6 Perks of Small Town Living: Overview of Dunnellon FL

Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon FL

People often underestimate small towns and opt to live in big cities. But, small towns can be little bits of heaven for just about everyonejust like in Dunnellon FL. Children enjoy the close-knit community and teenagers are away from city crime. Likewise, adults get much better value for their money than in a big city, whereas the elderly enjoy the peace and quiet. 

Dunnellon is located in North-Central Florida, west of Ocala and north of Homosassa. This little town, known as the Treasure of the Nature Coast, is located on the Rainbow and Withlacoochee Rivers. Dunnellon has something for everyone, from the picturesque Rainbow Springs State Park and the awesome rivers to the Dunnellon Historic District’s lovely tree-lined streets. 

Before you start looking for the best plot of land, here’s a complete overview of Dunnellon FL to help you get a better picture of life in a small town.

Dunnellon History

Dunnellon is often considered to be the best-kept secret in North-Central Florida. The town was founded in the late 1800s and was the site of the first hard-rock phosphate discovery in the state. Thanks to the growth of the mining industry, the town is also known as Boomtown. In 1988, Dunnellon FL was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Nowadays, the Historic District is home to more than 70 buildings, including some restored ones currently used as restaurants and shops.

Population Growth

Dunnellon hasn’t seen many new residents growth in the past five years. However, it has maintained a consistent number of new residents. About 2,188 people live there, with a population growth of 5.5% in the past five years and a 1% growth in the last year.  

This town is mostly home to middle-aged people looking forward to retiring. The population’s median age is around 54 years old. The average family has three members, including children and parents. 

Employment Rate

The unemployment rate in Dunnellon is 5.5% which is below the national average of 6%. Also, the town has experienced positive job growth of 2.3%. The trend is expected to continue, reaching 37.1% growth over the next 10 years.  

Dunnellon also has lower taxes than the national average. For instance, the sales tax rate in the town is 7%, whereas the US average is 7.3%. Moreover, Dunnellon Florida, doesn’t have an income tax. In terms of population by occupation, 18.9% work in the healthcare and social assistance sector, 17.2% are in retail trade, whereas 9.6% are in accommodation and food services. 

Cost of Living

The average income of a Dunnellon Florida resident is $20,791 a year, which is significantly lower than the US average of $28,555 a year. That being said, Dunnellon is fairly inexpensive for Florida standards. Its cost of living is 13.1% lower than the US average and most cities in the state. The overall average housing costs, grocery items, utilities, health care, transportation, and miscellaneous goods and services are less expensive.  


Florida is one of the top ten states to buy land. If you plan to move to Dunnellon with your family, schools come high on your priority list. The town has five schools, four of which are public and one is private. There are 16 pupils per teacher, 437 children per counselor, and 587 students per librarian. On average, public schools spend $9,101 per student, lower than the US average of $12,383.

Dunnellon Lifestyle

Dunnellon is a good blend of rural and larger suburban neighborhoods. It’s a peaceful town about 20 minutes from Ocala and 40 minutes from Gainesville. You can find waterfront luxury estates for water lovers, active adult communities for seniors, and secure suburban neighborhoods for families searching for a safe, vibrant place to call home. Dunnellon also has a well-preserved historical center and numerous communities depending on your lifestyle preferences, such as Rainbow Lakes Estates, Rainbow Springs Forest, Blue Cove, Rolling Hills, Lake Tropicana, and Westwood Acres North. 


Dunnellon offers plenty of options for dining. Tiki Bar and Restaurant Blue Gator, a local favorite, is located on the Withlacoochee River and serves classic Florida seafood meals such as gator tail, oysters, steamed shrimp, and more. It’s the ideal spot for a couple of cocktails and excellent bites while relaxing by the beautiful river. 

Swampy’s Bar and Grill offers a view of the crystal-clear Rainbow River, allowing guests to experience the area’s natural beauty while also enjoying some delicious Cajun cuisine and beverages. You can end the day eating some etouffee while watching the sunset across the river.  


The Rainbow and Withlacoochee Rivers dominate outdoor life in Dunnellon, making it a true nature lover’s heaven. Dunnellon is surrounded by state parks, forests and lakes, coastal rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico. There are outdoor activities for everyone in the Dunnellon area.

Cross Florida Greenway

The Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway runs all the way up from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Johns River through Central Florida. Over time, this corridor has evolved from one of the country’s most significant unfinished public works projects to a world-class greenway with hiking, biking, equestrian, paddling trails, boat ramps, fishing spots, campgrounds, a barrier-free Boundless Playground, and picnic shelters.

Rainbow Springs State Park

If you love boating, swimming, canoeing, snorkeling, and kayaking, you will certainly fall in love with Rainbow Springs and the Rainbow River. The park features a crystal clear headspring, along with beautiful gardens and waterfalls. Tubing is also available upriver.

Goethe State Forest

One of Florida’s remaining old-growth longleaf pine woods, Goethe State Forest boasts over 53,000 acres of natural splendor. Hikers can choose from seven different trailheads, and horses are welcome on the routes. Fishing, hunting, camping, and picnicking are also permitted. The Ross Prairie State Forest, Halpata Tastanaki Preserve, and Lake Brousseau are some of the other outdoor attractions in the Dunnellon area. Dunnellon is very close to Crystal River, and Cedar Key on the Gulf Coast is about 45 minutes away. 


One of the first things that come to mind when thinking of Florida is golf. Dunnellon is no exception to the popularity of golf, thanks to its year-round bright weather. If hitting the green is your passion, you’ll have no trouble finding fantastic courses close to your home. Just a short drive from Ocala and Gainesville are several golf courses and clubs, the town also has a handful of its own, including Juliette Falls Golf and Community and Rainbow’s End Golf Club.

Final Words

Dunnellon has something for everyone. With the low cost of living, job opportunities, and good schools, the town is the perfect place to live and enjoy the tight-knit community. Don’t hesitate to contact Discount Lots and find the perfect lot of land today!

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