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montrose street market in clermont

Florida Family Vacations: Discover the Magic of Lake County, FL

Imagine your family waking up to the sound of singing birds and spotting a Great Blue Heron walking by. The sun’s glow slowly spreads a shimmer over the expansive lakes while the lush trees dance in the breeze. This is not a dream; it’s a typical morning in Lake County, Florida. Perfectly nestled amidst Central Florida’s bustling cities, Lake County is a haven of tranquility and an ideal spot for Florida family vacations.

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Located away from the maddening crowds, Lake County is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and a dream destination for families seeking an affordable adventure. It’s a standout amongst other vacation spots in Florida, offering a different experience that balances tranquility with fun. So, pack your hiking boots, grab your binoculars, and join us for a budget-friendly exploration of Lake County, where nature meets adventure.

If you’re looking for a break from the adrenaline rush of Florida’s amusement parks, Lake County is the place to be. It’s the ideal complement to your trip to Disney World.

This hidden gem in Florida provides both calm and adventure in equal measure. Whether you’re planning a quick staycation or a month-long summer vacation, Lake County offers the perfect prescription for budget travel. You may find yourself exploring crystal-clear springs on a scenic canoe or kayak ride and seeing Florida’s wild side on its natural hiking trails.

Every moment in Lake County sings the tune of contentment, promising to satisfy your desire for serenity and fulfill your wanderlust. Allow Lake County to be your home, playground, and escape. Disney’s magic was merely the beginning. The actual enchantment of Florida family vacations awaits discovery here, in the heart of Lake County.

Leesburg: Where History Meets Nature as Florida Family Vacations

As one of the larger cities in Lake County, Florida, Leesburg offers a variety of budget-friendly accommodations, from chain hotels to delightful bed and breakfasts. It’s also home to a historic downtown area with shopping and dining options.

Activities: Outdoor attractions and historical sites in Leesburg

  • Venetian Gardens Park
  • Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve – Pear Park
  • Flat Island Preserve
  • Seminole State Forest
  • Haynes Creek Preserve

There are a number of budget-friendly accommodation options in Leesburg, FL. 

These include:

  • Hampton Inn Leesburg – Tavares
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott Leesburg
  • Holiday RV Village

When choosing a budget-friendly accommodation option, be sure to consider the following factors:

  • Location: Consider how close you want to be to the city center and other attractions.
  • amenities: Consider what amenities are important to you, such as free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and a pool.
  • Price: Compare prices to find the best deal.
  • Reviews: Read reviews to get an idea of what other travelers have thought of the accommodation.

Where to Eat in Leesburg

Leesburg, FL is a lovely town with a lot to offer visitors, including a variety of dining options. From casual eateries to fine dining establishments, there is something for everyone in Leesburg. Here are a few of our favorite savory bites in Leesburg:

  • The Cuban Sandwich at The Abbey: This classic Cuban sandwich is made with pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread. It’s a delicious and filling meal that is sure to please.
  • The Shrimp Tacos at El Toro Bravo: These fresh and flavorful tacos are made with grilled shrimp, cabbage, pico de gallo, and sour cream. They’re perfect for a light lunch or dinner.
  • The Burger at The Twisted Vine: This juicy burger is made with fresh, local ingredients and served on a toasted bun. It’s topped with your choice of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles.
  • The Pizza at Pizzeria Uno: This classic Chicago-style pizza is made with a deep dish crust and topped with your choice of sauce and toppings. It’s a hearty and delicious meal that is perfect for sharing.
  • The Ice Cream at Kilwins: This delicious ice cream is made with fresh, high-quality ingredients. They offer a variety of flavors, including both traditional and unique options.

These are just a few of the many savory bites that you can find in Leesburg, FL. Be sure to explore the town and find your own favorites!

Clermont: A Hillside Haven in Florida

Clermont is a city in Lake County, Florida, United States. It is known for its rolling hills and beautiful lakes. Clermont has several budget-friendly accommodations, and is also in proximity to several of Lake County’s natural attractions, such as Lake Louisa State Park. 

