Hernando Beach
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Hernando Beach – The Complete Guide To The Gulf Of Mexico

Hernando Beach, Florida, is likely a beach town that you’ve never heard of. Off the beaten path, hidden out of sight – yet this oasis holds some of Florida’s best-kept secrets. Located on the west coast of Florida and right next door to Weeki Wachee River and Springs, this shrimping town offers much more than direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. It is home to the Hernando Flats, Gilligan’s Island, and canal living at its finest. So wonderful that we took the plunge this year and bought a second home in Hernando Beach, Florida. Yep, we love it here so much that it was time to put roots down here. Let me share with you why we fell in love with the real Gulf Of Mexico’s Venice!

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Hernando Beach History

Despite the name, Hernando Beach is a misnomer – there isn’t an actual beach. Instead, it is a waterfront canal community that has access to the Gulf of Mexico. Before the 1950’s Hernando Beach was wetlands. Charlie Sasser, a developer, purchased the area somewhere between 1959 and 1965 and then developed the area up until 1970.

Canals of Hernando Beach

Sasser developed 500 acres of marshy wetlands into waterfront lots. The lots were created using the earth dug out of mining operations along the coast and dredging.

Fast forward to 1971, when restrictions on wetland development stopped any future growth. The state claimed ownership of the wetlands Sasser was digging in, and the Army Corps of Engineers claimed Sasser didn’t have the proper permits.

Long story short, a legal battle ensued between Sasser, the state, and the Hernando County Commission. This resulted in Sasser building a dike around 144 acres he had begun developing 10 years earlier to separate it from the gulf. He was also ordered to restore the land to its natural state. In other words, while the development was initially legal, it was deemed illegal in 1971.

Many say this is the last community of its kind; some say it should not exist. I say thank goodness it does!

Why Hernando Beach, Florida?

I’ll be frank, like most of you, I have never even heard of this town. I stumbled upon it when searching for a boat. The boat search brought me to Hernando Beach, and we did our boat training out here. I’ve been addicted to boating for a while now but seeing the clear turquoise waters of Hernando Beach caught my attention – as did the proximity to the scallop patches that consume our summers.

In one picture, here is why:

Hernando Beach

The Three Sections of Hernando Beach

If you consider renting or moving to Hernando Beach, you need to understand how the community is set up. It’s divided into three sections, and while all can access the Gulf of Mexico, only one section- the North has direct access.

There are two separate canal systems. The northern canals are saltwater and have direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. The southern canals, which include the middle section, are mostly fresh water and do not have direct access to the Gulf of Mexico.

  • The North: The northern section starts at Eagles Nest Drive to Companero Entra.
  • The Middle: The middle section is all of the streets off Hermosa Blvd.
  • The South: This south starts on Amberjack Drive and ends on Palameto Drive but is accessed from Bluefish Drive or Jew Fish Drive. This is the most underdeveloped section and stages some of the biggest homes in the area. The south is a deed-restricted comminute and has a mandatory homeowners association called Hernando Beach South Property Owners Association. Home and lot prices are lower in the south because of the lack of direct gulf access.

Boatlift of Hernando Beach

Residents of the middle and south sections access the Gulf of Mexico using the Hernando Beach boat lift. This is all the streets off Hermosa Blvd and in Hernando Beach South. The boatlift is a concrete plug – part of the berm that provides access to the saltwater canals and the Gulf of Mexico. Once you’ve passed over the boatlift, you then must go under the Companero Entra bridge. If you follow any of the groups on Facebook dedicated to Hernando Beach, you will have seen the questions around the boat ramp and accessibility.

Here’s an illustration of the three areas:

Hernando Beach Boat Lift

Photo Credit: Jami Lyn Costanzo

I live in the North, so I personally don’t have to deal with the boatlift, but here are the typical things people want to know:

FAQs About Hernando’s Boatlift

Anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. It depends on if you are in the south or middle section.

