Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Inverness, FL

  • Published 2022/03/12

The City of Inverness in Citrus County, Florida, is known for its lively festivals, closeness to nature, and rich history.

Inverness, the county seat of Citrus County, is surrounded by nature preserves and pristine lakes, making it a suitable destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Historically, a Scottish settler named this city like the one in Scotland.

Its downtown is known for its historic buildings, such as the Courthouse Square.

It is also teeming with small boutiques, pubs, diners, and shops with unique offerings to everyone.

In the city’s heart is the famous Withlacoochee State Trail that stretches 46 miles.

In addition, Inverness has numerous festivals, including the Great American Cooter Festival on the last week of October.

However, its real fun doesn’t stop there; Inverness is also home to the Citrus County Speedway, where the annual Inverness Grand Prix happens every November.

This city of 7,500 people has so much to offer, with most of their attractions conveniently located near each other.

It may not be as popular as the bigger cities in Florida, but Inverness has a distinct beauty that you can’t find anywhere else.

To find out, here are the 15 best things to do in Inverness, FL:

Enjoy the Outdoors at Cooter Pond Park

A wooden footbridge at Cooter Pond Park

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If you’re seeking a picturesque setting for an entire day of outdoor activities, head to Cooter Pond Park.

It’s a nice place to enjoy various outdoor activities or perhaps enjoy a relaxing picnic with your family.

In addition, Cooter Pond Park has a boardwalk perfect for wildlife viewing, particularly the Cooter turtles, while its trails are great for hiking.

Blue body of water at Cooter Pond Park

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Furthermore, Cooter Pond Park is a popular fishing spot for locals and visitors, but swimming is highly unlikely allowed there because of alligators.

Lastly, this park is a very convenient attraction to visit in Inverness since it’s a walking distance from Courthouse Square, where the famous Old Courthouse is located.

Turtle statue made of rock at Cooter Pond Park

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Watch Exciting Races at the Citrus County Speedway

Road sign of the Citrus County Speedway

DanTD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Citrus County Speedway nestled along South Florida Avenue is an exciting attraction you shouldn’t miss visiting.

It has a unique figure-8 racecourse that regularly organizes and hosts races throughout the year.

Its races have different categories from professional to amateur talents who vie for supremacy on the track.

Visiting this place will surely pump up your adrenaline as you’ll be hearing engines roaring, cheering fans, and non-stop racing that is just simply exhilarating.

One of the biggest races you should watch when visiting the Citrus County Speedway is the Inverness Grand Prix.

Experience Live Performances at the Valerie Theater

Exterior of the Valerie Theater

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Valerie Theater is a small but beautiful theater located on Inverness’s Courthouse Square.

It was constructed in 1926 and underwent massive restoration to preserve its natural charm.

A car parked in front of the Valerie Theater

DanTD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Valerie Theater became popular for being part of Elvis Presley’s film, “Follow That Dream” in 1961.

In addition, this theater is one of the most popular entertainment establishments in the city.

It’s where most locals watch movies, concerts, and stage plays throughout the year.

The street where Valerie Theater is located

DanTD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Immerse with Nature at the Citrus Wildlife Management Area

The Citrus Wildlife Management Area is located just outside the city limits of Inverness.

It spans more than 50,000 acres of densely forested areas that stretch to the neighboring Hernando County, west of Inverness.

This natural attraction is popular for wildlife viewing, where visitors can get a chance to come across various native animals such as gopher tortoises, fox squirrels, indigo snakes, and white-tailed deer.

The Citrus Wildlife Management Area is part of the seven huge tracts that comprise the Withlacoochee State Forest.

In addition, other outdoor activities you can enjoy there is fishing, camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and hunting available seasonally.

Wander through the Fort Cooper State Park

Name sign of the Fort Cooper State Park

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fort Cooper State Park is an amazing place because of its history and natural beauty.

This state park spans 710-acre along Old Floral City Rd in Inverness.

It’s where you’ll find Lake Holathlikaha known for its vibrant flora and fauna.

