Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in New Port Richey, FL

  • Published 2022/08/12

New Port Richey has that quintessential Florida charm that attracts nature lovers and history buffs alike.

This city in Pasco County is mainly a residential community, surrounded by many natural attractions, community parks, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Because of its setting, the residents get to enjoy beautiful sunny days throughout the year as well as warm, mild weather.

And with the Pithlachascotee River cleaving it in half, the city is home to many riverside attractions.

All these elements come together to create a laid-back destination that’s perfect for your upcoming vacation.

Here are the 15 best things to do in New Port Richey, FL:

Head Into the Waters of the Gulf

View of Gulf of Mexico in New Port Richey

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Since you’re already being enticed by the Gulf’s glimmering waters every time you visit a beachfront attraction, you might as well head into its open waters.

The section next to Florida is well-known for its sports fishing opportunities.

So if you want to brush up your angling skills and bring home a catch you’d be proud of, then sail past the horizon and throw your lines into the blue.

There are many charters in New Port Richey, and the seasoned fishermen will be glad to bring you along for a half- or full-day trip.

View of Gulf of Mexico in New Port Richey

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You can try catching large game species like yellowfin tuna, sailfish, marlin, and mahi-mahi.

But if the high seas prove too intimidating for you, then you can simply enjoy the many sunset cruises offered by local businesses.

These never go too far from the coastline and are usually accompanied by food and live entertainment.

Play Poker at Tropical Breeze Casino

The thrill of gambling appeals to a lot of people, and if you’re one of them, Tropical Breeze Casino is a unique place where you can try your luck.

It’s a casino on a cruise ship!

So while you play, you’d be heading out into the sea and enjoy the beautiful coast and ocean breeze.

They have a complete set of games and amenities here, including poker tables, blackjack, roulette, and craps table.

In addition, you can play on their numerous slot machines and try to win a prize or two.

If you need to refuel after an intense or nerve-wracking match, the casino has a menu with a selection of delicious snacks and drinks.

You can sip a glass of wine or chew on a hefty sandwich while watching the waves forming as the boat sails across the beautiful waters.

See the Bubbling Waters at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Aerial View of Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

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Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park is a haven for explorers, photographers, and thrill-seekers.

It’s one of the most recent additions to Florida’s state parks, protecting four miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico.

One of the best ways to explore the attraction is on a small, nonmotorized water vessel like a canoe or a kayak.

Paddle your way through the salt marsh and see the mangrove forests, scenic inlets, and hidden coves.

View of Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Riverbanks Outdoor Store from New Port Richey, FL, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There’s plenty of wildlife to see, such as bald eagles, roseate spoonbills, and the occasional alligator.

When low tide comes, there’s a rare tidal waterfall that you definitely shouldn’t miss!

On land, there are many trails that bring you to unique habitats like pine flatwoods and oak hammocks, with hidden springs dotting the landscape.

You can’t swim in these springs, but you’re welcome to stay on the edge, take photos, and marvel at the aquatic creatures swimming in the clear waters.

Kayak rentals sign at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Linda White Wolf /

Go Kayaking at Robert Crown Wilderness Area

It’s not easy getting into the Robert Crown Wilderness Area, as there are no modern roads that lead into the attraction.

But the effort to reach it is well worth it.

Spanning 347 acres, this underdeveloped and protected land is home to Florida’s iconic mangroves and marshes.

These wetlands are unique to the state, and they serve as home to a myriad of native and endangered species.

During your kayaking or boating tour, keep an eye out for more than 200 types of birds, intimidating alligators, and aquatic critters calling the mangrove roots home.

You won’t find any road signs that point to Robert Crown Wilderness Area, so you need to find the boat launch near Green Key Road or hire the services of a local charter.

Be sure to visit when there’s at least two feet of water, as some parts are unnavigable during low tide because they’re too shallow.

Spot Manatees at James E. Grey Preserve

The waters of James E. Grey Preserve

Joanne Dale /

On one of the meandering segments of Pithlachascotee River likes James E. Grey Preserve, an 80-acre attraction for nature lovers.

The riparian habitat is an important ecological hotspot home to many of the region’s native species.

So while exploring the trails of the preserve, keep an eye out for dolphins, manatees, and various waterfowl.

Boat on the waters of James E. Grey Preserve

Joanne Dale /

If you plan on staying on the more developed sections, there are four pavilions for rent and an ADA-compliant boardwalk above the river.

It’s a great spot if you want to try fishing.

On the edge of the boardwalk, there’s a boat launch ideal for those who want to kayak into the preserve’s wilder sections.

People walking along James E. Grey Preserve's boardwalk

Candleabracadabra, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bring the Whole Family to Eagle Point Park

Scenic sunset over Eagle Point Park

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Another seaside destination in the city is Eagle Point Park, albeit it hasn’t any of Robert K Rees Memorial Park’s sandy beaches.

Instead, this attraction is surrounded by the region’s signature mangroves and shallow coastal waters.

