Central Florida is a beautiful part of the world and it is definitely worth making time to explore beyond the parks if you can.The Ellis team ventured out to Mount Dora recently – a great fun day out for all the family.  Here’s what happened.


Mount Dora is an attractive lakeside town just forty minutes to an hour or so north of any of our vacation homes.  Take a stroll along the main street, browse its boutiques, stop for lunch in a little independent bistro, then in the afternoon explore a little further by taking a boat ride across the lake or a steam train ride to neighbouring Tavares.

Getting There

You’ll need to go North on the Florida Turnpike from Kissimmee.  Mount Dora is around forty miles to the North-West of Orlando.  The Turnpike is a toll road, so make sure you are prepared for the tolls.

Main Street


Mount Dora is a really attractive town that you can happily explore on foot.Some parts of the main shopping streets are pedestrianised so it is great to potter around, browsing the stores and stopping to leisurely decide where to have lunch.

Lunch at Cecile’s French Corner


Cecile’s French Corner is a wonderful little bistro in one of the pedestrianised areas of the town, serving Crepes, Salads, Quiches, and other French-inspired delicacies.  Sit inside or in the pretty courtyard out back and relax with a glass of French wine.


Take a Boat Trip

Rusty Anchor Boat Tours are located just by the Yacht Club at the lakefront in Mount Dora.


It runs a range of trips including a Sunset Cruise ($20 per person for a one hour trip) and Canal Tours (£27.50 per person for a two hour trip that takes in alligators, turtles, otters, 100-year-old Cyprus trees and many species of birds).


Take the Train to Tavares


The neighbouring town of Tavares is just an hour away by rail. Take one of the scenic trains which run between the two stations and watch the world go by.  At different times of year, you are able to catch special seasonal trains, including: Halloween Train, Pumpkin Train, Christmas Train, Wild West Train, Pizza Train, Wine and Tapas Train, Dinner Train.  It is a lot of fun.

The Kids Can Enjoy the Parks in Tavares


Our children really enjoyed the wonderful rustic play area, complete with fairy-tale castle constructed from logs and the splash park at Tavares.


Explore by Segway or Sea Plane

Back at Mount Dora, there are a few others ways to explore available to you.


Segways and bikes can be hired locally at a reasonable price.


Or for something a bit different, why not take a trip on one of the sea plane rides on offer.  Rides from Jones Brothers Air and Seaplane Adventures start from $39.

We found a great combination deal that took in a Sea Plane ride, boat trip and pontoon boats for $93.  Which is a heck of a lot of adventure to pack into one day out at the lake.


Take Afternoon Tea at the Windsor Rose Tearooms

After all that adventure, we had worked up a thirst and so were very pleased to stumble upon the Windsor Rose tearooms.


This delightful little café serving pots of tea, finger sandwiches, scones and cake was just what we needed before heading home!

Summary:   A great day out and a definite change of pace to the theme parks.  Well worth the trip.  Going in the Fall meant the weather was perfect for strolling around the lake and town; during the summer we expect it could get rather hot and sticky – although a trip to the splash pad would be great fun in the summer months!  October through March is the perfect time to visit.  The autumnal weather also meant that we weren’t hassled by insects (as long as you stay off the wet grass!) and we got to enjoy all the lovely harvest displays around town and in the shops.

For more information about activities, events, shows and entertainment in and around Orlando and Central Florida, speak with our ticketing partner Kissimmee Guest Services. 

Or call the Ellis Exclusive Villas team on:

 In USA: 321 710 8779

 In UK: 0333 332 1411