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The Nature Coast is an informal, unofficial region of the U.S. state of Florida. The broadest definition of the Nature Coast includes the eight counties that abut the Gulf of Mexico along the Big Bend Coast defined by geologists: from west to east, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties. (Note that the Big Bend Coast differs from the Big Bend region of Florida.)
Many businesses and organizations incorporate "Nature Coast" in their names, but most of them do not explicitly define the region, or define a smaller region. For instance, the Nature Coast State Trail, which is officially designated as part of Florida’s Statewide System of Greenways and Trails, is located in Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties. The Nature Coaster website covers only Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties.
This region of Florida is culturally partially southern, with the Deep South culture extending to Levy County. The lower southern end (Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus County) are often considered part of the Tampa Bay Area.
The name "Nature Coast" was devised in 1991 as part of a marketing campaign to attract vacationers to the eight county area. The name eventually began to be used locally, and describes the area formally known as the "Big Bend" of Florida.
Activities common in this area include hunting, fishing, boating, bird watching and nature hiking. Snorkeling spots are found in the rivers along the Nature Coast. Diving and manatee tours are available, predominantly in areas such as Crystal River, Homosassa and Homosassa Springs.
There are also 50 golf courses in the area.
- Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, partly in Hernando County
- Crystal River Archaeological State Park
- Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge
- Crystal River Preserve State Park
- Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
- Lake Rousseau
- Withlacoochee State Trail
- Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins State Historic Site
- Cedar Key Museum State Park
- Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve
- Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge
- Fanning Springs State Park
- Manatee Springs State Park
- Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park
- Goethe State Forest
- Pioneer Florida Museum and Village
- Starkey Wilderness Preserve
- Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
- Conner Preserve
- Bradwell Bay Wilderness
- Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
- Ochlockonee River State Park
- San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park
- St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
- Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad Trail State Park
- "Where would you like to go?". Florida Nature Coast. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- "Florida Nature's Coast". Nature Coast Coalition. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- "Nature Coast State Trail". State of Florida. Archived from the original on May 15, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- "Nature Coast State Trail". Florida Nature Coast. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- "Nature Coast Area Map". NatureCoaster. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- St. Petersburg Times article, St. Petersburg Times - Feb 23, 1994[dead link]