After the intersection at County Road 578 (County Line Road), US 19 continues northbound as a six-lane highway with occasional frontage roads. Tourist Development Council signs at both borders boast of the county being part of Florida’s Nature Coast. The southern half of US 19 serves as most of the western border of Spring Hill, Florida. Applegate Road near Wendy Drive is only a short distance from CR 574 (Spring Hill Drive) and CR 595 (Osowaw Boulevard) serve as the Gateways to Spring Hill and Hernando Beach, although southbound US 19 travelers can reach CR 595 from Tarpon Boulevard. Osowaw and Tarpon Boulevards were once part of the Old Dixie Highway, which crossed over US 19 and back until shopping centers and a portion of Timber Pines, Florida were built along the road.
Evidence of post-war, pre-Disney efforts to attract tourists can be found in two dinosaur-shaped landmarks. The first is north of the Windward Village gated community, and the second is liertally built around a local garage and former Sinclair gas station. In between there is another short former section of Old Dixie Highway north of Windward Village. Forest Oaks Boulevard is a street that runs past a local Hernando County Sheriff’s station as it winds its way to Deltona Boulevard (CR 589). Berkley Manor Boulevard is the next intersection, but strictly leads to another Deed Restricted Community in Spring Hill. On the opposite side of these two intersections is a shopping center in front of two other roads leading to gated communities.
Photo Credit: http://www.visitflorida.com
US 19 leaves Spring Hill north of Northcliffe Boulevard, and enters Weeki Wachee, Florida, “the City of Live Mermaids.” Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, famous for the daily Mermaid performances and Buccaneer Bay water park is at the intersection of State Road 50 (Cortez Blvd). This coastal spur becomes County Road 550 (Hernando County, Florida) will travel out to Bayport (Bayport Park and boat ramp) and to Pine Island, the county’s only Gulf water beach. A shopping center can be found diagonally across from the park. North of State Road 50 US 19 is four-lanes wide, and has a limited number of median openings that contain left-turn lanes. Signs warn motorists that the region is a Bear Habitat. This is because much of what surrounds Route 19 north of Hexam Road consists of the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. Even the intersection with CR 476 (Centralia Road) is barely notable without signs.