The cradle is only about 9 ft wide.

You need a key – it’s private for residents only.

No, it uses a pully system.

Yes, however it sometimes breaks down. And, when it does, there is no access to the Gulf of Mexico.

Hernando Beach Flats

I think some would argue that this is one of the star attractions of Hernando Beach. Shallow sand bars glistening from the turquoise water make for a perfect boating day. And there’s no shortage of boats enjoying this oasis! I don’t think you can fully appreciate this coastal community until you’ve hit the flats. I consider the flats the crown jewel. If you were dropped off here blindfolded, you would swear you’re in the Caribbean or the Bahamas once revealed.

Most people stick to the main section where the barrier islands are directly next to the channel. We tend to cross the flats to the right and hang out at what locals call Gilligan’s Island. FYI, not sure if this is the real name or not.

Lastly, you’ve not experienced true Florida until you’ve ended your day with shrimp boats in the backdrop of a sunset.

Water Floats & Mats You Need To Enjoy The Flats

floating water mats

Springs & State Parks

Hernando County is home to some of the most stunning state parks and springs. If hitting the flats is not your thing, don’t worry. There’s plenty more to see and do!

Roger’s Park

Three acres along the Weeki Wachee River, with a boat launch, swimming beach & manatee sightings. This is only a few miles away from Hernando Beach. Kayaking or floating down this river is a treat; it’s reminiscent of days gone by. It’s so untouched by modern amenities it almost feels like Disney created this place to reflect the past. It’s no recreation – it’s Florida untouched.

This is the main park area; keep scrolling because the real beauty lies in the river:

Weeki Wachee Springs (Weeki Wachee Springs State Park)

This is the only place in America where you can see real live mermaids! It’s a personal favorite of mine! And it’s the home of Buccaneer Bay Waterpark, a real old-fashioned watering hole with slides.

Mermaid Show in Florida

Read all about it here: The Mermaid Show In Florida

Linda Pedersen Park

This is a sandy recreational area that allows swimming in places. The Park also offers fishing, an observation tower, picnicking, and amenities such as showers, playground, grills, a community building, and restrooms. It’s very common to see manatees in Jenkins Creek.

Hernando County Beaches

As mentioned in the beginning, Hernando Beach is not a traditional beach community – it’s a canal community with access to the Gulf of Mexico.

Alfred A McKethan Pine Island Park

This is the only public beach in Hernando County. Cross barrier islands and salt marshes to reach this little beach island. Or drive your boat up here if you are adventurous, kayak your way up here. This park includes a beach and swimming area, picnic tables, shelters, barbecue grills, observation point, volleyball court, playground, and concession stand. Pavilions are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Alfred A McKethan Pine Island Park

Address: 10840 Pine Island Drive Spring Hill, FL 34607 and distance from is Hernando Beach – 17.5 mi.

Where To Stay In Hernando Beach

Brit On The Move House

You can now rent the Brit On The Move House! Enjoy the most decked-out home in the area.

There is one motel in Hernando Beach.

Hernando Beach Motel

  • Phone: (352) 596-2527
  • Address: 4291 Shoal Line Blvd, Hernando Beach FL 34607

The Captain’s House

Owned and operated by Hernando Beach Motel, this is a one-of-a-kind rental. The home is available for weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties or just rent a room with its own private bathroom. The uniqueness of the Captain’s House places it in a category all its own yet very affordable.  And, check out the pool that is shaped like a boat!

The Captains House Hernando Beach

You can book directly here.

Other Accommodation Options


Hernando Beach Marinas

Three main marinas service the area.

Blue Pelican Marina

The only facility on the Main Channel. Boaters at our facility enjoy the quickest and easiest access to the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Phone: (352) 610 9999
  • Address: 5000 Calienta Street, Hernando Beach, FL 34607

Sterling Marina

  • Phone: (352) 596-4010
  • Address: 4211 Shoal Line Blvd, Hernando Beach, FL 34607

Hernando Beach Marina

Home of the Restaurant Tropical Grille!