Activities that can be enjoyed in Clermont include:

  • Hiking and biking in Lake Louisa State Park
  • Fishing in one of Clermont’s many lakes
  • Golfing at one of Clermont’s many golf courses
  • Canoeing at Crooked River Preserve
  • Attending a concert or festival at the Clermont Performing Arts Center
  • Go wine tasting at Lakeridge Winery
  • Citrus Tower: See panoramic views of the surrounding citrus groves and picturesque landscapes from this iconic tower.
  • Tour Clermont’s Historic Village and its preserved buildings to learn about the heritage of the area.
  • Pick fresh blueberries or the seasonal fruit (peaches, strawberries, and even broccolini) while taking in scenic countryside views at Southern Hill Farms.

Clermont is a great place to visit for a relaxing vacation or a weekend getaway. There is something for everyone in this pleasant city.

Sunset Catboat Tour from $135 per adult

Lake Louisa State Park is a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors. There are many activities to do, including fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and birdwatching. You can also go horseback riding on the park’s dedicated equestrian trails. If you’re looking to cool off, there is a designated swimming area in the lake. Guided off-road segway tours are also available.

The park has a variety of camping facilities, including primitive sites, eco-tents, 2 bedroom cabins, and luxury carefree glamping tents. Lake Louisa is also designated as a Florida Green Lodging Property, which means that it has made a voluntary commitment to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources.

Equipment available for rental includes bikes, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and fishing gear. There is also a playground, picnic areas, and a visitor center.

Lake Louisa State Park is a great place to enjoy a day or a weekend of outdoor recreation.

lake louisa state park trail

Accommodation: Affordable stays in Clermont

There are a variety of affordable accommodation options in Clermont, ranging from budget-friendly motels and bed and breakfasts to more upscale hotels. Some popular options include:

  • The Clermont Inn: This historic inn offers comfortable rooms and suites, as well as a complimentary breakfast.
  • The Days Inn by Wyndham Clermont: This affordable hotel is located near the University of Central Florida, and offers free Wi-Fi and a fitness center.
  • The Hampton Inn & Suites Clermont: This hotel is located near the Florida Turnpike, and offers free breakfast and a pool.

Dining: Family-friendly Chain restaurants in Clermont

There are a variety of family-friendly restaurants in Clermont, serving everything from pizza and burgers to seafood and steak. Some popular options include:

  • The Melting Pot: This fondue restaurant offers a variety of cheese, chocolate, and meat fondues for the whole family to enjoy.
  • The Outback Steakhouse: This casual dining restaurant serves a variety of steaks, seafood, and chicken dishes.
  • The Olive Garden: This Italian restaurant offers a variety of pasta dishes, as well as salads and breadsticks.
  • Montrose Street Market: This food hall lies in the heart of historic downtown Clermont and has plenty to choose from for the whole family.

Mount Dora: The Festive Town

Mount Dora is a quaint city in Florida that is known for its antique shopping, annual festivals, and historic downtown area. It offers a mix of accommodations, including budget-friendly options.

Things you can do in Mount Dora:

  • Antiquing: Mount Dora is home to a number of antique shops, where you can find everything from furniture to jewelry to vintage clothing.
  • Annual festivals: Mount Dora hosts a number of annual festivals, including the Mount Dora Arts Festival, the Mount Dora Craft Fair, and the Mount Dora Winter Festival of Lights.
  • Historic downtown area: Mount Dora’s historic downtown area is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
  • Palm Island Park: take leisurely strolls along the shoreline of this scenic waterfront park.

Budget-friendly accommodation options in Mount Dora:

  • The Mount Dora Inn & Gardens: This historic inn offers a variety of rooms and suites, all of which are decorated in a Victorian style.
  • The Best Western Mount Dora Inn & Suites: This hotel offers a variety of rooms and suites, all of which are equipped with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.
  • The Hampton Inn Mount Dora: This hotel offers a variety of rooms and suites, all of which are equipped with free Wi-Fi and microwaves.
  • The Heirloom Estate: This is a stunning and historic private property offering a luxurious and unforgettable stay in a picturesque setting.

Culinary gems in Mount Dora:

  • The Goblin Market
  • Handlebar
  • Magical Meat Boutique
  • 1921 Mount Dora
  • Wave Asian Bistro & Sushi
  • For sweet treats, try Knockout Mini Donuts.