The entire lake offers visitors many recreational activities from fishing, canoeing, paddle boating to kayaking, while swimming is limited to certain parts of the lake.

Old military road at Fort Cooper State Park.

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Its surroundings have top-notch trails perfect for hiking and self-guided tours around.

However, Fort Cooper State Park has more than that.

Historically, Fort Cooper serves as a key battleground during the Second Seminole War between the United States Army and the Native Americans.

Visiting this place upon arriving in Inverness is a great and exciting way to start your travel.

A sign post at Fort Cooper State Park about the florida war

DanTD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Follow Elvis Presley’s Traces at the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum

Exterior of the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum

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The Old Courthouse Heritage Museum situated on Courthouse Square in Inverness is popularly known for being the setting of Elvis Presley’s “Follow That Dream.”

Presley, the “King of Rock & Roll,” visited Inverness in the summer of 1961 to shoot the film where they utilized the Old Courthouse as the setting of his courtroom scene wherein many locals became extras.

Side exterior of Old Courthouse Heritage Museum

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Today, the City of Inverness and its historical society preserved everything that transpired that day and are is seen through its permanent exhibits.

In addition, the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum is also where the culture, arts, heritage, and historical artifacts of Inverness are housed.

Visiting this museum gives you a unique experience and a more detailed backstory of Inverness.

Sunshine hitting the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum's building.

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Traverse the Withlacoochee State Trail

Name sign of Withlacoochee State Trail on a container vehicle

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Traverse one of the most extensive paved rail trails in Florida, the Withlacoochee State Trail.

The entire trail traverses to numerous cities and towns across Citrus County that spans more than 46 miles of paved trails, which is the former Florida Greenways & Trail System.

The concrete trail of Withlacoochee State Trail

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In Inverness, the trail is accessed through E. Dampier Street, Wallace Brooks Park, and Liberty Park.

The trail is a perfect destination for those who want long hikes, jogging, and skating.

An unpaved trail serves as a route for horseback riding, while along the way, there are numerous accesses to various parks and natural areas in Citrus County.

Two people riding their bike at Withlacoochee State Trail

Malachi Jacobs /

Celebrate the Great American Cooter Festival

The Great American Cooter Festival is a celebration that particularly honors the native Cooter turtle abundant in Inverness and Citrus County.

Thousands of people from around Citrus County converge at the Wallace Brooks Park every last week of October, joining the festival.

The entire festival highlights musical concerts featuring dozens of bands and musicians while spectators can enjoy overflowing beer and delicious food from vendors.

In addition, there is also a carnival during the celebratiosn where kids and adults can have fun.

Different activities and highlights each year are making this festival very exciting.

When you’re planning to visit Inverness, it would be best to schedule it during the Great American Cooter Festival, and don’t forget to take photos of the Cooter turtle mascots!

Do More Outdoor Activities at the Whispering Pines Park

Sign direction pointing to the Whispering Pines Park entrance

DanTD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Whispering Pines Park located along Forest Drive in Inverness is an accessible outdoor recreational park conveniently near the city’s downtown.

The entire park spans 290 acres of lush green space, offering its visitors great outdoor recreation.

The park is generally perfect for a family that wants quality bonding time.

Front gate of the Whispering Pines Park

DanTD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The park is equipped with an extensive swimming pool along with sports facilities for disc golf, basketball, racquetball, pickleball, and tennis.

Meanwhile, kids can have fun at the park’s playground that has a splash pad.

Whispering Pines Park is a great place to spend your day with your family during your trip to Inverness.

Partial stairs leading to the Whispering Pines Park

DanTD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the Potts Preserve Trail

Name and welcoming sign of Potts Preserve Trail

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Another trail in Inverness worthy of visiting is the Potts Preserve Trail located along N. Hooty Point.

The trail was established as a preserve for groundwater and also serves as a surface water reserve and wetland.

However, it became popular for locals and visitors for outdoor activities like hiking and bird watching.

The entire trail spans 20-miles of picturesque sceneries that offer visitors the chance to take a closer look at various bird species and other animals.