  • Phone: (352) 596-2952
  • Address: 4139 Shoal Line Blvd, Hernando Beach, FL 34607

Hernando Beach Fishing

Many people chose to take their own boats out and fish the flats, and some go deep fishing on their own boats.

Charter Fishing

There are tons of fishing charters in Hernando Beach – too many to list. My recommendation is to use FishingBooker. This site will bring up every available charter in the area.

Public Fishing

If you want to join a large group, consider THUNDER Party Boat Daily trips are 8:00 am-4:00 pm $75.00 cash $80.00 credit or debit card only.

Scalloping Out Of Hernando Beach

We’ve been scalloping for seven years now, and we discovered the Hernando patches a few years ago. Our journey scalloping out of Hernando Beach started by renting a home out here. Not only is there little to no traffic compared to the northern spots, but it’s also an amazing place to scallop out of. As you can see, we do quite well:

Just south of Homosassa and lesser-known, Hernando Beach brings real advantages! No crowds, a quick ride out to the reefs, and stunning turquoise water. Here’s the map of how to access the scallop patches of Hernando Beach:

Hernando Beach Scallop Map

It’s also worth mentioning that tons of people choose to go out of Bayport. We have had loads of luck in Bayport, but we drive the boat up there.

If you’ve never scalloped before read this: Florida Scalloping – Your Complete Guide

Hernando Beach Flag

Hernando Beach DF

If you’ve been out and about on the water chances are you’ve seen this flag. Now, if you want to know how to get one message me and I’ll tell you how!

Boat Rentals

  • Blue Pelican Marina – Phone: (352) 610 9999
  • The Captain’s Boat Rental – Phone: (352) 596-2527
  • Sterling Marina – Phone: (352) 596-4010
  • Hernando Beach Marina – Phone: (352) 596-2952
  • Hernando Beach Motel – Phone: (352) 596-2527

Boat Tours

Let’s Get Salty LLC

There’s a new tour operator in town – Let’s Get Salty LLC. If you are visiting and don’t want to rent a boat or don’t feel comfortable navigating the waterways problem solved!

Get Salty LLC

Image Credit: Let’s Get Salty LLC

Captain Brandy offers several tour options!

  • Ladies Day Get Away
  • Day on the Flats
  • Tour Hernando Beach
  • Sunset Cruise
  • Specialty Trips
  • Scalloping Trips
  • Anclote Key and Sandbar

Call (386) 747-4982 to book a tour!

Da Freaky Tiki

The newest boat tour to the area! Explore some of the natures coast with their two, three or four hour cruises – you can even customize the cruise to your event.

Da Freaky Tiki

Image Credit: Da Freaky Tiki

They offer a certified boat captain, a cooler, ice (for both the cooler and your drinks), and a Bluetooth stereo speaker so that you can link up to their premium soundbar and play your own music.

Cruise Options:

  • Da Freaky Tiki – 2-hour Cruise
  • Da Freaky Tiki  – 3-hour Cruise to Hernando Beach Flats
  • Da Freaky Tiki – 4-hour Toki Special
  • Da Freaky Tiki – Ko Olina Sunset Cruise

Cruises are BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage)! Per Person Cruises: Minimum 2-hour cruise up to 6 people per trip. Minimum 2 people for a 2-hour cruise and 4 people for a 4-hour cruise.

Email Norman to book: Email: [email protected]


Looking for something non-water-based to do? How about paintball at Gator Paintball Extreme!

Paintball games are an ideal way to entertain you, your family, friends, and co-workers. It can be a recreational day of paintball fun, a team-building exercise, or played as a competitive sport. 

One of the great things about paintball is that everyone can play – men, women, boys, girls, young and old alike.