It’s tucked in a forested area between suburbs, so it’s relatively quiet and doesn’t have that many people on regular days.

So you can enjoy the open fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, and other modern amenities in isolation.

There’s even a set of boardwalks that jut into the small creeks flowing parallel to the length of the park.

And since the attraction is near water, you can make it an ideal launching point for explorations towards the nearby mangrove forests, including Fillman’s Creek and Ben Pilot Point.

These areas are teeming with wildlife, so keep an eye out for herons, rare manatees, and colorful insects that thrive near brackish water.

Have Fun Under the Sun at Robert K. Rees Memorial Park

Sunset at Robert K Rees Memorial Park

Charles Baden /

Most of New Port Richey’s coastline is covered in mangroves and marshes, so there isn’t any lengthy beach to visit.

One of the few places with beautiful white sand is Robert K Rees Memorial Park.

This attraction is far from the bustling city, so it offers a tranquil and relaxing ambiance perfect for those who want to escape busty lives.

While the 45-acre attraction is still mostly composed of mangroves, there’s a small section on the southern side that’s clear of trees save for a few palms.

This area has fine white sand, a scenic boardwalk going into the forest, and many other amenities for an excellent beach trip.

You can go sunbathing, swimming, and wildlife watching with the whole family or group of friends in this small patch of land.

Sample Fine Beers at Cotee River Brewing Company

As the first brewery in the whole of New Port Richey, Cotee River Brewing Company has rapidly emerged as one of the favorite gather spots in town.

This establishment only started back in 2018, but it has grown into a large business open for everyone.

“Cotee River” is actually an affectionate nickname for the Pithlachascotee River, and the business has adopted it to give patrons a sense of familiarity.

Most of their drinks are made in-house, with a few choices from other Florida breweries.

But the highlight of their selection is the Market Fresh Wheat Beer, which combines fresh wheat beer with an herbal concoction from another local business, White Heron Tea & Gifts.

Other options on the tap include sangrias, stouts, porters, and other specialty drinks.

So when your New Port Richey tour is over, visit the location for some cold and refreshing mugs.

Stay at the Historic Sims Park

A Sign in Sims Park

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sims Park, a vibrant riverside attraction donated by George R. Sims, is arguably the most popular attraction in the city.

He was one of New Port Richey’s earliest promoters, owning more than 30,000 acres of land whose portions will eventually become the city.

The park named after him is one of the first recreational facilities in New Port Richey and is protected by Ordinance One.

So until the end of time, Sims Park will always be a people’s park and never at the hands of a private entity.

Ampitheater at Sims Park

Candleabracadabra, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From what once were just vast grounds, a more modern attraction has emerged.

The park has been installed with an amphitheater, riverfront walks, well-paved trails, pavilions, and many other contemporary amenities enjoyed by all.

For those with kids, there’s a fun splash pad and a well-equipped playground where they can play around all day.

And if you want to relax in front of the water, you can either stay next to the Pithlachascotee River or sit on the banks of Orange Lake.

The grounds of Sims Park

Candleabracadabra, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shop Quality Produce at Grand Fresh Market

New Port Richey doesn’t have a strong agricultural industry, so they don’t have a formal farmer’s market.

However, they do have the Grand Fresh Market as an alternative.

It’s the main source of fresh produce in the city, and you can visit here too if you want to sample quality Florida crops.

You’ll find small mountains of seasonal vegetables, various fruit cultivars, and other products on every corner of the facility.

And unlike regular farmer’s markets, Grand Fresh Market is open throughout the week.

So you can drop by anytime you want and check out their selection of farm-fresh produce.

Get a Glimpse of the Past at West Pasco Historical Society Museum and Library

View of a Church at Historic Sims Park

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The West Pasco Historical Society Museum and Library was established to preserve the county’s colorful past.

From the Native American societies that lived in ancient times to modern history, this facility covers the significant eras of the region.

So while visiting, you will see collections of artifacts like arrowheads, decorative items, weapons, tools, and clothing.

You will also encounter documents, photographs, and learning materials that cover the more recent history of Pasco County’s towns.

These are all located inside a 1915 schoolhouse, adding to the rustic ambiance that elevates the whole experience.

On occasion, the historical society holds special events tied to the promotion of the county’s past.

You’re welcome to join these engaging conventions, lecture series, and folk music concerts.

Let Your Pooch Play at Meadows Dog Park

For those bringing their furry best friend during the trip to New Port Richey, don’t forget to bring them to Meadows Dog Park.

It sits next to James E. Grey Preserve, so you can head here immediately after you tour the forests and river habitats.

Meadows Dog Park has all that your pooch can ask for: vast, grassy grounds, trees, and sandy areas for digging and relaxing.

Let them run around and have the time of their lives.

And since there will be other dogs in the park, there are plenty of opportunities for socializing.

For the safety of everyone, there are two separate sides for small and big dogs.

Owners are also responsible for their pets, so keep an out if your canine friend encounters unfriendly visitors.

