Many of us are looking for ways to be active while also staying socially distanced from others. That’s why Sarah Phinney is starting a ‘Walking Club’ to highlight some hidden, and some not so hidden, trails across Tampa Bay that are great places for you and your family to check out.
The Mermaid Trail is perfect for people of all ages seeking an urban adventure. You’ll weave through historic downtown Brooksville, passing plenty of shops and restaurants along the way.
What is it?
The Mermaid Trail is a fun scavenger hunt for the whole family. The goal is to find 21 tiny, bronze mermaids hidden across downtown Brooksville.
The trail launched at the end of February, and thousands of people have tried it out already.
How does it work?
The welcome center is right next to Hernando Park. There are a few spaces to park next to the building or you can park on the street.
Here, you’ll grab a map that shows the 21 spots where you can find the mermaids. It can also be found online here. There is also a kids map available.
Walkers have two options, the first is a 1.1 mile short trail that guides visitors through the downtown area. It's ideal for kids because there are sidewalks throughout the entirety of the route.
There is also a 2.2 mile trail that takes visitors around a lot of the interior of the city, through a residential neighborhood, across the Good Neighbor Trail and up E. Jefferson Street. There are no sidewalks on some parts of E. Jefferson Street so walkers will need to cut through parking lots.
The mermaids are anywhere between 12 and 21 inches long. They will always be found outside of the buildings, so you can do the trail any time of the day between sunrise and sunset.
The map will also give the address of the building where the mermaid can be found, along with a clue.
“It’ll give you a little bit of history of the town or that building so we kind of trick you into learning things about the city while you’re doing the trail,” said Natalie Kahler, Brooksville Main Street Executive Director.
Kahler says there are a few spots, like the Hernando County Courthouse and May-Stringer House, where the mermaids pretty difficult to find, so the hints are key!
“I have a lot of respect for people who do it without the clues, but we have a couple that can take you a while to find because the property is so big,” she said.
Kahler says it takes 1.5 hours to do the long trail if you don’t stop, but if you do plan to visit some of the shops and restaurants along the way, give yourself three to four hours. She says businesses have been pleased with the increasing number of visitors.
“They go into the restaurants, they have lunch, they go into the shops because they get curious to see what’s in there. So our businesses have been really happy with the economic impact that it’s had, especially during COVID,” said Kahler.
What else should I know?
If you’ve already completed The Mermaid Trail and know the location of all the mermaids, Kahler says they’re challenging walkers to find a few things along the trail that aren’t mermaids. You can win Mermaid Trail merchandise if you spot what they’re looking for.
You can find more information on the Mermaid Trail’s Facebook page.
Also, be sure to snap photos on your walk and use the hashtag #FLMermaidTrail. If you use the hashtag on Instagram, the picture will appear on the Mermaid Trail website.
“It’s nice to just think about mermaids and not about everything else, all the craziness going on in the world,” said Kahler.