining its legacy and artifacts. On the national register of historic places, this authentically-restored estate is brimming with amazing stories.
Grab some sandwiches from Subway on your way over to picnic at Silver Lake Recreation area in the Withlacoochee State Forest. Set up at the pavilion for a pleasant afternoon of fishing or just relaxing lakeside. For family members able and willing, the adjacent Withlacoochee State Trail invites riders through scenic forests and pastureland. This mostly-level, 46 mile long former rail trail welcomes cyclists of any skill level. Bring your own bikes or contact Brooksville Bicycle Center to arrange rentals.
Return to Chinsegut Hill Retreat to freshen up. Then pose your group beneath the magnificent Spanish moss-draped oaks. The photographic result in the late afternoon sunshine will be suitable for framing. Give a print to all who attend for a special memento and you will be forever revered as a family reunion hero.
Is there someone in your family who adores the role of chef? If so, prepare that family feast in the Chinsegut Hill Retreat kitchen and serve in the dining hall. As an alternative, arrange catering from Papa Joe’s, Florida Cracker Kitchen or other savory area providers.
Day 2 – Coastal Cruise and Mermaids
Head over to the Hernando Beach Boat Ramp where Captain Joel of Fishdaddy Charters will greet you at 9:00 am. Step aboard his comfortable twenty foot pontoon boat for a fun nature cruise. This boat can accommodate six people so if your group is larger, or if some would prefer a to go fishing, discuss options with Fishdaddy Charters. Experienced and highly rated, Fishdaddy Charters can accommodate whatever your group requests. Watch for manatee, dolphin and other wildlife during a three hour tour of Florida’s beautiful Adventure Coast. Bring a cooler with plenty of cold beverages and snacks; your guide will do the rest.
While some cruise, others can browse Hernando Beach’s Coastal Gifts for unique shopping then relax, gazing out at the Gulf of Mexico, from Bayport Park.
Upon return, gather for a hearty casual lunch at Hernando Beach’s Brian's Place. Choose a specialty like Red Wine Cashew Chicken Salad Sandwich or a Crispy Eggplant and Fresh Mozzarella Burger at the place that "will make you forget that it's only lunch."
No visit is complete without a show starring the world famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids. From the restaurant, drive over to nearby Weeki Wachee Springs State Park to see the 3:00 pm performance of “The Little Mermaid”. A thrill for all ages, view a natural world of bubbles and beauty as the underwater stage for the talented Mermaid performers. Smiles are guaranteed to continue with a tour of the park, popular since its inception in 1947.
Return “home” for a spectacular hilltop sunset viewed together from the spacious antebellum manor's front porch. Everyone is different but all can enjoy a memorable, stress-free, multi-generational gathering at Chinsegut Hill Retreat; it will be not only your lodging but the heart and soul of your gathering. For larger families, some members can elect to participate in outings while others remain to relax in the pristine surroundings of the estate, enjoying quiet pursuits like strolling the grounds, bird watching or even simply reading in a front porch rocking chair.