Nature Coast

Bird Watching at Flying Eagle Preserve



While there is no shortage of great attractions all along the Gulf Coast to the west of the Village of Citrus Hills, there are also plenty of interesting places to the east of our community. One of the best places in the area for bird watching is Flying Eagle Preserve, which is located throughout the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes.  


This amazing string of natural bodies of water mixed with marshes, swamps, and islands is located just east of Inverness. The entire preserve includes just over 16,000 acres ranging from Inverness on its west side to the Withlacoochee River on its right side.  

The entire area is vitally important to facilitating local water drainage, and just happen to also be an amazing place for bird watching and other outdoor activities.  

Bird Watching at Flying Eagle Preserve 



With more than 16,000 acres to cover, this is not a “sit on a bench and wait” type of birding experience. However, if you are willing to trek through the woods across the area, you are bound to see some fascinating birds.  

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl

Some of the birds you might spot here include Anhingas, Purple Martins, Wood Ducks, Northern Harriers, Sandhill Cranes, Eastern Screech-Owls, Brown Thrashers, Prairie Warblers, Le Conte’s Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks, Eastern Bluebirds, Loggerhead Shrikes, and American Kestrels.  
Whether you are a seasoned bird watcher looking to cross a specific species off of your bucket list or are more of a novice just looking to appreciate a beautiful collection of flying colors, Flying Eagle Preserve is a great place to explore the types of birds that inland Florida has to offer compared to the coastal birds you will find along much of the Nature Coast.  

Flying Eagle Nature Center 

Flying Eagle Preserve also contains the 150-acre Flying Eagle Nature Center, which is a complete group campsite.  

The property features a multipurpose building, a lodge, two residences, six cabins, and a total of 10 camping sites. There is also a large commercial kitchen, an outdoor pavilion with seating for up to 400 people, and a swimming pool.  

Most of the buildings here were built in the 1970s when the area was owned and maintained by the Boy Scouts of America. From 2006 to 2012, the property was maintained by the Gulf Ridge Council and the district is currently looking for a new long-term management partner.  

Recreational Activities


In addition to bird watching throughout the preserve and camping at or near the Flying Eagle Nature Center, there are also a host of more active recreational features in the area. Bicyclers will love making use of the 13 miles of paved trails and hikers will want to take advantage of the 16 miles of wooded trails.  

There are also nine miles of multi-use trails that are marked as “equestrian-friendly”, so horseback riding is also a very popular activity at Flying Eagle Preserve. There are even equestrian facilities at the Flying Eagle Nature Center.  

Provided you adhere to the rules and regulations set by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Flying Eagle Preserve is also a great place for fishing and hunting. One of the best fishing spots in the preserve is the Moccasin Slough Bridge.  

It might take you days or even weeks to explore everything included in the 16,000 acres of Flying Eagle Preserve, but since the edge of the park is located less than 20 minutes away in Inverness, heading back for multiple trips will never be a problem.


Top 10 Reasons to Live in Citrus County

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As any resident of the Villages of Citrus Hills will happily tell you, there are hundreds of great reasons to choose Citrus County as your retirement destination. Depending on your own personal interests, there are a number of different things about our community that might excite you.

To help make sure that you don't miss the most important reasons to head our way, we have put together a list of the top 10 reasons to live in Citrus County!

10. Great Healthcare

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One of the reasons to live in Citrus County that often goes overlooked is the fact that we have an outstanding network of healthcare providers.

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Between Citrus Memorial Health System and Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center, you won't believe the quality of care that is available here, should you ever need it.


9. Close to Major Cities…

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Because we’re situated just over an hour from both Orlando and Tampa, there are big-city amenities associated with both of those cities that are available to residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills.

This is great to know for things like catching shows, shopping, or attending professional sporting events, but it can be an even bigger deal if you need to fly out of one of the international airports in those cities.

8. …Not Too Close Though

While many of our residents think nothing of driving to Orlando or to Tampa for a day, we are also located far enough away that you don't have to worry about any of the stress that comes with city living. Like big-city traffic.

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7. Fantastic Golf Courses

One amenity that Citrus County residents are not lacking is quality golf courses. In addition to the excellent courses here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, there are also more than a dozen other public and private courses to choose from in the area.

6. Beautiful Local Parks

Being "just far enough" from the big cities goes hand-in-hand with the number of local, state, and national parks you will find throughout Citrus County. Whether you are looking for a great picnic spot, a place to relax on the beach, or a walk through the woods, you will never run out of quality options here.

5. Rich History


Many of our local parks also boast impressive history that tells the incredible story of the area. But in addition to the local parks, you will also find lots of history in downtown areas like Inverness and Crystal River, as well as in our local museums. 


4. The Nature Coast

Another thing our residents love about all of the local parks in Citrus County is the amazing amount of wildlife you can find there. We are located right in the heart of Florida's "Nature Coast," so there is never a shortage of wildlife to be seen, especially if you are passionate about birding.

3. Wide Array of Dining Options

You can find a single great restaurant in just about any town across the country, but here in Citrus County we are proud of the fact that we have an incredibly wide range of excellent restaurants. No matter what style of food you are looking for, you can find someone making it right here.

