Looking for the best things to do in Inverness FL?
Inverness is a quaint little town in a rural part of Central Florida. It lies Southbound en route from Gainesville to Tampa on I-75. It is a quick forty-five minute drive from The Villages. Life here is often your typical depiction of small town life.
The same routine most days where people are going about their daily lives. Despite the current circumstances. They’ve adapted in their own ways. It is the new routine they’ve had that has helped them through everything. The festivals throughout the year. Events that were eventually conducted under the socially distanced guise after the Pandemic started.
There are three local parks as well as a State Park. All three local parks are within walking distance of each other. The State Park is a five minute drive from downtown where the local parks reside. There are Airboat tours where you’ll encounter a wide variety of wildlife. It is also surrounded by various homegrown restaurant spots cultivated by the locals.
A community of people that support those homegrown places. A community that came out to support those places throughout the Pandemic. They’re amongst the best in food. Consistently. Here are the 14 best things about Inverness, Florida
14 Best Things to do in Inverness Florida
1. FORT COOPER STATE PARK
FORT COOPER STATE PARK has two aspects of the park. This would be the first of those with their various family friendly activities that range from Kayaking to Hiking. It is a little paradise getaway within Inverness that everyone enjoys.
Life in Inverness is family oriented by default. Families have moved here to get away from the busy lifestyle. To settle down for a far more peaceful life. A concept not everyone understands. Life in Inverness goes at a far slower pace. One where people take their time with errands and catch up in the middle of a grocery store aisle.
The park focuses on the family and activities that can be done together. There is an encouragement of the idea of inclusion of family especially in modern technical times where most kids are on their phones every free moment.
One will find most kids, teens especially, on their phone most of the time. This park brings families together for a fun time. Where phones are forgotten about for a few hours. The haunted location feature on this hotspot was activated long ago after the Seminole Indian Wars. That aspect of this park will be talked about later down the list.
2. WHISPERING PINES PARK
WHISPERING PINES PARK also has a variety of things to do while visiting the area. There are various play areas for kids to run around in. Jungle gyms to climb on that give kids the kind of energy depleting play they often crave. There are various kinds of courts to play in that do the same for adults.
There are also baseball fields where local little league teams have practices and games during their seasons. There are several hiking trails that most locals enjoy. One will also see a variety of wildlife. One also sees the beautiful nature it provides.
The Community Pool has been there for just as long. Countless people have gone there to enjoy the pool with their family and friends. There’s a variety of amenities that come with being a community pool. Community based activities anyone will benefit from.
There is the baseball fields that are also used for several months out of the year by baseball as well as softball teams for their seasons. Games that take place where the kids become competitive for the win. A place that steeped with memories of years past. Kids that have fond memories of their childhood spent there. For sure one of the best things to do in Inverness FL.
3. WITHLACOOCHEE HIKING AND BIKING TRAILS
WITHLACOOCHEE HIKING AND BIKING TRAILS take you throughout the county. It runs through various points of Inverness. There are plenty of entry/exit points within Inverness. Along these trails are beautiful scenery anyone would enjoy.
One could take an enjoyable bike ride through the trails as a day trip. There are plenty of things to see and admire throughout the trails. The trails have various entrance/exit points near key areas. Those areas often have gas stations with several restaurants nearby. It is the restaurants that are often amongst the gems of the county. Most of which are local favorites.
One will come across an assortment of critters while on the trails en route to those very restaurants. Animals such as Deer, Spiders, Squirrels, along with other wildlife. They live in harmony. In their own little worlds. They, much like us, go about their day hunting and roaming around.
They have their own routine of their day. Much like humans do. One could see wildlife going about their day whilst walking along the trails. It lets a person get some exercise whilst enjoying the scenery. It is the homegrown restaurants that are local gems within the county locals often support.
One of the best free things to do in Inverness for sure.
4. VISIT RESTAURANTS LIKE HEIDI’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT
HEIDI’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT has been a staple in Inverness for over thirty years. It sat on a hill in the middle of town until August 2022 when it was moved several miles away into a little strip mall at the fork in the road. It was a landmark in the former location.
Local people knew where to direct people to some good Italian food the majority of life here because of its location. It has been one of the places everyone in town grew up with. Most people went there, often, growing up. It has the best cheesecake in town.
Sauced Hogs is another homegrown restaurant. It is a BBQ joint with a laid back atmosphere along with having something different every night. Papa Js is a local breakfast and lunch spot with homemade breakfast and lunch. The Cove is off the beaten path.