Kayak Rentals Around Hernando Beach & Weeki Waki 

Some of the locals have become really creative and offer kayak delivery services. That’s right, and you can have a kayak,  canoe, or paddleboard delivered to you at your choice of location!

Kayak Delivery

Friendly Mobile Kayaks

I’ve personally used Friendly Mobile Kayaks. I found them on Facebook, and they saved what would have been a flop! We had tried to rent from Weeki Wachee River Rentals, but they were sold out. Not only did Cameron deliver the kayaks right to us, but they are the most economical option in the area. We only paid $25 per day per kayak. And, returning them was easy. We texted Cameron, who then met us to pick up the kayaks. It’s also worth noting that they also rent clear kayaks.

Reserve yours here: Friendly Mobile Kayaks

Dirt Bag on his kayak we rented:

Weeki Wachee

Easy Peasy Mobile Kayak Rental LLC

Family-run & operated Mobile Kayak Rental. Tandem Kayak – $80 · Duration Varies.  And if you check out their site, they have a ton of other watercraft to rent to you.

Kayak Pick Up

If you plan to kayak the rivers, there are a few physical locations to rent from:

The Kayak Shack

  • Conveniently located next to the Upper Deck Restaurant at Rogers Park. Reservations are not required but are highly recommended during peak season.
  • All Day Rental $35 – Phone: (352) 610-4169 – All rentals must be returned by 5 pm

Weeki Wachee River Rentals

Located before the bridge that crosses Rogers Park. You can also rent small boats here. You cannot make a reservation here – it’s first come, first served. Weekends are busy and sell out. I can tell you from experience that if you don’t show up long before 8 am, you have no chance of scoring a rental. Phone: (352) 596-2852 – All rentals must be returned by 4 pm

All Day Rental Prices

  • Boats – $100 – $145 depending on size
  • Canoes and Kayaks – $35 – $45 – depending on size

Hernando Beach Motel

You can rent clear bottom kayaks from here! Phone: (352) 596-2527 – Address:4291 Shoal Line Blvd, Hernando Beach FL 34607

Hernando Beach Restaurants

Hernando Beach is home to tons of restaurants, bars and food trucks! Too many to list here.

Here is a list and review of all the Hernando Beach Restaurants!

Clubs Of Hernando Beach

Hernando Beach Yacht Club

Founded in 1978, The Hernando Beach Yacht Club (HBYC) is a member-only club of individuals who love boating and living near the water. The Yacht Club offers its members various activities, including sailing regattas, offshore fishing expeditions, a weekly dinner on Wednesday night, and a Christmas boat parade.

The Hernando Beach Yacht Club offers a superb location for weddings, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Enjoy beautiful sunsets overlooking Hernando Beach’s central canal. This unique wedding venue offers a full bar, kitchen, dining area, and dance hall, suitable for 100 guests.

Address: 4163 Shoal Line Blvd Hernando Beach, FL 34607

Hernando Beach Club

The Hernando Beach Club is in west-central Florida in Hernando County, directly on the coast and overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The club is members-only. However, the club can be rented out to non-members for events. We’ve seen many a wedding take place here overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

Hernando Beach

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Hernando Beach Post 9236

The VFW of Hernando Beach has many Veterans who meet at this post including the Auxiliary for a variety of outings and events. The Post Proudly Sponsors Voice of Democracy, Patriot’s Pen (Youth Essay Writing Contest), Teacher/EMT/Police Officer & Firefighter of the Year Awards. The staff, welcome and invite you to visit the VFW to enjoy the warm atmosphere and patriotic holiday celebrations. Considered the most revered spot by many locals, be sure to pay a visit.

Hernando Beach VFW

Dinner Cruises

Marina Rose Experience

This dinner cruise includes food, beverages, & more. This Riverboat Replica offers 2-2.5-hour lunch and dinner cruises. Some of our favorite local restaurants provide the food. The vessel is operated by USCG Licensed Captains, with local knowledge.

