City of Dunnellon
The Original Boomtown
Where Rivers Meet
Situated at the junction of two contrasting rivers, Dunnellon is a paddler’s paradise. The spring-fed Rainbow River, which branches east, has crystal clear water that stays in the low 70s year-round, perfect for a refreshing dip on hot days. It has lovely waterfront homes on the north side and a dense thicket of green to the south. The gently winding, six-mile waterway makes for an ideal outdoor excursion. Explorers can relax in a tube or embark on a vigorous paddling expedition. The much longer Withlacoochee River, which extends west and southeast, is a more challenging paddle, with areas that feel quite remote. Two fun river bars add to the Dunnellon experience — The Blue Gator Tiki Bar & Restaurant, on the banks of the Withlacoochee, and Swampy’s Bar & Grille on the Rainbow. They’re just a one-mile drive, or short paddle, from each other.
In the late 1800s, Dunnellon became a Florida boomtown due to the discovery of high-grade phosphate. To celebrate that history, the city hosts a festival and street party that’s spread out over multiple blocks in the downtown historic district. The event, which has happened every April for more than 50 years and draws 8,000 visitors annually, features live music, cowboy entertainment, a kids’ zone, food and craft vendors, and other fun stuff. Boomtown Days 2020 takes place Saturday, April 18. Admission is free.
The Historic Village Shops of Dunnellon
This quaint section of historic downtown features a cluster of charming, locally owned stores, most of them situated in vintage houses. The businesses include antique and gift shops, boutiques, thrift stores, galleries and cozy restaurants — all within easy walking distance of each other. The Historic Village Shops also host an open-air market on the first Saturday of each month.
Two Rivers Music Festival & Food Truck Rally
Once called Jazz Up Dunnellon, this annual music fest showcases an eclectic array of acts from a variety of genres — rock, jazz, blues, country, folk and more — at locations on East Pennsylvania Avenue and nearby Ernie Mills Park. Running from 5 to 10 p.m. on a Saturday in autumn, the event also features a bevy of food trucks serving up a variety of delicious offerings. The free event is hosted by the Dunnellon Chamber and Business Association, so check their website for updates.
Dunnellon Historic Train Depot
This large, high-ceilinged space holds a variety of local events and houses items marking local history, including a series of colorful murals. Railroad tracks run along the back of the building. Dunnellon was a railroad town in 1890, and in 1908 the Atlantic Coast Line built this depot on South Williams Street. Trains carried produce, timber and passengers. The Greater Dunnellon Historical Society purchased the depot in 1992 and made the building its headquarters. In 2002, the Society restored the depot to its original condition.