By a few miles. It’s en route toward Wildwood down a lonely road by the water. Each brings their own stamp on the denizens of Inverness. Each is known for something different that makes them unique. It has been the denizens of Inverness that have supported these homegrown places throughout hardships especially after the Pandemic began.
5. CITRUS COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS
CITRUS COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS is an area going toward Floral City that hosts the local Speedway as well as yearly fair. It also has a local market most weekends.
There are various things that occur in the Citrus County Auditorium located on the grounds. It has held Professional Wrestling events in the past. The fairgrounds are home to events that bring people together despite whatever might be going on at the time. Events adapted to fit the course of the Pandemic. An adjustment that proved hard at various times. People came together and made it work throughout that difficult time.
The Citrus County Fair, much like every local fair, happens around the same time every year that everyone looks forward to.
Everyone saves up for something and it was usually this one week out of the year. Most kids looked forward to the one night deemed Midnight Magic where it was open until at least one in the morning. It usually would take place during Spring Break so the kids could be out late without worrying about school related things. It was often the one of the few weeks out of the school year where kids just could be kids.
6. HOLIDAY FESTIVALS
HOLIDAY FESTIVALS often take place within a few weeks of each other around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The rest of the year the festivals are centered as close to the holiday itself if not on the day of the holiday.
Countless street vendors selling their items. Some have deals on things while others are selling their items individually. People tend to save. for these festivals as well knowing there will be things they may want to buy. Holiday festivals are something else locals look forward to. It brings everyone together for some time away from their often busy life.
Most of the festivals are in Downtown Inverness. Some of them might be in Wallace Brooks Park while others might be at Liberty or Cooter Park. Some might even be in the Depot Pavillion. Each location brings their own flare to downtown.
Each one provides a different kind of experience. They aren’t far away from each other. All three are within walking distance of each other. Some of the holiday festivals are near the Old Courthouse Square. They’ll have vendors outside the various restaurants to entice the Festival goers toward the variety of restaurants as well as the festival itself.
7. MOVIE THEATERS LIKE Valerie Theate
MOVIE THEATERS are becoming a thing of the past with two being in Inverness that often have things to do there. Regal Cinema in the same plaza as the OfficeMax and TJ Maxx by Walmart. They offer a variety of things under their membership.
They’ve often shown older movies considering the Pandemic restrictions. A period of time had come where they’d closed during the Pandemic. It has been something they’ve accommodated much like everyone else had. They’ve begun showing newer movies as well. Valerie Theater is in Downtown Inverness across from the Old Courthouse Museum. It has frequent specials. They often cater to kids in various ways.
Both bring something different to the area. They are on opposite ends of the town meaning both sides have a movie theater. They also offer different specials as well as cater to kids. Both bring different movies into the community.
They offer a variety of things within their respective memberships. They’ve brought revenue back into the community since their respective reopenings. Both are able to bring people together for family outings every week or even every month. It gives people within the community something to look forward to. It is something to do on the weekend or during the holidays.
8. WALLACE BROOKS PARK
WALLACE BROOKS PARK is one of three local parks in the area by downtown. It has a lovely scenic route by Henderson Lake. It has a variety of activities for anyone to do. It is close to downtown where there are plenty of other things to do.
One could have a picnic if they wanted to go somewhere at the park. There are spots where someone could sit and watch the day pass by. It could be a day by the water between two friends if they chose to. A pair of parents could have a playdate to catch up.
This park has a variety of kid friendly things to do while their parents talk about things happening in their lives. Life often makes it hard to meet up with anyone and see what is going on in their life. Friends drift apart from this occurrence.
This is a great park to come and catch up with a friend. It is within walking distance to the other two as well as downtown. People make a day out of being at the park. People get food from one of the nearby restaurants and walk over to the park for a picnic.
9. LIBERTY PARK
LIBERTY PARK is the second of the three parks in Downtown Inverness. It is steps away from the shores of Lake Henderson. There are a few more activities for the kids. There is a baseball field nearby as well. A boardwalk takes you on a winding journey to another part of the lake near Main Street where you get a different point of view of the lake.
There are yearly fireworks in the middle of Lake Henderson that are often seen from either of the three parks. People have a party while they are waiting for the fireworks to start.
This park lies between the other two. It often gives a direct view of certain things happening on the lake. It is that different viewpoint that gives it its unique nature. It gives its own point of view of things surrounding it. There are advantages with being at Liberty Park.
People gather in numbers at all three parks to experience community based things. The Pandemic slowed things down more than people thought. It changed the way people thought about life. It changed the way people went about life. Liberty Park let parents talk while kids could play and be kids.
