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Benefits of Living in Citrus County

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Florida is a big state with a wide range of different options that appeal to different people for different reasons.  

But if you are considering relocating to the Sunshine State, Citrus County, which just so happens to be the home of the Villages of Citrus Hills, presents one of the best options you could choose for a number of reasons.  

Residents of Citrus County are in a position to enjoy all of the best aspects of Florida at the same time. They get to experience the famous Florida climate. They are right next to the Gulf Coast, while still not too far from the Atlantic Coast. Great cities like Tampa, Orlando, Ocala and Gainesville are just a short drive away, and the entire region is filled with amazing state parks and forests.  

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most significant benefits of living in Citrus County.

Public and Protected Lands

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Many people who relocate here don’t realize that Citrus County covers approximately 700 square miles, of which more than 152,000 acres are set aside as public and protected land. Half of the county is a protected area that will never see any type of construction. This assures residents that Citrus County will never suffer from becoming overbuilt the way other parts of Florida have.

Ideal Climate

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One of the main reasons people move to Florida is the year-round sunshine.  In a state known for great weather, Citrus County has Florida’s best.   

Unlike humid South Florida, the region surrounding the Villages of Citrus Hills doesn’t have the Everglades water effect.  We instead sit on the Central Ridge.  At 260 feet above sea level, the Villages of Citrus Hills benefits from the breezes off the nearby Gulf of Mexico, keeping the climate temperate all year round. 

Citrus County’s year-round average is about 72 degrees with 65 percent humidity.  In fact, comfortable days are the norm.  We enjoy 274 days a year in the temperature “comfort zone”, which falls between 65 and 75 degrees.  It also means you won’t spend the whole summer hiding from the heat in your air-conditioned home.  Beautiful weather isn’t just a perk; it will improve your quality of life. 

An Enormous Amount of History

From the historic sites of the Second Seminole War to the shell mounds of ancient natives, Citrus County is packed with tons of great history and plenty of places to learn all about it. The county also has a long history of producing outstanding thoroughbred horses, including multiple Kentucky Derby champions.  

Low Cost of Living

Like all Florida residents, those living in Citrus County are not subjected to any state income tax. However, unlike some of the more urban parts of the state, Citrus County residents enjoy a relaxed atmosphere where they don’t have to worry about gouging prices that you might find in many popular tourist areas. The cost of living is very reasonable in Citrus County.  

Parks and Trails

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Whether you are looking for large state parks, great walking trails built from abandoned railroad lines, or small community parks that offer some of the best sunset views you will find anywhere, Citrus County has them all. There are a number of different parks and trails throughout the county that all offer their own unique version of nature in Citrus County.

 Day Trips to “Old Florida” Towns

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Another advantage that the geographic location of Citrus County offers is that residents are within a short drive of quite a few different “Old Florida” towns that all make for great day trips. Many of these small towns have great historic shopping districts, outstanding restaurants, and plenty of history and art museums.  

 

Gulf Coast Lifestyle

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Living in Citrus County places you right in the heart of the Gulf Coast Lifestyle. Fishing, boating, and sunbathing at the beach will all be only minutes away. You can also participate in popular local activities such as scalloping, catching stone crab, or swimming with the manatees.

 


Close to Tampa and Orlando

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While the communities of Citrus County are known for their small-town environments, the big-city lifestyle is never very far away with both Tampa and Orlando being only a short drive away. This gives Citrus County residents access to great shopping, cultural events, and professional sports teams that many people like to experience from time to time.

 

As you can see, Citrus County is one of the most optimal locations for an active adult lifestyle in Florida. Make sure to include a tour through Citrus County and the Villages of Citrus Hills on your next trip to Florida so that you can see the area for yourself.  Who knows you may decide to call us home!

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

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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

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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!

Enjoying a Fabulous Weekend in Winter Park

Winter Park is known for the wild peacocks that roam the old McKean estate.     

Winter Park is known for the wild peacocks that roam the old McKean estate.

 

Located about 15 minutes north of Orlando and a little over 90 minutes from the Villages of Citrus Hills, the town of Winter Park often gets overlooked as a weekend getaway destination. However, if you are looking for a great place to enjoy the arts, history and fine dining, it doesn’t get much better than Winter Park.

Places to Stay in Winter Park 

The Alfond Inn

The Alfond Inn

When looking for a place to stay in Winter Park, The Alfond Inn should definitely be the top option on your list. This boutique hotel offers an interesting experience for art lovers, as the walls of the hotel are decorated with pieces from the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, which we will get to in a few minutes.