Island Rose Diner Cruise

Photo Credit: Marina Rose Experience

  • Fully enclosed & climate controlled with the option of open windows for a gulf breeze.
  • The dining area has great visibility & comfortable seating in a quiet, intimate environment.
  • Onboard restroom facility.

And you can reserve a private charter for almost any type of event! Up to 18 passengers. Take the Sunset Cruise for $59.99 per person. Phone: (352) 232-8128

We finally took the cruise and it’s well worth the money. Here are some pictures from our dinner cruise:

Where To Buy Fresh Seafood

There are three local spots to buy fresh seafood:

Trader Bay Seafood

  • Phone: (352) 597-5170
  • Address: 4006 Shoal Line Blvd Hernando Beach, FL 34607

If you are planning on crab, it’s best to call ahead and order. The chances of a drive-by are slim if the crab is what you are after. Call and order at least a day before you plan to pick up.

Trader Bay Seafood

Aripeka Stone Crab Company

By far my favorite place.  I go here almost every time I am in Hernando. I buy two things – stone crab and octopus!

  • Phone: (352) 232-5777
  • Address: 3080 Sunset Vista Dr, Spring Hill, FL 34607

From Boat to Table, Hernando Beach Seafood Fresh Fish

Located directly next to ZigZag Scallop.

  • Phone: (352) 596-6552
  • Address: 4417 Calienta St, Hernando Beach, FL 34607

Is This Post Helpful to You?

If so, I would love to keep in touch with you and see your photos and comments about your experiences in Florida! You can follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

If you share your photos, I will share them with all of the other followers of Brit On The Move! Just tag BOTM at @britotmove or hashtag #britotmove

Keep Moving – You only get one life!

Map Of Hernando Beach Attractions

Closing Thoughts

If I’ve not convinced you yet that Hernando Beach is The Gulf Of Mexico’s Venice, I’m not sure you can be convinced! This is a treasure trove for those who have had the pleasure.  A community that can’t be replicated. Daily you’ll see dolphins, stingrays, sharks, turtles (including loggerheads), and the most breathtaking sunsets that the gulf has to offer.

And, this is also one of the most affordable places to buy waterfront property on the west coast of Florida! I looked for two years then found the one. Zero regrets me, and I am still shocked at how inexpensive a slice of heaven is.

What did I miss, and what would you add? Why do you love Hernando Beach – comment below!

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  1. We left this morning after a 3 week stay at a Hernando Beach Airbnb. We have visited the Springhill area for the past 6 years staying 1-2 weeks at a time. This time, staying in Hernando, was by far our favorite. This friendly, quite little area has left us wanting more. We are a short few years away from moving to Fl and when we do you can bet this will be the first choice.

    Thank you for this article, I thought it was spot on and only wish I would have found it before we came for our stay. My only question was regarding the central and south residents. Since we had to cross the Compenero Entra bridge every time we went to our home, we couldn’t help wondering how anyone with a boat larger than a canoe could get under that bridge and into the gulf access? It didin’t seem possible. I understand the manual boat lift to get over the berm and timing it with low tide but even that seems impossible. Would love it if you could post pics or a video of someone going under.


    1. Hi Tim,
      I’m glad you found the article helpful:) I agree with you on the boat lift, and a video would be a great addition. Ironically, even though I spend a ton of time out there, I’ve never seen anyone go over the boat lift “yet.” I’m not back out there for another couple of weeks, but when I get there, I’ll get in on video and share it.
      I could not agree more – it’s my #1 choice in Florida. Nikki

  2. Hernando Beach is Not Pine Island as pictured. The “Brit “ is very confused. Shame on you for posting false information to pad your pocket.

    1. Additionally, I honestly can’t believe any county officials would want to hyperlink this misleading information to county information. I can assure you if this has happened I will make sure my tax dollars are not going to promote blatant lies.

