Tucked away in the southwest region of Marion County, the city of Dunnellon is perhaps the best-kept secret in Central Florida. Founded in the late 1800’s, Dunnellon was the site of the first hard-rock phostphate discovery in the state of Florida. The growth of this mining industry earned Dunnellon it’s nickname of Boomtown. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, The Dunnellon Boomtown Historic District is still home to over 70 buildings, including some restored Victorians that are currently used as gift stores, restaurants, and more, setting a charming backdrop to the day-to-day life here.
Bordered by both the Withlacoochee River and the Rainbow River, Dunnellon is a true paradise to nature-enthusiasts and outdoorsmen. Whether you’re looking to spend some time on the water or you’d prefer to keep your feet on dry land, there are several options for you to explore. Dunnellon is conveniently located to several state parks, including Rainbow Springs State Park and the Goethe State Forest, as well as Lake Rousseau, Ross Prairie State Forest, the Cross-Florida Greenway, and much more. The abundant wildlife here includes bass, catfish, bluegill, deer, osprey, river otters, and even Bald Eagles.
If you’re looking for tranquility, Dunnellon may be the city for you. Read on to discover all that Dunnellon has to offer.
Tranquil Dunnellon is located only twenty minutes from Ocala and forty minutes from Gainesville, and offers something for everyone looking to discover North Central Florida. Its living options include signature riverfront luxury properties for those who love the water, active adult communities for retirees looking to relocate, and secure suburban neighborhoods for families in search of a safe, thriving place to call home. Dunnellon also boasts a well-preserved historical district, and there are several neighborhoods to choose from to suit exactly the lifestyle you’re searching for, including:
- Rainbow Lakes Estates
- Rainbow Springs Country Club
- Rainbow Springs Woodlands
- Rainbow Acres
- Rainbow End
- Rainbow Springs Forest
- Blue Cove
- Rolling Ranches Estates
- Rolling Hills
- Rainbow Park
- Lake Tropicana
- Juliette Falls
- Grand Park North
- Paynes Enterprise
- Westwood Acres North
- Westwood Acres South
- Spruce Creek Preserve
- Florida Highlands
- Lancala Farms
The Blue Gator Tiki Bar and Restaurant– A local favorite, the Blue Gator sits right on the Withlacoochee River and offers up classic Florida seafood dishes like gator tail, oysters, steamed shrimp, and more. It’s the perfect place to relax by the river with a few cocktails and delicious eats!
Swampy’s Bar and Grill– Overlooking the crystal-clear Rainbow River, Swampy’s lets patrons enjoy the beauty of nature along with some killer Cajun dishes and cocktails. Chow down on some etoufee, and watch the sun set over the river. You may even catch a glimpse of an otter or two!
Dunnellon is truly a nature-lover’s paradise, with the Rainbow and Withlacoochee Rivers dominating outdoor life in the area. In addition to the two rivers, Dunnellon is surrounded by state parks and forests, with convenience to lakes, coastal rivers, and even the Gulf of Mexico. The Dunnellon area has outdoor activities for everyone!
Cross Florida Greenway– Crossing Central Florida from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Johns River is the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway. Over time, this corridor was transformed from one of the nation’s largest uncompleted public works projects to a world class greenway with hiking, biking, equestrian and paddling trails, boat ramps, fishing spots, campgrounds, a barrier-free Boundless Playground® and picnic shelters.
Rainbow Springs State Park– Lovers of boating, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming will fall in love with Rainbow Springs and the Rainbow River! The park features not only the crystal clear headspring of the Rainbow River, but also beautiful gardens and waterfalls. Tubing is also available upriver.
Goethe State Forest– Over 53,000 acres of natural beauty await at Goethe State Forest, one of the few old growth longleaf pine forests in Florida. Hikers can enjoy seven different trailheads, and trails are also open to horses. Fishers, hunters, campers, and picnickers are also welcome. Other outdoor attractions in the Dunnellon area include the Ross Prairie State Forest, Halpata Tastanaki Preserve, and Lake Brousseau. Dunnellon is also convenient to Crystal River, and is only 45 minutes away from Cedar Key on the Gulf Coast.
When you think Florida, one of the first things that may come to mind is golf. With the sunny weather year-round, Dunnellon is no exception to the popularity of golf. If your passion is hitting the green, you’ll have no difficulty finding great courses to play on convenient to your home. Just a short drive from Ocala and Gainesville’s numerous courses and clubs, Dunnellon is also home a few golf courses of its own, including:
• Rainbow’s End Golf Club
• Spruce Creek Preserve Golf Course
• Citrus Springs Golf and Country Club