In addition to being an art lover’s dream, The Alfond Inn is also pet friendly, and they offer a number of different packages that include such things as bicycle rentals, boat tour tickets, and picnic lunches to enjoy in one of the local parks.

Park Plaza Hotel

Park Plaza Hotel

While we can’t say enough about The Alfond Inn, staying at the Park Plaza Hotel is also a wonderful experience. The history of this hotel dates back to 1922, so there is plenty to appreciate here as well.

Things to Do in Winter Park

One of the first stops for anyone spending time in Winter Park is the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. At the Morse Museum, visitors can spend a day exploring a massive collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Morse Museum

Morse Museum

The museum’s permanent collection includes jewelry, pottery, paintings, and different glass works that were designed by Tiffany throughout his career. One of the interesting exhibits you will find here is the chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Located on the campus of Rollins College, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum contains more than 5,000 historic paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs.  Highlights in the Cornell Museum collection include 30 Bloomsbury Group paintings and drawings, and 156 photographs taken by Andy Warhol.

Another place worth a visit in Winter Park is the Kraft Azalea Park. This 11-acre park is the perfect setting for spending a relaxing afternoon outdoors. There are trails and a boat dock if you are into that sort of thing, but most of the people who visit this beautiful green space prefer to simply sit on one of the many benches and enjoy their surroundings.

Scenic Boat Tour

Scenic Boat Tour

Last but not least, the highly-rated Scenic Boat Tour should be near the top of your “To Do” list. This hour-long guided cruise takes passengers through three of the seven lakes and two, narrow manmade canals on the tranquil Winter Park chain of lakes. In addition to the various wildlife, plants, flowers, and trees you’ll encounter along the way, you’ll also see opulent private homes and exquisite estates as you cruise along the shoreline.

Places to Eat in Winter Park

There are dozens of great places to eat in Winter Park, but Prato is one of the few places that has something for everyone. This casual Italian restaurant is all about simplicity, and it doesn’t hurt that they offer seating with a view on their patio. Whether you choose the pizza, pasta, or the Veal Marsala, everything is delicious at Prato.

Prato

Prato

If you are in the mood for unique dining, Bosphorus Turkish Cuisine offers an experience that you will not soon forget. Visitors who are new to Turkish food should definitely consider the Mixed Grill for Two, which allows them to try a variety of chicken and lamb dishes.

Another choice is The Wine Room that offers a classy atmosphere and a tapas menu that will have your mouth watering. And with a name like “The Wine Room,” you know that they are going to have the perfect wine to pair with just about anything you choose to order.

The Wine Room

The Wine Room

With two very unique hotels for lodging, plenty of parks and museums to explore, and some of the best dining you will find anywhere, Winter Park has everything you need for a fabulous weekend getaway. A lot of times people looking to get away in Florida are going to more well-known destinations, this is one that you can have all to yourself!

 

Weekend Golf Getaways: 5 Destinations to Put on Your List

Golf is one of the reasons that people choose to live here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. We have four pristine courses located right in the community, and our members also have access to a fifth course at Ocala National as well.  

Despite the vast amount of golfing that is available right here in the community, we are also surrounded by other fabulous golf destinations across the state of Florida. You could probably be perfectly happy playing our courses almost every day, but you might also want to plan a few weekend trips each year to see some of the other amazing golf destinations located within a few hours of the Villages of Citrus Hills.  

If you are thinking about putting together a golf-themed bucket list for your time here in Florida, these are five of the destinations we think everyone should start with.  

Jacksonville 

The city of Jacksonville might not exactly bring to mind visions of a fabulous golf vacation, but there are plenty of unbelievable courses surrounding this underrated Florida golf destination.

Just down the road from Jacksonville in Ponte Vedra Beach is where you will find the iconic TPC Sawgrass. This is THE course that every golfer dreams about, and they offer lots of great vacation getaway packages that include the opportunity to try your hand at sticking a tee shot onto their famous island green on the 17th hole.  

Daytona Beach 

Working our way down the Atlantic Coast a bit, you will find that in addition to being a favorite destination for many NASCAR fans, Daytona Beach is also filled with several stunning golf courses designed by some of the best in the business.  

The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, and the two golf courses at LPGA International Golf Club should not be missed.  

The Jones Course, designed by Rees Jones, is a traditional links-style 7,088-yard design where you'll enjoy strategic mounding, numerous expanses of sand bunkers, natural marsh areas, beautiful lakes and undulating greens. 

The Hills course, designed by Arthur Hills, is a classic at 6,984 yards. Hills used the area’s natural setting to create a masterpiece in playability and variety featuring natural wetlands, narrow pine corridors, small greens and strategically placed water hazards. 

