Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Pasco County, FL

  • Published 2023/06/10

Pasco County sits in the west-central region of Florida, just north of Tampa Bay.

As part of the Tampa Bay Area, it serves as a commuter town for people working in the neighboring cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg.

Established in 1887, Pasco County was named after prominent Florida politician Samuel Pasco, who had just been elected to the US Senate at the time of its creation.

It was carved out from the northern portions of Hernando County, with Dade City initially becoming its temporary county seat until residents decided to make it the permanent center of government in 1899.

Today, it is home to more than half a million residents and is known for its beautiful beaches, trails, and scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Here are the best things to do in Pasco County:

Step Back in Time at Pioneer Florida Museum & Village

Facade of the Pioneer Florida Museum & Village

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Pioneer Museum Rd, Dade City is Pioneer Florida Museum & Village.

The living history museum showcases life in rural Florida from the mid-1800s to the 1940s.

I booked a group tour, and it already included a guide who took us to the Trilby Train Depot and the John Overstreet House.

As a history geek myself, I was amazed at the extensive collection of antique tractors, cars, and even household items that were common back in the day.

There was even a Civil War reenactment where actors in head-to-toe costumes and firearms passionately reenacted the events during that time.

We were then treated to fresh sugarcane after the show.

It was my first time tasting sugarcane syrup and I loved it.

Savor Southern Cuisine at Steph’s Southern Soul Restaurant

Located on 5th St, Dade City is Steph’s Southern Soul Restaurant.

The family-owned eatery serves classic Southern cuisine, including fried chicken, collard greens, and mac and cheese.

All dishes are made from scratch with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

We went there on a Saturday for a hearty lunch, and it did not disappoint.

I ordered the Smoked Barbecue Ribs, which were slathered in a special house-made sauce.

They were fall-off-the-bone tender, which paired well with the fresh Mac & Cheese.

My dad had Moe’s Plate, which consisted of fried chicken, beans, rice, and bread.

For dessert, we ordered one slice each of Lemon Meringue Pie and Key Lime Cake.

Test Your Nerves at Scream-A-Geddon Horror Park

Located on St Joe Rd, Dade City is Scream-A-Geddon Horror Park.

The park features 6 haunted attractions, including a haunted prison, a dilapidated asylum, and an escape room.

Do note that this park is only open during the Halloween Season, but you can book your tickets months in advance.

I booked ours around August, and groups of less than 25 get discounted prices.

I’m not a big fan of haunted attractions but I did particularly enjoy the Zombie Paintball Assault where I got to live out my The Walking Dead dreams.

Our group also enjoyed the Blackpool Prison, where we were separated from each other and taken into hidden cells.

After screaming our lungs out trying the interactive attractions, we enjoyed some cold beer at Bonzo’s Beer Garden.

Go Fishing at the Moon Lake State Forest Recreation Area

Located on Lake Dr, New Port Richey is the Moon Lake State Forest Recreation Area.

The 942-acre park’s centerpiece is the 48-acre Moon Lake, which is a spring-fed lake that’s part of the Susquehanna River Basin.

The lake is a known passageway for migrating fish, so my dad wanted to try his luck at catching some largemouth bass.

We were told that the lake is annually stocked with thousands of trout by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, so you’ll have the time of your life here if you love fishing.

My dad was able to catch some bluegill, spotted bass, and spotted seatrout.

Indulge in Gourmet Cuisine at Brix 33 Fine Wines and Bistro

Located on FL-54 #109, New Port Richey is Brix 33 Fine Wines and Bistro.

The upscale restaurant boasts its wide selection of fine wines and gourmet cuisine with a European flare.

We went there for dinner and were surprised there was live music inside.

We started our meal with a cheese plate which consisted of an assortment of imported cheeses handpicked by the chef, fruits, nuts, and crackers.

I ordered the Smoked Faroe Island Salmon which had a flavorful lemon caper sauce, while my dad had the Coulotte Steak, with Balsamic Demi-Glace.

I paired mine with a glass of Napa Valley chardonnay, while my dad had some merlot.

Go Birdwatching at the James E. Grey Preserve

Kayaking at James E. Grey Preserve

Joanne Dale /

Located on Plathe Rd, New Port Richey is the James E. Grey Preserve.

The 80-acre park sits on the shores of the Pithlachascotee River, creating the perfect natural habitat for local wildlife.

The nature preserve has a shaded boardwalk that follows the river, which made it easy for us to explore the surroundings.

Boardwalk at James E. Grey Preserve

Candleabracadabra, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Good thing I brought a pair of binoculars when we visited as I was able to spot some rare bird species, including the great blue heron, red-shouldered hawk, and barred owl.

We wanted to launch a kayak, but it had just rained the previous night, so the water was a bit murky.

I spent a while in the observation deck, just admiring the park’s natural beauty, while my parents rested in one of the pavilions.

Do A Sunset Cruise with Windsong Charters & Boat Rentals

Located on US-19, New Port Richey is Windsong Charters & Boat Rentals.

The tour company offers boat rentals and charters on the Gulf of Mexico.

We booked the sunset pontoon boat charter with the captain, which was enough for our group of 5.

We brought our own drinks on board and were taken to a shallow part of the Gulf, with our boat anchored on a sandy underwater shoal.

We snorkeled for a bit and then poured ourselves a drink while enjoying the breathtaking sunset.

My dad wanted to fish, but we were told we needed to secure a fishing license at the local license agent.

Hike the Sandhills at Aripeka Sandhills Preserve

Located on Aripeka Rd, Hudson is Aripeka Sandhills Preserve.

