The north-central city of Dunnellon lies west of Ocala and north of Homosassa. This small town is located on the Rainbow and Withlacoochee rivers and bills itself as the Treasure of the Nature Coast. Dunnellon has something to offer everyone: from beautiful Rainbow Springs State Park and the awesome rivers to strolling the lovely tree lined streets of the Dunnellon Historic District. Spend yours days on a river boat ride, tubing, swimming, kayaking down the river, fishing for that big bass or shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts at the unique shops and antique stores. You will find local lodging or for visitors who want to enjoy Dunnellon’s natural beauty of lakes, rivers and ecotourism activities you can set up camp at state and commercial campgrounds in the area. Take a break in Dunnellon and enjoy true old-time charm.
How To Get There
Dunnellon is approximately 90 miles northwest of Orlando and 15 miles east of the Gulf of Mexico. It is within Marion County, about 25 mile east of the county seat of Ocala. The closest Interstate highway to Dunnellon is I-75, which runs through the west side of Ocala and connects to State Highway 41 west of the town. While there are two small regional airports near the town, Marion County Dunnellon Airport and Ocala Regional Airport, most tourists who fly to the area arrive via Orlando International Airport, just under two hours away.
Commercial campgrounds in the Dunnellon area are on the Withlacoochee River. These campgrounds are mostly family-run and cater to RVs. They have full hookups, recreation areas, fishing piers, docks, social events for guests and equipment rentals. Withlacoochee Backwaters RV Park (backwatersrv.com) in Dunnellon is on the north shore of the river’s dam-controlled Lake Rousseau. The campground has approximately 50 sites. Lake Rousseau RV and Fishing Resort is also on the lake. Its 125 sites are situated on 15 acres of land shaded by cypress and oak trees. Dunnellon is a small town in north central Florida. The town is on the Withlacoochee and Rainbow rivers and known as the “Treasure of the Nature Coast.” Visitors who want to enjoy Dunnellon’s natural beauty of lakes, rivers and ecotourism activities can set up camp at state and commercial campgrounds in the area.
State-run wilderness areas provide full-facility and primitive camping areas in Dunnellon. Named after a freshwater spring, Rainbow Springs State Park (floridastateparks.org/rainbowsprings) has 60 campsites at its modern campground, including spaces for RVs, tents and trailers. Some sites have full hookups. Amenities include laundry facilities, an on-site store, ADA accessible bathrooms, showers, equipment rentals, dump station, picnic tables and grills, a recycling center and playing fields. In Goethe State Forest (fl-dof.com/state forests) northwest of Dunnellon on the Marion County border, guests can obtain a permit to camp at primitive sites. Goethe has an old-growth forest and is home to rare animal species such as bald eagles, gopher tortoises and Florida black bears.
Dunnellon’s nickname as the “Treasure of the Nature Coast” refers to the area’s natural beauty of freshwater and saltwater waterways, mangrove swamps, springs and semitropical vegetation. Rainbow Springs, the headwaters of the Rainbow River, is the fourth largest spring in the state. Activities on the river and other areas around Dunnellon include fishing, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling and swimming. Hiking and nature trails are at all the major parks. Goethe is a draw for bird watchers because the forest is a part of the Great Florida Birding Trail (floridabirdingtrail.com). The trail’s website has an online guide of species, trail locations and a trip planner. Dunnellon is also home to the Hálpata Tastanaki Preserve (www.swfwmd.state.fl.u), a day-use preserve that offers educational activities for guests, equestrian and bike trails plus online guides of animals that live on the preserve.