Anclote Key State Park
The Northern Most Barrier Island – Anclote Key
The Anclote Key lighthouse sits on the southern tip of Anclote Key, off the Coast of Pasco County, Florida at the mouth of the Anclote River. Historically, it is known for its sponges which are found on the bottom of the Anclote River and along the Nature Coast. But to locals it is where you go for sun, surf and sand!
This island draws locals in droves who love to take their boats and personal watercraft out to soak up the sun, walk the beach, go shelling, swim and visit with other island lovers.
It has also become a popular destination for tourists who visit the island as part of their vacation. Charters from Pasco County run out to the island on a regular basis and pontoon boats and can be rented at multiple places so visitors can navigate their way to the island on their own.
In 1852, Walter Lowe, captain of the schooner Chestnut, anchored off Anclote Key and over several days secured a cargo of sponges. He made such a huge profit that others mirrored his endeavor and the sponge trade was born in Florida.
Anclote Key is a pristine slice of the Florida of yesteryear. The word Anclote is a Spanish word meaning anchor. The island is about 180 acres and around four miles long, and almost a mile wide.
The key is made up of four islands and continues to grow as sand accumulates along its length. The islands are Anclote Key, North Anclote Bar, South Anclote Bar and Three Rooker Island. Anclote Key is the northernmost island of the 320-mile chain of barrier islands which protect much of Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Anclote Key Preserve State park has been preserved in a primitive state. Since it is accessible only by boat and is remote, the island attracts many birds that tend to avoid human contact, making the park a key destination for bird watchers. The park is home to at least 43 species of birds, including the American oystercatcher, bald eagle and piping plover.
Primitive camping is available on the North end of the island along with picnic pavilions and grills. Visitors must bring water and supplies as there are no provisions on the island. Plenty of sunscreen and bug spray is also recommended. Camping is free but before you go call 727-469-5942 and check in.
Tucked among the rolling hills of east Pasco County, Dade City is a quaint Old Florida town, with a historic downtown square, unique specialty shops, restaurants, parks and trails. Established in 1889, Dade City is the county seat for Pasco and also serves as a commercial center for an area encompassing more than 71,000 residents. The town has a strong pioneer heritage, showcased at the Pioneer Florida Museum, located just north of town. Known as one of the best antique shopping destinations in Florida, downtown Dade City draws visitors from around the state and around the world to visit its more than 50 shops and eclectic lunch spots. The city has received numerous distinctions for its redevelopment efforts and community events. Each year, Dade City hosts dozens of community events, including the Kumquat Festival and the Country Christmas Stroll.
Dade City has sparked the attention of a Florida Insider, more at visitflorida.com.
Located at the southern-most end of west Pasco, Holiday has the distinction of being home to some of the area's most beautiful Gulf Coast parks, including Anclote Gulf Park, Anclote River Park and the newest addition Eagle Point Park. Holiday is bordered on the South by the City of Tarpon Springs at the Pinellas County Line. The Gulf of Mexico is located to Holiday's west with access from multiple parks and beaches.
This is the story of a town which sprang up amid the subtropical foliage and swamps on the Florida shores of the Gulf of Mexico, about thirty miles north of Tampa and St. Petersburg. In these surroundings was born Hudson, Florida in 1878. Economically, Hudson has had a checkered career. "This town grew slowly and then experienced a boom, then was prostrated. Man can learn a lot from the history of this place, no matter how often one is down, he can always come back if the proper effort is put forth."
At the northwest corner of Pasco County, Hudson is home to the popular Robert J. Strickland Memorial Park, also known as Hudson Beach. A great spot to charter a boat for fishing, diving or just sight-seeing. For a complete list of our county parks, click here.
Land O' Lakes
Nestled among more than 100 glimmering lakes, Land O' Lakes in central Pasco County blends laid back, country living with close proximity to the attractions and conveniences of the Tampa Bay area. Located off U.S. 41 just north of Tampa, Land O' Lakes is just a short drive from Tampa International Airport. Flying private? Land O' Lakes also has several private air fields.
With a great location and warm climate, Land O' Lakes features year-round outdoor activities, including golf, tennis and boating. The area also has the distinction of being home to some of the state's largest and best-known clothing optional resorts, including Caliente Resort & Spa, Paradise Lakes Resort and Lake Como. These resorts offer a variety of amenities and attract visitors from around the world.
New Port Richey
A quick turn off busy U.S. 19 in New Port Richey will reward you with a little bit of Old Florida. Nestled along the banks of the Pithlachascotee River, New Port Richey is the largest city in Pasco County and features a historic downtown with shops, restaurants and beautiful Spanish-revival architecture.
