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Day Trip: Dunnellon - The Treasure Of The Nature Coast

Dunnellon, just north of the Villages of Citrus Hills, is the perfect day trip for kayaking, air boating, shopping and dining.

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Commonly referred to as “The Treasure of the Nature Coast,” Dunnellon is located just over 20 minutes north of the Villages of Citrus Hills. 

Because it is located right on the Rainbow and Withlacoochee Rivers, Dunnellon offers exciting water activities, and there is also plenty to do for Citrus Hills residents looking for a great small town shopping and restaurant scene. 

Things To Do in Dunnellon 

One of the most popular activities in Dunnellon is kayaking or tubing along the Rainbow River. This can be done from either Rainbow Springs State Park or the KP Hole County Park, which are both located upstream from the town along the river. 

Tubing down the Rainbow River is the type of relaxed outdoors experience that is perfect for enjoying the beauty of the nature coast, and no experience is necessary. If you are interested in stepping up the level of commitment just a bit, renting kayaks can also be a great way to explore the Rainbow River a bit deeper. 

Another popular attraction along the rivers near Dunnellon is taking a tour of the local waterways by airboat. These flat-bottomed tour boats are powered by a large fan in the back, which allows them to cruise through all sorts of marshland. The result is that passengers get up close and personal with the natural environment.

 If you are passionate about nature but prefer to stay on dry land, there are plenty of other things to keep you busy at Rainbow Springs State Park. There are nature trails, picnic areas, and lots of great opportunities for wildlife viewing and birdwatching.

 Dunnellon’s Historic Shopping District 

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If shopping is your passion, then Dunnellon’s Historic Shopping District is the place you will be spending most of your time. 

You would be well served to start with The Grumbles House Antique and Specialty Shop. This historic house was once the home of a prominent family in town, but today it has become the local antique store with many rooms filled with items for sale. 

Another really interesting operation to check out is My New Old Chair 2. This family owned upholstery store can handle just about any type of repair or preservation of your existing antiques and family heirlooms.

 If you enjoy knitting, needlepoint, or cross stitching, you will want to spend some time in Stitch Niche, which carries over 450 different types of yarn as well as various other crafting supplies. This store is located in a house that was built in 1923 and is full of great history. 

Great Dining Options in Dunnellon 

When it comes to dining in Dunnellon, The Blue Gator is the place to be. Whether you are looking for oysters and scallops or frog legs and cheeseburgers, everything is delicious here. The best thing about The Blue Gator is that you can plan your entire trip here because they also offer airboat tours, boat rentals, and even have overnight accommodations at Angler’s Resort. 

Another great riverfront dining option is Stumpknockers, which specializes in great Florida cuisine like catfish, scallops, and of course…frog legs. Having dinner out on their incredible patio alone is worth the quick drive up to Dunnellon. 

Whether you are looking for a day of adventure tubing down the Rainbow River, a day of treasure hunting in historic antique shops, or just a great meal, you can find it all in Dunnellon. The next time you are looking for a great way to spend an afternoon, head up to Dunnellon and see what they have to offer.