City Profile: Dunnellon


An outdoor lover's getaway, Dunnellon strives to preserve its history and natural landscapes.

Dunnellon has been called the "Treasure of Florida's Nature Coast," and anyone who visits this quaint community will readily see why. With its crystal clear springs, native vegetation and wildlife, scenic nature trails and tranquil gardens, Dunnellon has plenty of the natural beauty typical of the region. Surrounded by two beautiful rivers and steeped in a proudly preserved history, Dunnellon embodies Old Florida character and charm.

What began as seven small farming communities boomed in 1889 with the discovery of phosphate in the area. A period of prosperity followed and the town developed a railroad, school, post office, electric lights, connected water and a wooden bridge over the Withlacoochee River. The Greater Dunnellon Historical Society has preserved many of the remains and visitors today can stroll oak-lined streets in Dunnellon's nationally registered historic district while viewing authentically restored nineteenth century homes.

The town's early beginnings in phosphate mining are remembered each April with Boom Town Days, a tribute sponsored by the Dunnellon Area Chamber of Commerce. The event features participants dressed in period costumes and includes craft shows, antique car exhibits, music, beauty pageants and food.

Dunnellon boasts Florida's second largest artesian spring, Rainbow Springs, which feeds roughly 500 million gallons of crystal clear water each day into the scenic Rainbow River. With a year-round temperature of 68 to 72 degrees, the waters of this river are a popular destination for anyone interested in boating, tubing, canoeing, swimming, diving or snorkeling. Tube and canoe rentals are available at the Rainbow Springs State Park Campground and Marion County's KP Hole Park, as well as through private sources. Fishing is also a popular water-based activity, with largemouth bass, sunfish, bream and longnose gar inhabiting the river.

The natural beauty of the area can be enjoyed from land as easily as from its beckoning waters. Hikers will find pristine forests of oak, pine and magnolia trees inhabited by indigenous birds such as cormorant, blue heron, barred owl and anhinga. For those wanting to put their wheels in motion, the Withlacoochee State Trail provides the opportunity for bikers and rollerbladers to enjoy Dunnellon's portion of Florida's Rails to Trails program and access to Cross Florida Greenway at Pruitt Trail Head.

Local accommodations, from the charming bed and breakfast to the waterfront resort, and restaurants offering everything from gourmet to home-cooked fare help make Dunnellon a perfect vacation spot for those wanting a relaxing respite in a hectic world. Local residents have worked hard to maintain Dunnellon's natural beauty and preserve the integrity of its history. Their pride in their home town shows.



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