The 209-acre nature preserve was established in 2007 to help protect western Florida’s southernmost coastal hardwood forests.

It has approximately 2 miles of hiking trails as well as a boardwalk that overlooks its unique sandhill ecosystem.

It was a moderately challenging hike and took us around 35 minutes to complete the loop from the trailhead on Aripeka Road and back.

Most of the hike is along a sandy trail and it can be slippery, so be sure to wear proper gear.

We passed by a tallgrass prairie, which was dotted with colorful wildflowers.

We also saw a couple of rock formations, but we didn’t dare climb as we were in a rush to catch the sunset at the lake.

Sip on Craft Beer at Zephyrhills Brewing Company

Located on 5th Ave, Zephyrhills is Zephyrhills Brewing Company.

The local craft brewery specializes in small-batch beers with unique flavor profiles.

I went there on Friday night to sample their taps.

The place was packed, but I was able to squeeze into the bar area.

There were plenty of flat-screen TVs tuned in to different sporting events.

I ordered the Hook Turn Pale Ale on tap, which I was told was made using mosaic hops, pale malt, and English ale yeast.

On the brewery’s grounds are a couple of local food trucks selling grubs that are perfect to pair with your drink.

I ordered the Warm Maine Lobstah Roll with Butter from Got Lobstah and Brisket Dinner Plate from Up N’ Smoke.

Taste Local Brews at Cotee River Brewing Company

Located on Main St, New Port Richey is Cotee River Brewing Company.

The brewery features a rotating selection of beers on tap, as well as live music and food trucks on weekends.

Upon entering the taprooms, I was transported back to the 19th-century Pithlachascotee River with rustic light fixtures and wood accents decorating the space.

Hanging on the walls are historic photos of the river, adding an even more old-school vibe.

Their brewing facility is located right next to the taproom, so I was able to peek at how they make their beers.

I ordered a pint of Chocolate Covered Strawberry Porter, which had Belgian dark chocolate and fresh strawberry notes, reminiscent of the chocolate-coated strawberries we all love to snack on.

Conquer Your Fear of Heights at Skydive City Zephyrhills

Entrance sign at Skydive City Zephyrhills

P. Allison /

Located on Sky Dive Ln, Zephyrhills is Skydive City Zephyrhills.

The facility offers tandem skydiving, solo jumps, and skydiving lessons for beginners.

Skydiving has always been on my bucket list of things to do before I turn 30, so upon learning online that there was a facility in Zephyrhills, I booked a slot right away.

Bookings are on the hour, and they accommodate up to 4 divers per timeslot.

Aeroplane at Skydive City Zephyrhills

P. Allison /

I picked the 9:00 am slot, so I had a crystal-clear view of the city and its surrounding areas.

My diving partner could tell I was nervous, so he did his best to calm my nerves before signaling me to jump off the plane.

I felt safe all throughout the experience, from the on-the-ground briefing up to the landing.

Sky diver at Skydive City Zephyrhills

P. Allison /

Soak up the Sun at SunWest Park

Located on Old Dixie Hwy, Hudson is SunWest Park.

The 70-acre waterfront park offers a wide range of recreational activities, including a freshwater beach, volleyball courts, and a wakeboarding park.

We went there to kayak, but we ended up enjoying the wakeboarding more.

The facility has obstacle courses for the more advanced wakeboarders, but I recommend kneeboarding for beginners as it doesn’t require as much of a balancing act.

Afterward, we laid our picnic mats on the sand and soaked up the sun for a long overdue tanning session.

There are a couple of food trucks selling snacks and refreshments, so you don’t have to pack lunch.

Feel Like A Kid Again at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park

Located on US-19, Port Richey is Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park.

The indoor playground features trampolines, a ropes course, and a ninja warrior course.

We went there on a Saturday morning, and it was packed with school-age kids and kids-at-heart like us.

I haven’t had proper training in a long time, and we have been eating good food throughout the trip, so my upper body strength was put to the test at the Trapeze.

We wanted to try the Ropes Course, but there were too many in line, so we opted to try the ProZone Performance Trampolines.

Kids will surely enjoy the Lazer Fury, or the park’s version of bumper cars with bright neon lights.

Savor Authentic Mexican Cuisine at Restaurante Mexicano San Miguel

Located on FL-54, New Port Richey is Restaurante Mexicano San Miguel.

The family-owned restaurant serves authentic Mexican cuisine, including tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas, all served with homemade salsas and guacamole.

The first thing I noticed was the colorful interior of the space.

They even have a large painting of Frida Kahlo hanging on the wall.

I hate to admit but I ordered their margarita right away.

I split a beef fajita with my mom, while my dad had the Burrito San Miguel, which had grilled shrimp and homemade green sauce.

Taste Classic Italian Dishes at Rossi Ristorante Italiano

Located on FL-54, New Port Richey is Rossi Ristorante Italiano.

The family-owned restaurant serves classic Italian dishes made with fresh, homemade ingredients.

I have been craving pasta for 3 days before visiting this place, so I had a linguine with sherry marsala sauce.

We also ordered their famous Sicilian pizza, which didn’t have a shortage of pepperoni.

My mom had the chicken parmigiana, while my dad ordered the chicken marsala.

Final Thoughts

Pasco County is a hidden gem in Florida that offers a wide range of attractions and activities for all types of adventure-seekers.

Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or great food, there’s something for everyone in this region.

So, pack your bags for an unforgettable vacation experience and try the best things to do in Pasco County.

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