Trek the Trails of Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park

Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park is the most expansive natural attraction in New Port Richey, reaching up to 8,300 acres in total land area.

Because of its size, the attraction shares borders with many other towns in Pasco County, but the main entrance of the destination is still within New Port Richey.

This particular spot serves as a day-use facility that’s more family-friendly versus the rest of the forest, with open spaces, kiosks, playgrounds, and volleyball courts.

View of Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park

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You’re welcome to stay here and enjoy the convenience of modernity.

Those who are more adventurous can head into the winding trails of the wilderness and see for themselves the marvelous wonders hiding behind the trees.

These well-paved paths are ideal for hiking, biking, and even horseback riding.

You’ll encounter a forest of wooden gnomes, native Florida mammals, and more than 170 avian species flitting about in between branches.

It’s a wonderful sight for nature lovers, so make sure that this attraction is on your list!

Stroll around Pasco Palms Preserve

Located near New Port Richey’s Beacon Square lies the preserve known as Pasco Palms Preserve.

Just west of US-19 North, at 4466 Strauber Memorial Highway, you’ll find it next to Eagle Point Park.

The 116-acre park welcomes visitors from sunrise to sunset and features a hiking trail.

You can cover the trail with a 10-minute hike, but there are palms, mangroves, cedar trees, and Brazilian pepper shrubs that you may want to stop and admire.

White ibises and snowy egrets have made the preserve home since 2009.

The preserve covers salt marshes, wetlands, mixed hardwood pine woods, mangrove swamps, and tidal flats, all directly adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico.

Paddle through Pithlachascotee River Paddling Trail

Pithlachascotee River Paddling Trail is an area around Grey Preserve where the river is most scenic, with towering trees forming a jungle-like shade over the water.

It is one of Florida’s official paddling routes because of its convenience and breathtaking scenery.

The sweet-smelling spider lilies are among the most pleasant things that welcome you as you paddle.

The river becomes more of an urban paddling route as it passes through New Port Richey.

Paddle carefully and be wary of submerged logs.

Watch a Production at Richey Suncoast Theatre

Exterior of Richey Suncoast Theatre

Karm Atwin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the must-see attractions in New Port Richey is the Richey Suncoast Theatre.

The Richey Suncoast Theatre has been a symbol of area culture and entertainment since the 1920s.

This venue began as a movie theater but later became a performing theater.

It features a wide range of live performances, from Broadway-style musicals to comedies to straight plays.

It also hosts touring acts.

Despite its small size, this spot is full of character.

Take Snaps of Pasco County Stilt Houses

View of a Pasco County Stilt House

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The Pasco County Stilt Houses are one-of-a-kind homes constructed on stilts in the water.

They served as a safe spot for fishermen to sleep and relax while out at sea.

The best way to appreciate them is from a boat or kayak, as their size and shape make them difficult to view from land.

The earliest stilt houses were likely constructed between 1916 and 1918, making them an essential part of the local history.

Twenty-four stilt dwellings used to dot the horizon, but in 1968, Hurricane Gladys wiped them off.

The state then exercised jurisdiction over the buildings, designating their precise placements and securing leases on the submerged ground.

Peruse the Collections at Lyon’s Head Antique Mall

When traveling to a new city, many people browse the unique wares in local antique stores rather than buying generic souvenirs from a chain store.

Since its inception in 1993, Lyon’s Head Antique Mall has been a go-to for antiquing enthusiasts, collectors, and those searching for hidden gems.

Over 10,000 square feet of space caters to antiques, art, collectibles, porcelain, china, and records.

You may find everything you’re looking for in this small corner of retail paradise.

Because the mall is open every day of the week, it shouldn’t be hard to make a quick stop and see what you can discover.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Once you’re done with your adventures in New Port Richey, why not check out these other destinations nearby?

Play With Friendly Creatures at Tarpon Springs Aquarium and Animal Sanctuary

Tarpon Springs Aquarium and Animal Sanctuary is located near the borders that New Port Richey shares with Tarpon Springs, so it’s only a few minutes’ drive away.

This family-friendly destination is the ideal place to interact with Florida’s wild animals safely and under the supervision of experts.

So visit the attraction and feed, pet, and play with alligators, stingrays, and other intimidating creatures.

See the Birds of Anclote Key Preserve State Park

Anclote Key Preserve State Park is detached from the main landmass, so you will need to charter a boat to reach it.

But the small effort is quite rewarding, as this isolated attraction is home to the whitest sands in this part of Florida.

As an important nesting site, this park has become a favorite destination for bird photographers who want to take pictures of rare avian species.

You’ll see bald eagles, piping plovers, and American oystercatchers hunt, feed, and frolic beside the tall grasses and on the sandy beaches.

Final Thoughts

With its riverside attractions, mangrove forests, and rich history, New Port Richey has an endless list of attractions to see.

So whether you’re looking for a relaxing time on the beach or an exhilarating trip across the vast wilderness, you’ll find it here.

Reference this list when making your itinerary so you won’t miss the top spots!

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