If you have more energy to explore Inverness’s trails, include Potts Preserve Trail on your list.

Go on a Food Trip to Inverness

Exterior of Stumpknockers restaurant at Inverness

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Inverness is abundant with excellent food choices that makes your trip there more exciting.

You can treat yourself to a food trip that will take you to a diverse culinary experience to wrap up your travel adventure in Inverness.

The city’s Old Courthouse Square is not just famous for its historical buildings.

It’s also packed with diners and restaurants to visit.

It has a hip dining scene filled with cozy restaurants, shops, and pubs, perfect for a night out.

You can find Asian, Mexican, and traditional favorites while strolling through Inverness’s streets.

The most recommended restaurants or diners to visit during your food trip in Inverness are; A Touch of Italy Pizza & Pasta, The Cove Pub & Grub, Dillon’s Cinnamon Sticks, Brooklyn Deli Too, Coach’s Pub & Eatery, El Ranchito, Fisherman’s Cove, Habaneros Mexican grill, Cattle Dog Coffee-Roasters, and Cedar River Seafood.

Rub Elbows with Locals at the Citrus County Fair

The Citrus County Fair is an annual affair you should join in Inverness if you want to learn more about the local life in the city.

The fair features different exhibits that reflect the way of life of Inverness’s locals.

On the other hand, it also features various local products and fresh produce from nearby farms and shops.

Aside from the usual livestock shows, there are numerous exciting activities lined up during the Citrus County Fair, such as rodeo competitions, musical concerts, games, and rides.

In addition, you can buy fresh produce, handicrafts, pastries, and artisanal food from local vendors.

It is a fun way to rub elbows with locals and appreciate their simple way of living.

Unwind at the Wallace Brooks Park

Name sign and landscape of Wallace Brooks Park

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The Wallace Brooks Park along E. Dampier Street in Inverness is where most of the city’s activities and festivals happen.

It’s the unofficial venue for most of the city’s gatherings, making it a popular and enjoyable place to visit.

Blue skies reflecting on a lake at Wallace Brooks Park

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The park has always been the place for locals and visitors in Inverness to have fun and unwind since 1968.

It is equipped with all the top-notch park amenities such as hiking trails, bike trails, a boardwalk, a swimming pool, a fishing pier, picnic shelters, and restrooms.

Wallace Brooks Park is nestled on the Lake Tsala Apopka Chain’s shoreline.

Cast Your Line at the Henderson Lake

An old dock at Henderson Lake

DanTD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Henderson Lake is accessed through Wallace Brooks Park in Inverness.

If you’re interested in fishing during your travel adventure in this city, this lake is the go-to place.

The entire lake covers 422 acres teeming with various freshwater fish that you can catch.

Boat launching area of Henderson Lake

DanTD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At Henderson Lake, you can catch largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, chain pickerel, bluegill, bowfin, etc.

In addition, there are also sturgeons and gars in the lake.

Whether you’re spinning or baitcasting, you always have a great chance to get a bite at Henderson Lake.

Camp at the Holder Mine Recreation Area

The Holder Mine Recreation Area is nestled on the southwest portion of Inverness.

It is known for camping and other outdoor activities, and it’s also part of the Withlacoochee State Forest’s 50,000-acre tract.

If you’re looking for a place to do outdoor activities where you can spend the night, the Holder Mine Recreation Area is the best place to go.

In addition, other outdoor activities you can do at this outdoor attraction in Inverness are hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, mountain biking, and seasonal hunting.

In total, there are 27 campsites in the area.

It offers campers clean water, sewerage hookups, electricity, fire rings, picnic tables, bathhouses, and an RV dump station.

Final Thoughts

Inverness is a perfect example of an unassuming city with a rich history and natural attractions worthy of visiting.

Most of its attractions are conveniently accessible and near each other, making your visit there more relaxing.

Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or have a great experience with nature, something is waiting for you in Inverness.

So, which of these places you’ll be visiting first?

Make sure to bookmark this post as your itinerary for your trip to Inverness.

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