Eustis: A Lakeside Delight

With a population of approximately 28,000 people, Eustis is a vibrant hub of activity. One of its most alluring features is its close proximity to the sparkling gem known as Lake Eustis. This expansive freshwater lake is a playground for fishing enthusiasts, boaters, and those seeking a refreshing swim on a sunny day. As you explore the shores of the lake, you’ll encounter a lively cast of characters, from majestic alligators and curious turtles to a variety of fish gracefully navigating the crystal-clear waters.

Now, let’s wander into Eustis’s downtown area, a true treasure trove of culinary delights, unique shops, and captivating art galleries. Stroll down the streets lined with charming establishments that beckon you to sample all of the delicious flavors and discover hidden gems. The downtown area is brimming with a vibrant atmosphere that combines historical charm with modern allure.

In fact, the Eustis Downtown Historic District is a testament to the city’s rich heritage. It proudly stands as a jewel listed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places. As you explore this district, you’ll find yourself transported back in time, surrounded by beautifully preserved architecture that tells stories of a bygone era.

Here are some of the activities you can do in Eustis:

  • Visit Lake Eustis and go fishing, boating, or swimming.
  • Explore the downtown area and visit the shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
  • Visit the Eustis Downtown Historic District.
  • Visit Trout Lake Nature Center, Ferran Park & Eustis Lake Walk, or Hidden Waters Preserve.
  • Visit the Eustis Chamber of Commerce for more information on things to do in the city.

Where to stay in Eustis:

Encore Southern Palms – This RV resort offers plenty of activities to keep you entertained during your stay.

Where to eat in Eustis:

  • Try a wine slushie at the tasting room of Lake Seneca Farms.
  • Feast on BBQ and collard greens at Sully’s Smokehouse.
  • Oakwood Smokehouse and Grill offers baby back ribs, pulled pork, and brisket.
  • The Mason Jar in Umatilla serves up fried green tomatoes, Phyllo Triangles stuffed with goat cheese, cranberries & mushrooms topped with a blackberry mango sauce, and corn spoon bread.
  • Nightowl Caribbean Restaurant
  • Luigi’s Italian Restaurant
  • Stavro’s & Sons
  • Gyro King
watch seaplanes at puddlejumpers

Tavares: America’s Seaplane City

Tavares is a city in Florida that is known as America’s Seaplane City. It is a popular tourist destination due to its affordable accommodations, its location in the heart of Lake County, and its proximity to various attractions in the area. 

Here are some of the things you can do in Tavares:

  • Seaplane adventures: Take a ride on a seaplane and see the city from a bird’s eye view.
  • Fishing: Go fishing in one of the many lakes or rivers in the area.
  • Boating: Rent a boat and explore the waterways of Lake County.
  • Golfing: Play a round of golf at one of the many golf courses in the area.
  • Dining: Enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants in the city, ranging from casual eateries to fine dining restaurants.
  • Wooton Park –  a popular waterfront destination with beautiful views, recreational activities, and a scenic boardwalk.

Where to stay in Tavares:

  • Key West Resort on Lake Dora

Key West Resort on Lake Dora in Tavares, Lake County, Florida, offers a delightful lakeside retreat with comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and a refreshing outdoor pool. Enjoy the picturesque views of Lake Dora and convenient access to nearby attractions. Experience the Key West vibe without leaving central Florida at this inviting resort.

What to eat in Tavares:

  • Puddle Jumpers
  • Mary’s Kountry Kitchen
  • Havanna 1959
  • BTW- Burgers Tacos Waffles
  • Eduardo’s Lokos Tacos

Indulge in additional nearby adventures while visiting Crooked River Preserve in Clermont, Lake County, Florida. Discover the pleasure of wine tasting and fruit picking at Oak Haven Farms or explore the scenic beauty of Rock Springs Run State Preserve in Sorrento. For an exhilarating outdoor experience, trek through the Ocala National Forest in Umatilla or enjoy a peaceful kayak excursion in Altoona’s Alexander Springs.

2-Hour Glass Bottom Guided Kayak Eco Tour in Rock Springs (Small-Group) from $99 per adult

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