Pups and their two legged friends love Inverness, Florida, and for doggone good reason. This city in Citrus County is a park paradise, and is connected to the Tsala Apopka and Henderson Lakes. Sandwiched between the Flying Eagle Preserve and the Citrus Wildlife Management Area, this city also has 330 acres of parkland within the city. With two animals hospitals and a clinic nearby, you and your dog can have safe and fun time in Inverness.
One of the most exciting features of Inverness is the Flying Eagle Preserve, a 10,950 acre area of small lakes, islands and forests. This preserve offers hiking, boating, bird watching and even free primitive camping that you and your dog can enjoy. There are about 20 miles of multi-use trails through the wetlands for an adventurous stroll. Although the camping is free, you still have to register, but the campsites offer picnic tables and fire rings.
When it’s time to get back to civilization, Inverness has some great pet friendly hotels to offer as well. The Lakeside Golf Resort allows pets for an extra fee. This golf resort has a pretty 18 hole bermuda grass course with mature oak trees. Whether you’re here to for the weekend or here to stay, you and your dog will find plenty of pawesome things to do in Inverness!
In the Twin Lake Road neighborhood of Inverness, tails are wagging and locals are raving about the Bark Central Dog Park. The large 15 acres off-leash play area has naturally filled swimming pools, picnic tables, and shady oak trees throughout the beautiful terrain. Amenities include waste bags, pooper-scoopers, and even toys! There is a rinse-off station and air dryer to clean up your pup after playtime. The park isn’t free, but this means it’s well maintained and restricted to dogs that are fully vaccinated and temperament screened. Daily, bi-weekly, monthly, or yearly passes are available for purchase. When you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to the Van Der Valk Restaurant in the same neighborhood. They offer dog-friendly outdoor tables and delicious European cuisine.
Another great park in Inverness is the Fort Cooper State Park located in the Fort Cooper Highlands neighborhood. This park offers 700 acres of beautiful nature to hike, camp, and relax in with your furry friend. The primitive campsites include picnic tables, potable water and a fire ring. If you would like to learn more about the local wildlife, enjoy the 5 miles of self-guided trails as part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Leashed dogs are allowed throughout the park, except for the beaches and water so as not to disturb endangered shorebirds and turtles. To continue on the adventure, from the park you can connect to the Withlacoochee State Trail that meanders along the Withlacoochee River. This 46 mile long trail is the longest paved rail trail in Florida.
It’s not hard to get fully immersed in nature with the Citrus Wildlife Management Area in the Withlacoochee State Forest nearby. This 50,000 acre park is accessible through the west end of Inverness, in the Stagecoach neighborhood. Your pupper will love to romp around like a wild dog while you both enjoy the trails, camping, and wildlife. There are over 40 miles of hiking trails through a variety of ecosystems. The park allows leashed dogs at all times for non-hunting purposes, and as long as your pet doesn’t disturb the wildlife. If you want to stay a while, also within the Withlacoochee State Forest is the dog friendly Holder Mine Campground. Amenities include electric, potable water, and restrooms.
The Inverness Citrus County neighborhood is the proud home to the Tsala Apopka Lake. This lake is composed of a large network of swamps, marshes and islands. Whether you want to hop on your kayak or paddleboard to explore the lake, or just relax on one of the surrounding islands, you and your dog will love this area of Inverness. Some of the islands include Lighthill Island, Cabbage Island, or Scout Island. When you and your pup have worked up an appetite from paddling, you can make your way over to The Cove. This lakeside restaurant is accessible by boat, and best of all, has dog friendly outdoor tables. They’re famous for their Wine Down Wednesdays and Thursday Steak Nights.