2. Pristine Waterways


Between the Withlacoochee River, Crystal River, Kings Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico, there are more waterways to explore in and around Citrus County that most people know what to do with. Whether you are passionate about kayaking, fishing, or just heading out for a cruise, there is always something happening on the waterways around the Villages of Citrus Hills.


1. The Manatees

As much as we love to brag about the rest of the wildlife you will find throughout Citrus County, our biggest selling point is that we are the only place in Florida where you can swim along with giant manatees right in their natural habitat. 

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Between Homosassa Springs and Three Sisters Springs, manatees make their homes here in Citrus County and our residents love to stop by to appreciate them.

As we said before, this list is just the tip of the iceberg as far as reasons you might choose to live in Citrus County. Come on down and see for yourself!

Showcase Homes Available in Brentwood - Updated 25OCT16

A cozy neighborhood that's comfortable and inviting, with friendly neighbors and ample amenities – that’s how residents characterize Brentwood of Citrus Hills. It’s a neighborhood that’s not too big, but a size that feels just right. Here you’ll find a sense of community where sensible stylish homes, scenic views and a convenient Nature Coast location come together to form a way of life that’s a pure pleasure.

Like the neighborhood of Terra Vista, residents here enjoy the many amenities of the Citrus Hills Golf and Country Club.  In addition, there is a challenging nine-hole golf course, fitness center and heated outdoor pool within the gates of Brentwood.

Our Move-In ready Showcase Homes are perfect for those who have sold their homes, or know their homes will sell quickly and are ready to relocate, or those looking for a new home without going through the construction process.

These finely crafted new homes feature our time-tested floor plans and popular designs. Loaded with extras that people love, our Showcase Homes also offer standard features that are considered upgrades at other communities. For value, luxury, and style our Showcase Homes should be seen and considered.

The Amherst    Amherst  2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $285,055 -  Available   Now      Amherst  2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $276,314 -  Available Now      Amherst  2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $276,711 -  Available Now     

The Amherst

Amherst 2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $285,055 - Available Now

Amherst 2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $276,314 - Available Now

Amherst 2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $276,711 - Available Now


The Cromwell    Cromwell  2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $286,231 -  Available Now      Cromwell  2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $290,601 -  Available Now      Cromwell  2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $299,635 -  Available   Now

The Cromwell

Cromwell 2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $286,231 - Available Now

Cromwell 2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $290,601 - Available Now

Cromwell 2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $299,635 - Available Now

A lifestyle consultant can answer your questions.  

Call Today! 800-511-0814 or Schedule a time to visit us.

A Day at the Beach: Pine Island Park Beach

One of the best things about living along Florida’s nature coast is that there are so many quiet little beachfront parks located up and down the coast along the Gulf of Mexico. Here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, we are within driving distance of quite a few excellent beaches, and Alfred A. McKethan Pine Island Park Beach is one of our favorites.  

Getting Out to Pine Island 

Pine Island is located about an hour away from the Villages of Citrus Hills in the southern half of the Chassahowizka Wildlife Management Area. Getting there is a breeze if you take US-19 south from Homossassa and then a right in Weeki Wachee.


Once you get close to the coast, you’ll make another right onto Pine Island Drive. From there, you will have the pleasure of cruising through a stunning natural habitat that feels like you’re driving across a Caribbean island or one of the Florida Keys.  

White Sand Beaches & Crystal Clear Water

As in most of the beaches along the nature coast, you are going to find yourself surrounded by beautiful white sand once you arrive at Pine Island Park Beach. Enjoying a few hours lounging in the sand is a great way to start your visit, but if you are feeling adventurous, head on out into the water where there are plenty of great swimming areas.

Because of its location, this isn’t the type of beach where you are going to be bothered by speedboats or jet skis flying past while you are trying to relax. Everything is calm out here, and that’s the way the people who visit like it.

Willy’s Tropical Breeze Cafe 

When you get hungry, there is a small cafe located right at the park that serves everything from burgers to seafood. They also have excellent coffee for their early morning guests.

Because Willy’s offers open air seating that is pretty much right on the beach, this is a very popular option for patrons looking for a sunset view during dinner. If you have the opportunity to stay for dinner, we highly recommend it.  

Picnicking at the Park 

In addition to Willy’s Cafe, there are also many picnic areas located throughout the park. So if you are looking to create your own amazing sunset dinner, you might want to think about picking up a few steaks and some charcoal on the way down. There are multiple charcoal grills available at each of the picnic areas.  

The Playground Area 

One other aspect that attracts visitors to the park is the large playground area for the kids. While the older visitors are definitely more impressed by the white sand beaches and gorgeous sunsets, the kids are all about diving headfirst down the slide.  

So when your grandkids are in to visit along with their parents, a day at the park out on Pine Island really does have something for everyone.  

With so many beachfront parks to choose from, it can take a resident here at the Villages of Citrus Hills years to explore them all. We encourage everyone to take their time and do exactly that, but after spending a day at Pine Island Beach Park, you might not want to go anywhere else next time.