Summer time: a time to relax, soak in the sun, take a dip in the pool, go to the beach, maybe go on a boat ride and where can people get all of this in one place? FLORIDA! Sunny, warm, happy, peaceful Florida. Yes, I know what you are thinking: EVERYONE goes to Florida for a vacation, it will be crowded, there will be immature teenagers making a lot of racket at the beach, that doesn’t sound relaxing! Which is why you are not going just anywhere in Florida, you are going to Mount Dora, FL. Mt. Dora is a small historic town located about 30 miles straight north of Orlando. It was first homesteaded in 1874 by David Simpson and his family, downtown is located right on Lake Dora, and it rises 184 feet above sea level, qualifying it as a Mount in the State of Florida.
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With so many activities available, it’s hard to pick which one to do first, but lodging arrangements are a good place to start. There are many hotels, motels and inns to stay at located right in downtown like the Heron Cay Lakeview Bed and Breakfast, an award winning Victorian Mansion or the Lakeside Inn where our own Presidents Coolidge and Eisenhower stayed as well as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.
This historic town many be old and small but there are definitely many fun activities that will make you never want to leave. Once famous as “the Antiques Capital,” Mount Dora has now also expanded its variety to include apparel, accessories, art, bath, garden, and many more types of stores and shops that can all be visited with just a walk through downtown.
Located in Lake County, Mt. Dora has 130 miles of navigable waterways near it and offers boating and waterway activities. For a scenic boat tour through the Dora Canal, you can book it with Rusty Anchor by calling (352)383-3933 or Premier Boat Tours at (352)434-8040. A different kind of tour is CraigCat Tours where you drive your own boat through a guided narrator tour through Lake Dora’s wildlife and history. You can schedule these tours by calling 407-290-8778. If tours aren’t your idea of a vacation, there are many options to rent kayaks, canoes, and boats and enjoy a day on the water exploring on your own. Just call the Mt. Dora Boating Center and Marina (352-383-3150) for rentals.
Tours are not only available through waterways. You can explore the city on a Segway tour where you will be guided through nature parks and historic neighborhoods. Don’t worry they provide training before the tour!. If neither water nor land tours are for you, Mt. Dora offers air tours! You will experience Florida’s forests and waterways from a bird’s eye view on a seaplane. Call (218) 682-2006.
After a long day of activities we all like to relax and what better way to do so than a day at the spa or a relaxing dinner. Mount Dora has a number of spas that offer many services some being Healthy Alternative Day Spa and Pure Aveda which are located right downtown. Mount Dora also has fantastic options for great dining including Goblin Market and Pisces Rising—two of the best award winning restaurants in Mount Dora.
Just a few days in Mount Dora and you will never want to leave this small but charming town. Oh, and the very last thing you’ll need to get is a t-shirt saying “I Climbed Mt. Dora!” See you soon!
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