BROOKSVILLE, FLORIDA

By  Mike Miller  Updated September 15, 2023

Brooksville, Florida Things To Do, Lodging, Dining, & Real Estate At End Of Article

Brooksville, Florida is 50 miles north of Tampa and just a few miles east of Weeki Wachee Springs on State Road 50.  Its population is about 9,000. 

Like many Florida cities, Brooksville has been dwarfed by a huge next door development that created many thousands of new homes.

Watercolor of Old Truck at Florida Cracker KitchenWatercolor of Old Truck at Florida Cracker Kitchen

Its neighbor to the west, Spring Hill, now has a population of 111,076.  Brooksville is more than 100 years older than Spring Hill and less than 1/10th the size.


HISTORY OF BROOKSVILLE, FLORIDA


There were early Native Americans in the area when Hernando deSoto came by in the 1500s.

Chocochattee Town, near Brooksville, was the de facto seat of government for the Seminole nation for almost 70 years going back to 1767.

Fort DeSoto was built on the north side of what is now Brooksville during the Seminole Wars in the 1840s. 

Brooksville Decorative Water Tower
Brooksville Decorative Water Tower
Photographic Destinations by Bob Kyle

There was no well water available at the fort because of the underlying limestone formation, so the fort moved to an area with freshwater springs that were on the site of the future Brooksville.

The fort became a regular stop on the stage coach line that ran from Palatka to Tampa.

Settlers began arriving in the late 1840s and created two new communities,  Pierceville and Melendez. 

These communities merged in 1856 and became known as Brooksville, named for Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina.

Read More About the History of Brooksville, Florida


BROOKSVILLE, FLORIDA TODAY

The history of Preston Brooks that inspired the town's name does not fit with its peaceful demeanor of today.

Lovely ancient oaks line the brick streets. Grand well maintained southern mansions stand proudly in quiet neighborhoods.

Mansion in Brooksville, FloridaMansion in Brooksville, Florida on Brooksville Avenue

It is within a long commuter's drive of Tampa and an ever increasing number of Tampa workers are making the trip, especially since the completion of the Suncoast Parkway, a toll road.

Hernando County CourthouseHernando County Courthouse in Brooksville, Florida

Although a medium sized town, it is easy to get lost in Brooksville because of the many state and federal highways that meander through town in a most unusual way.

The highway network in Brooksville, FloridaThe Highways That Go Through Brooksville, Florida

For example, US-41 comes into town from the southwest, then turns east through town before going north again.

US-98 comes in from the southeast, then turns west before going north again.

State Road 50 bypasses the town on its south side, but State Road 50A goes directly through town.

All of these highway confluences result in a series of one way streets that locals have no problems with but that confuse tourists.

Confederate Monument in Brooksville, FloridaConfederate Monument in Brooksville, Florida

The weather worn statue of a confederate soldier still stands guard in front of the Hernando County courthouse in downtown Brooksville.

Brooksville AvenueBrooksville Avenue, Brooksville, Florida

The downtown area has not been gentrified like in so many Florida towns.

It is a collection of interesting old buildings and quite a few that have seen better days.

Brooksville Avenue homeHome on Brooksville Avenue

It's a real town where people live, work, play and enjoy the many good restaurants in the area.

Unlike most of table-flat Florida, Brooksville and Hernando County have many rolling hills. Some of them are among the highest elevations in Florida.

Chinsegut Hill Manor HouseChinsegut Hill Manor House

One of the most interesting attractions in Brooksville is Chinsegut Hill Manor House, known locally also as Mount Airy, Snow Hill or just The Hill.

This is a historic site that was originally the plantation of Colonel Byrd Pearson from South Carolina who named his sprawling estate "Mount Airy".  

The house was partially completed before Florida became a state. The property has had other uses and names over the years.

READ MORE ABOUT CHINSEGUT HILL

Another place that's fun to visit in Brooksville is the Hernando Heritage Museum at 601 Museum Court.  It is located within the historic May-Stringer House. 

May-Stringer HouseMay-Stringer House

The house is on the National Register of Historic Places, and features many artifacts and Victorian era rooms.

READ MORE ABOUT THE MAY-STRINGER HOUSE


Recommended Brooksville Restaurant

MAIN STREET EATERY

101 North Main Street
Brooksville, Florida
Tel 352-799-2789


The Main Street Eatery has been serving homemade lunch, and only lunch, since it was opened in 1989 by Mr. and Mrs. Bill Bell. 

Main Street EateryMain Street Eatery

It is very popular with the locals who work in the nearby shops and government buildings, but it has also been discovered by tourists.

The paper table mats have ads for many of the downtown Brooksville businesses, so it is a good place to get oriented.

The Eatery has a delicious selection of sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts. Their offerings range from healthy to decadent.

READ MORE ABOUT MAIN STREET EATERY


THINGS TO DO IN BROOKSVILLE, FLORIDA

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park - 6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606 - Watch live mermaid shows and take a scenic boat ride on the crystal clear waters of the Weeki Wachee River.

Florida Mermaid Trail - Multiple locations throughout Brooksville - Follow the trail of whimsical mermaid sculptures throughout the city and take Instagram-worthy photos.

Chinsegut Hill Retreat and Conference Center - 22495 Chinsegut Hill Rd, Brooksville, FL 34601 - Explore the historic mansion, walk the nature trails, and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Tom Varn Park - 306 Darby Ln, Brooksville, FL 34601 - Play a game of disc golf, enjoy a picnic, or take a walk along the scenic nature trails at this beautiful park.

Hernando County Fairgrounds - 6436 Broad St, Brooksville, FL 34601 - Attend a variety of events throughout the year, including the annual Hernando County Fair and rodeos.

Boyett's Citrus Attraction - 4355 Spring Lake Hwy, Brooksville, FL 34601 - Learn about Florida's citrus industry and enjoy fresh-squeezed juice and homemade ice cream.

Florida Cracker Trading Company - 966 E Jefferson St, Brooksville, FL 34601 - Browse through a unique collection of gifts, antiques, and Florida-inspired merchandise at this charming shop.

Brooksville Country Club - 23446 Links Dr, Brooksville, FL 34601 - Tee off at this beautiful golf course surrounded by oak trees, wildlife, and scenic views.

Croom Motorcycle Area - 6420 La Rose Rd, Brooksville, FL 34602 - Ride your dirt bike or ATV through miles of trails and jumps at this popular off-road destination.

The Strong Tower Vineyard & Winery - 17810 Forge Dr, Spring Hill, FL 34610 - Sip on locally-made wines and enjoy the peaceful countryside at this family-owned winery.


More Photos Kyle


INTERACTIVE GOOGLE MAP OF BROOKSVILLE, FLORIDA




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