Orlando 

Just a bit southwest of Daytona Beach, and only a little over an hour from the Village of Citrus Hills, is the city of Orlando. Everyone knows Orlando as the theme park capital of the world, but not as many people realize that those theme parks are surrounded by some of the best golf courses in the entire world.

Some of the most popular public courses here include Celebration Golf Club, Highlands Reserve Golf Club, Mystic Dunes Golf Club, Stoneybrook West Golf Club, and Windermere Country Club. But those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the seemingly endless amount of courses in Orlando.  

West Palm Beach 

Heading a further south along Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the PGA National Resort and Spa located in Palm Beach Gardens is a first-class luxury golf experience. If you are looking for the type of golf getaway that has you feeling like a tour pro, this is the place to start.

If the first-class prices at the PGA National Resort and Spa are a little steep for your game, you can find similar views for a fraction of the cost over at the Palm Beach Par 3 Course. This unique course sits right between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercostal Waterway, and it can be played for about $50.  

Naples 

If you prefer to stay on the Gulf Coast of Florida, heading down to Naples is the weekend golf getaway that should be at the top of your list.  

This is another place where you will find more golf courses than you could possibly play in one trip, but The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club and LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort are two that make for an excellent place to start.

You could spend weeks in any of these five destinations and not even come close to playing all of the golf courses available to the public, and we haven’t even gotten into some of the more obscure destinations.  

So, while we are proud to stack the courses here at the Villages of Citrus Hills up against any in the world, there are also plenty of fun getaways you can plan across the state of Florida. 

How to Get the Most Out of Living So Close to Disney World

Many people who choose to move to the Villages of Citrus Hills do so because of the great weather, reasonable cost of living, and overwhelming number of options for golfing. But the fact that Walt Disney World is located only an hour and a half away is definitely a factor that many residents come to appreciate over the years.  

There is simply no other attraction on the planet that is quite like Disney World. Whether you visit the parks with grandchildren, grown children, or as an adult couple, there is a never-ending and always-changing collection of things to see and do that will take your breath away time and time again.  

In order to help you get the most out of the fact that you will be living right up the road from the theme park destination that people travel to from around the world, we put together six key tips that particularly apply to local residents.  

Invest in an Annual Pass 

Disney World goes out of its way to take care of Florida residents by offering annual passes that come at steep discounts to purchasing tickets at the gate. Locals can purchase a “Weekday Pass” for as little as $13.66 per person each month.

If you want access on the weekends too, that price goes up to a little over $25 per person, which is still a huge discount for anyone who plans to visit more than a few times each year. 

Take Advantage of the Off-Season 

Since Disney World is such a kid-focused destination, most families tend to visit during the summer months when school is out. But since you are planning to live here all year, you will have the advantage of enjoying the parks during the winter months when the crowds are much lighter.  

Some of the best times to visit the park are in the fall right after the new school year starts, during the holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and right after the New Year and into early February.  

Stay On-Site Once in a While 

Living just a short car ride away means that you have the luxury of driving down for the day and then heading home at night. But you are definitely doing yourself a disservice if you don’t make it a point to stay at the parks at least a few times every year.

Disney World is the gold standard for every measure of service and customer satisfaction, and the onsite hotels are no exception. Staying in the onsite hotels also adds even more “magic” to the Disney World experience.

Learn Which Rides Differ from Park Hours 

As a local resident who takes advantage of the great deals Disney offers on annual passes, you are going to get to know each of the parks a lot better than most of the people who are only able to visit once every few years.

Using your “insider” information to your advantage, take note of which rides open and close at times that are different from the main park gates. You might also want to keep notes on which rides have longer lines at different times of the day.  

There’s an App for That 

Whether or not you bother to keep your own notes, you can have access to lots of great notes that other people have collected over the years by taking some time to download all of great Disney World apps that work as virtual tour guides.

There are literally dozens of these apps available for iPhone and Android, so take some time to search for the best ones and you will be amazed at how they enhance your Disney experience.  

There’s More Than Just Disney

It’s also important to remember that there is even more to the Orlando theme park scene than the four major Disney parks. You might also want to make plans to explore SeaWorld Orlando, LEGOLAND, and Universal Studios throughout the year.

Whether you are looking to spoil your grandkids or happen to be a kid-at-heart yourself, there is no limit to the fun and excitement you can find at Walt Disney World, just a short drive away from the Villages of Citrus Hills. 

 

Make sure that you do everything you can to take advantage of living so close to this magical destination.