10. COOTER POND PARK
COOTER POND PARK is located by Main Street in front of Cooter Lake. It is the winding bridge that connects to Liberty Park that takes you on an adventure going from one to the other.
This boardwalk overlooks the lake. Cooter Pond Park. It is the third in the triad of parks and last on the chain as well. All three go in succession of each other with Cooter Pond Park being the last of them. It is connected to Liberty Park by a winding boardwalk that takes the intrigued Traveler through the trees on the edge of the lake.
You’ll see the Pavillion and a portion of the boardwalk from Main Street when driving by. There is some parking at that entrance where you can take a walk on the boardwalk to Liberty Park through the marsh.
Cooter Pond Park gives a unique perspective to the lake. It has a side view overlooking the lake. Life revolves around family in Inverness. Cooter Pond Park is a gateway of sorts to the other two parks that engages everyone. It is the beginning of an adventure for the entire family to go on while also giving way to a picturesque moment.
11. DEPOT PAVILION
DEPOT PAVILION is one of the latest additions to the Downtown area. It is located near Liberty Park. It is a great venue for events that bring people to the Downtown area. It means local businesses in the area may see an influx of people throughout the day.
People are wandering around the immediate area and finding these hidden gems of sorts. Places like Coach’s Pub as well as Stumpknockers who have been next to each other for at least twenty years. Two landmark eateries that often see an influx of people during festivals.
It is a place where people gather for events throughout the year. Parties that go late into the night celebrating a joyous occasion. It is one of the latest additions to the area that has already paid off in various ways. This multi use area brings a different kind of attraction to the area.
One where people come together for a celebration and good time. Where they don’t have to worry about anything for a little while. It is wheelchair accessible with accessible bathrooms. Its location strives to have areas that are more accessible for people who are in wheelchairs.
12. VISIT HAUNTED PLACES IN TOWN LIKE Fort Cooper State Park
Haunted places surround the area. As is the case in most rural towns. There are bound to be a few places that are haunted. It is a town that has been around for well over a century. It started off as a very small town in the middle of nowhere. A blip on the radar.
Things changed as time went on. Imprints were left behind. In various forms. The paranormal included. The few places that lay in Inverness have stories unique to their timeframe. Unique to a specific moment in time. Unique to a particular that left quite an impact.
Fort Cooper State Park is the one place in Inverness known for the various activities throughout the park. For its historical past as well with the Seminole Indian Wars. Unique history to this area. It is said that the spirit of an Indian Chief lingers there.
That he is often seen by the Gifts Shop and Ranger Offices. There have been countless times he has been seen in both areas. It is also said that a particular photo in the Rangers office tilts when a fire is lit. There have also been countless sightings of this particular occurrence as well.
One of the most fun things to do near Inverness.
13. ZIGGYS BIRD HAVEN
Ziggys Bird Haven Sanctuary is a no kill Parrot rescue. They spread a message of hope along with a large dose of compassion. The rescue takes in a catalyst for positive change. A place where they encourage working toward changes they want to see in the world around them.
A community they want to live in. An area they want their children or even friends’ children or live in without worry or fear. They began in 2003 driven by the ideas of rescuing parrots. A place where Parrots can comfortably interact and engage with people while also receiving top care.
A message of hope is something Ziggys Bird Haven Sanctuary has made a point of doing. A thing that isn’t just a trend. It isn’t something they take lightly. They’ve made a point of spreading hope to those who think things will never get better. They’ve shown compassion while they’re at it.
They’ve let people know it’s going to be okay even though it doesn’t quite feel like it at the moment. The sad song they’re listening to is going to get better. It’s going to end on a positive note. Life is a rollercoaster. It won’t be bad forever.
14. OLD COURTHOUSE HERITAGE MUSEUM
OLD COURTHOUSE HERITAGE MUSEUM is filled with interesting facts about the town from decades prior. There are rooms dedicated to different things. One could spend several hours there touring around the building learning about the local history. It is something that most people don’t always think about when traveling through places. Life in these small towns were often quiet and routine.
Daily life has always gone a certain way. Some of the older generation go about their day the same each day. There are people moving from far away. This museum lives up to its name of having enormous heritage.
Upstairs is the courthouse. It had a variety of uses aside from its intended use. The movie Follow That Dream was filmed in Inverness. The courthouse scene was filmed in that very second floor room. The actors befriended the locals during filming.
They were treated with as much love as anyone else that passed through. A play was eventually made about it some years later. Life had gone on since then. The story would become part of it and would become part of the museum over time. That part of the museum that would attract Elvis lovers for good reason.