      FYI Hernando Beach is not a beach. Nor are there any white sands where children can play in Hernando Beach. I have lived in this area for 38 years . It is a series of man made canals that were dredged by the county,

      1. Evidently, you did not read the article, if you have you would know that this is covered! And the county has shared this article.
        So, get off your high horse, READ before you comment and move on.

    2. Do you have trouble reading? Shame on you for jumping on here before you have READ the article. The “Brit” is not confused – make no mistake about that.

    3. Try READING articles before shaming and accusing someone of lying. Do you just look at pictures, scroll and troll? This article is chop full of facts and great information. ALL 100% accurate. Unlike your nasty comments

      “Despite the name, Hernando Beach is a misnomer – there isn’t an actual beach.” This is actually 1 of the FIRST LINES and she goes on to explain IN GREAT DETAIL the ENTIRE area. AGAIN she says “As mentioned in the beginning, Hernando Beach is not a traditional beach community – it’s a canal community with access to the Gulf of Mexico.”

  3. This page is so helpful to some Alaskan travelers on the hunt for sun and manatees. Are businesses in still in full swing in the winter or do a lot of places close down?

    1. Hi there,
      It slows down a little regarding the number of people boating, but all businesses are open and in full swing. We were just there this weekend:) It really is a beautiful uncommercialized spot:) Nikki

  4. Is waterskiing allowed in the area? If so what is the best area to ski near the Hernando Beach neighborhoods? Thank you in advance !

    1. Hi Victoria,

      As far as I know yes – especially if you got past the channel. This said, I’ve never seen anyone waterskiing but I see jet skis on the flats all the time. Nikki

    1. Hi Diane,
      More than happy to, it would be my pleasure. Can you give me some pointers of places to go photograph and some info on the local artist? Thanks, Nikki

  5. Would you give us permission to copy and paste your article on Hernando Beach on Websites for local businesses. I am also a member of the Tourism Development Committee for Hernando County. I would like to do the same on the tourism website for Hernando County. Love your article. It paints a beautiful accurate picture of Hernando Beach. Thank you so much Nikki

    1. Hi there,
      I am sorry but I can’t actually do that because we will have competing content that’s identical – and we would both likely get a Google Penalty. I would prefer it if you would feature the article with a snippet and then link back to the actual article. I’d be more than happy to partner up and give you a fresh into so that people can read a new intro that comes over to read the actual article. Would that work? PS – we love the Silver Dolphin – the patio is like Hawaii :) Let me know…. Nikki

  6. Its a shame you threw a little shade on The Drunken Mullett and Brian’s Place considering they are some of the best places on the beach for food and entertainment..

    1. Hi Dennis,
      It was not meant as shade, just my take and I think you’ll agree that we all see things differently. I’ve been to Drunken Mullett many times and have not tried Brian’s place yet for the reasons I mentioned in the article. Nikki

  7. The Captain’s House which is an unusual beautiful Air BnB type home. The home is available for weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties or just rent a room with its own private bathroom. The uniqueness of the Captain’s House places it in a category all its own yet very affordable. The Captain’s House is affiliated with Hernando Beach Motel but located in another area of the town. Just Google Captain’s House, Hernando Beach for our beautiful web page.

    1. Hi Yann,
      I am actually going to add it today along with the VFW. We see it all the time – love the pool :) And, whoever did their videos is a rock star. Nikki

  8. Great article ! You did not mention probably the most revered spot , The Veterans of Foreign Wars ( VFW ) a gathering place with many events..,

    1. Hi Mike,
      You are right… I had it on my list and forgot :( I will add it tomorrow. Thanks for pointing it out. Nikki

  9. Thank you So much for mentioning us in your article. We are a small family owned and operated company that’s just taken off. We enjoy the kayak life, and want to make it Easy Peasy for other to enjoy it as well.

    1. Hi Faith,
      You are beyond welcome:) This is our new zen and our new home. We love, stress, love this community, and we will stand behind all the local businesses here. We will all grow together xxxxx Nikki

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