Incorporated in 1924, New Port Richey was a magnet for the rich and famous in the Roaring 20s. Celebrities like Shirley Temple, Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin came to Florida for the great weather and glamorous parties in places like New Port Richey's Hacienda Hotel. A few even built homes here, including Babe Ruth, Shirley Temple and Gloria Swanson. Built in 1926, the Richey Suncoast Theatre has been restored to its glorious splendor and features excellent stage productions.
Known as the "Little City by the River," Port Richey sits along the scenic Pithlachascotee River and boasts several great parks, including Waterfront Park. The Port Richey Waterfront Park offers, access to the river via a fishing pier, biking and hiking trails, a playground and BBQ grills. A few minutes up the road, Brasher Park sits on the Gulf of Mexico and offers a non-motorized boat launch, fishing, swimming and a playground.
Port Richey is also home to several great waterfront restaurants, including Catches Waterfront Grille and the Original Hooters on the water, don't miss out on the beautful sunset views. Traveling with your 4-legged friends? No problem, stop in waterfront Port Richey's newest retaurant, Gill Dawg Tiki Bar Grille & Marina.
Home to the world-renowned Rattlesnake Festival and situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Jovita, San Antonio is a small east Pasco community with deep roots and lots of history. Surrounded by miles of orange groves and pasture land, San Antonio has a quaint town square with a city park that hosts special events, as well as several great local restaurants, including Pancho's Villa and the brand new Local Public House and Provisions, located in the old San Ann market.
Just West of Dade City on the shores of Lake Jovita sits a tiny town with a big history. St. Leo was founded in the late 1800s by Benedictine Monks and nuns, who built a monastery, a school and a church, all of which still stand - in various forms - today. Visitors to this beautiful area of east Pasco can tour the Holy Name Monastery, the St. Leo Abbey and St. Leo University to see many of the original buildings from the town's founding.
Not to be missed is the stunning Church of the Holy Cross, also known as the Abbey Church, with its gleaming white tower, red-tiled roof and stained glass windows. Just across the street sits another landmark from the town's Catholic heritage - the historic stone grotto, completed in 1916 and still used today for meditation and prayer.
When you're finished with the historical sites, nearby Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club is a great place to relax and unwind with a round of golf and dinner. Even the golf course has a history. The original Lake Jovita Golf Course opened in 1926.
Saint Leo University, near Pasco County’s San Antonio, is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its founding this year. Actually, there are three entities at Saint Leo that turned 125 — Saint Leo College, Saint Leo Abbey and Holy Name Priory. All three trace their beginnings to one man: Edmund Francis Dunne.
Trinity is home to amazing real estate, great shopping and world-class golf courses. It is a fast-growing upscale community just north of the Pinellas and Hillsborough county borders in West Pasco County. Its tri-county location is optimal for commuters. As a master-planned series of neighborhoods, you’ll find gated, private communities, a designer golf course, great shopping, excellent schools, and comprehensive medical resources.
Located immediately off of I-75, about 25 miles north of Tampa, Wesley Chapel is one of Pasco's fastest-growing communities. The addition of new residents has brought many exciting new amenities for visitors to enjoy as well. Excellent restaurants, several brand new hotels, plus the world-renowned Saddlebrook Resort & Spa make this a great place to enjoy the finer things in life.
Exciting new shopping destinations such as the pedestrian-friendly Shops at Wiregrass have become unique community gathering places for visitors and residents, with concerts and special events taking place throughout the year. Nearby, the Grove at Wesley Chapel also features a number of national retailers, along with a movie theater featuring the upscale Cinebistro, complete with full-service restaurant, premium cocktail bar and luxurious leather, high-back chairs.
Located just north of Tampa, Zephyrhills in eastern Pasco County is the City of Pure Water and the home of Sky Dive City, one of the world's premier drop zones, which attracts sky divers from around the globe. Zephyrhills is a semi-rural community known for cattle ranches and citrus farms but also for its distinctive downtown, unique special events and outdoor activities.
Annual festivities include the Thanksgiving and Christmas Sky Dive Boogie events, a Celtic Festival at Zephyr Park, Founders Day in the historic downtown and the Winter Auto Fest. The Founders Day event has been recognized by the U.S. Library of Congress Local Legacies Project. The Historic Depot Museum has become a focal point for art exhibits and community heritage programs. Zephyrhills is also home to a World War II Barracks Museum.