Brooksville, Florida

Santa used to live here in an enchanting village!

Brooksville Mural
••• Cival War mural in downtown Brooksville. © Dawn Henthorn

The country life is alive and well in Brooksville, Florida. The small town, located about 50 miles north of Tampa, is nestled amid gently rolling hills and wide open spaces with the Withlacoochee State Forest as its back yard. You will find the Brooksville area dotted with small 5- to 20-acre farms that include animals ranging from beautiful horses and grazing cows, to goats, donkeys and even llamas.

The county seat of Hernando County for over 100 years, the little town was actually founded over 150 years ago. Brick streets, murals, and a smattering of antique shops and boutiques put the "charm" in its charming downtown, but it was a sign along Interstate 75 that used to bring most to this tiny burg. It advertised Rogers' Christmas House and Village and was definitely worth the stop. The quaint collection of little turn-of-the-century homes turned into an enchanting year-round holiday village were just perfect for shopping any time of the year. Unfortunately, Roger's Christmas House and Village closed. Vacant for a few years, it has now been remodeled with portions turned into a tea room.

Adjacent to the Rogers' property though is Saxon Manor, a popular wedding and event venue featuring a refurbished Victorian house, lovely gardens and a beautiful reception area.

Events that might bring you to this small town include the Florida Blueberry Festival.

The celebrated fruit is just one of the many crops you might find growing in the area. The family-friendly festival is held each year in April in Downtown Brooksville and features live entertainment, arts & crafts, fun activities for the kids... and, of course, plenty of blueberries.

Just down the road you'll find Weeki Wachee Springs.

The older attraction still has the most unusual show in Florida — "mermaids" that perform underwater in the crystal clear springs. The adjacent water park, Buccaneer Bay, is small by Florida standards, but popular with locals.

North of Weeki Wachee and northwest of Brooksville is Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park where you can see the "real" Florida — showcasing nature. Area activities include sightseeing tours, boat rentals, fishing and snorkeling.

If you decide to spend a day or two in the area, your best bet is a chain hotel — either a Best Western or Hampton Inn — at the Highway 50 exit along I-75 or the Best Western Weeki Wachee Resort, a small property just across the street from the attraction. 

Directions

Brooksville is located about 10-15 miles west of Interstate 75 and about 50 miles north of Tampa.

From North or South: I-75 to Exit 301 (Hwy. 50) and turn west. Follow signs.

From South: Veteran's Expressway/Suncoast Parkway (Hwy. 589) travel north to Exit 46 (Hwy. 50) or via Hwy. 41 drive north to Hwy 50.

From Weeki Wachee take Hwy. 50 east to Brooksville.

See my Google Map for exact location and directions to Brooksville, Weeki Wachee and Homosassa Springs.