Florida Guide > Days Out
Mount Dora (1)
A really interesting day out, as I found out recently, is a trip to Mount Dora.
Mount Dora is located about 25 miles north west of Orlando and is a small pleasant town with a character all of its own. It does not have the ubiquitous U. S. “strip” and is laid out as a more traditional town with a proper centre so is a refreshing change to the usual American towns.
A wander round the town’s pretty tree-lined streets takes you past small boutiques, antique and craft shops with a fair smattering of tea and coffee shops. You can catch glimpses of Lake Dora as you walk round the edge of the town. There is even a little lighthouse!
Keep on walking to the lakeside where you can take a boat trip if you wish on the ‘Captain Doplittle’ - boat trips run daily in the summer months. There is also a small gauge railway, the “Herbie Express” which offers a 9-mile round trip with lunch from Mount Dora to Eustis, again in the summer months Wednesday to Saturday at 12. 30pm.
Just outside the main town you can drive a mile or so to Lake Dora itself. Here you can stroll along the lake’s edge, walk along the jetty at Grantham Point and admire the serenity of the lake with its numerous wild birds. We saw herons, ibis, cormorant, egrets, moorhen and black vulture.
Keep walking and you come to Palm Park which is a boardwalk across and round the edge of the lake. The boardwalk ambles through groves of cypress trees growing at the water’s edge. You can keep to the boardwalk itself or go off through the woods at any number of small trails. They all link up so there is no chance of getting lost.
The direct route to Mount Dora is via US27 north to Clermont, then east towards Orlando on US50 to meet the 429 turnpike north to Apopka. The turnpike ends at Apopka where you join SR441 north for Mount Dora.
For a more scenic and leisurely drive back follow the road along Lake Dora (Lake Dora Drive) to Tavares to meet Route 19, then south via Howey-in-the-Hills to Groveland which takes you through slightly undulating countryside of citrus groves. At Groveland turn left to travel east on US50 back to Clermont.
This is a slightly longer route but is quieter and more attractive than the direct route – so the choice is yours!
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