Friday, May 27, 2011

Anclote Lighthouse Tour and History

Last week during our Pasco County Outdoor FAM Tour we visited Anclote Key and the lighthouse. The lighthouse sits on the southern tip of Anclote Key, at the mouth of the Anclote River.  Historically, it is known for its sponges which are found on the bottom of the Anclote River and other places. Currently the State is revitalizing the area. But you can still make your way to island by boat and explore the beautiful surroundings.

If you head out this Memorial Day weekend here is a little refresher on the history. Anclote Key is a pristine slice of the Florida's yesteryear. The word Anclote is a Spanish word meaning anchor. The island is about 180 acres and around four miles long, and almost a mile wide.

The park is actually made up of four islands and continues to grow as sand accumulates along its length.  The islands are Anclote Key, North Anclote Bar, South Anclote bar and Three Rooker Island.  Anclote Key is the northernmost island of the 320-mile chain or barrier islands which protect much of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Anclote Key Preserve State park has been preserved in a primitive state. Since it is accessible only by boat and is remote, the island attracts many birds that tend to avoid human contact, making the park a key destination for bird watchers. The park is home to at least 43 species of birds, including the American oystercatcher, bald eagle and piping plover.

Camping is available on the North end of the island along with picnic pavilions and grills. Visitors must bring water and supplies as there are no provisions on the island. Plenty of sunscreen and bug spray is also recommended. Camping is free but before you go call 727-469-5942 and check in.

Anclote Key is very damp and marshy, which makes it hard to travel around unless you walk along the sand beaches. Barefoot is best! The color of the water resembles that of the Florida Keys because it is a turquoise-color. The island's eastern side has no beach. Instead, it has mangroves and mud, almost like quicksand.

The western side, however, has a beautiful white sand beach and is a popular place for locals to sunbath and enjoy water sports. We hope to see you there!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pasco County FAM Tour This Week

The Office of Tourism Development is promoting Pasco County the old fashioned way this week, by word-of-mouth. A four-day trip from May 17-20, called the “Outdoor” FAM Tour, for travel writers will promote and allow the journalists to experience some of the County’s best attractions.

This is the first tour Pasco County has conducted in six years and the itinerary planned will showcase Pasco's brand as an outdoor sports and travel destination. 

The FAM Tour participants are traveling from as far away as North Carolina, Utah and Tennessee to experience Pasco County. Two are in-state residents and one, Terry Tomalin, is an outdoors writer for the St. Petersburg Times, but he also contributes as a Visit Florida Insider in many online and print publications. 

A total of five writers and photo journalists have been published in many notable publications including Adventure World Magazine, Explore Compete Live Website, Outdoor Sport Guide Magazine, The Travelling Adventurer Magazine and

The  tour will help promote all of the great outdoor Pasco adventures, accommodations and dining experiences we have here.

The FAM Tour will show off attractions such as J.B. Starkey Park, Saddlebrook Resort, Florida Backwater Charters (flats fishing), Giraffe Ranch, Werner-Boyce Salt Springs Park, Red Balloon Adventures, Miss Daisy Boat Tours and Skydive City.

Traveling all over the county, participants will eat at fine establishments including Kafe Kokopelli, Lonzalo’s Pizzeria and Ristorante, Havana Dreamer, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dempsey’s Too, Pappas Ranch and a visit to Florida Estates Winery.

Accommodations are being provided by Homewood Suites, Saddlebrook Resort and Pasco County Parks and Recreation rustic Starkey Cabins. So if you see the Pasco County Tourism Van traveling about you know that there are tourists and journalists on board.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

National Tourism Week in Pasco County

Pasco County has planned activities to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, May 7-15.  The schedule includes festivals, recognition, a Travel Expo visit and a Promote Pasco Workshop.  Culminating the week of events is the Blueberry Jerry Jamboree and the Cotee River Seafood Festival and Boat Show, May 13-15.

The week begins on May 9, with the unveiling of the new van wrap as part of the County’s Tourist Development Plan 2010-2014 marketing initiatives. The Board of County Commissioners will sign a resolution on Tuesday, May 10, declaring May 7-15, Pasco County Tourism Week.  After the recognition the Office of Tourism Development will head north to the Visitors’ Center on I-75 to promote Pasco County and welcome visitors to Florida.

Thursday, May 12, is the highlight of the week when the Special Event Grant application process for Fiscal Year 2011/12 is launched. The kickoff coincides with the Promote Pasco Workshop at the Hampton Inn & Suites, in Wesley Chapel. The free workshop is designed to assist event planners and tourism stakeholders in marketing Pasco County as a travel and sports destination. Topics will include mobile marketing, websites, social media, video and print advertising.  To reserve a space at the workshop or receive a Special Event Grant application package, including all requirements, call (727) 847-8129.

On Friday, it’s a visit to the Villages Travel Expo in Ocala to promote Pasco County. In addition, the inaugural Blueberry Jerry Jamboree begins as well as the traditional Cotee River Seafood Festival and Boat Show. For more information on these events please go to or follow Pasco County Tourism on Facebook.