Mount Dora is located about an hour from Orlando, making it an ideal day trip from Orlando or a weekend getaway. There is so much to do in this small Florida town that you’ll be hard-pressed to decide what the best options are! We’ve curated our top 5 cool things to do in Mount Dora to help you navigate the many choices there are.
Get Into Nature with a Mount Dora Segway Tour
This tour is perfect for everyone, no matter what age, and it is so fun to roll along and learn the history of Mount Dora and a collection of the top sites. Glide Adventure Tours takes you on either a 1.5 hour or a 2 hour guided Segway tour of Mount Dora. They offer a sunset tour as well, which is phenomenal.
One of the stops on your tour is Palm Island. Ancient Cypress trees line the wooden boardwalk showing off their branches draped with strands of Spanish moss. As you silently glide down the boardwalk, you’ll spot anhingas, cormorants, alligators, fish, and other wildlife.
Get Wet And Wild With Catboat Tours
Imagine skimming across the water at high speed on a little mini catamaran. You are literally sitting on top of the water and buzzing across Lake Dora at high speed toward the Dora Canal.
Your tour guide is giving you the history of Mount Dora and the surrounding area. If you love water sports and are an adrenaline junkie, you’ll love the Catboat tour! Be forewarned, however, that weather conditions will determine how wet you will get. During our tour, the weather was not cooperative, and we were soaked from head to foot but had a ball!
Catboat tours offers a tour through the Dora Canal – the place that time forgot. The Dora Canal is a 1 1/4 mile long canal that connects Lake Dora and Lake Eustis. It was initially named the Elfin River and was home to the Timucuan Indians. In the late 1800s, the canal was dredged out and widened so that small steamships could pass between the lakes.
The jungle-like waterway is pristine and filled with ancient Bald Cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss. The canal is so jungle-like that you almost expect to see a huge tiger perched on a tree limb overlooking the waterway. I suspect that is why one of the earlier Tarzan movies was filmed along the waterway and in the swampy wetlands that line the Dora Canal.
Take Flight Over Lake Dora
One of the best ways to get an overall birdseye view of a destination is via a plane ride. In Mount Dora, we had the opportunity to explore the area by air in a seaplane, courtesy of Jones Brother Air and Seaplane Adventures.
Wow! There is nothing more exhilarating than taking flight in a small Cessna 185 seaplane that can hold four! As the engine revved up and the plane began to gain speed across the wave tops, the adrenaline rush began.
Then when the water let go of its hold on the floats, and the plane began to soar up into the sky, it was just incredible! Looking down, we were able to see the entire chain of lakes, and the town of Mount Dora was surreal. If you have never taken a seaplane, I urge you to try it – you will be hooked!
Fuel Up With Good Eats
I must admit that the food in Mount Dora is excellent! We were so hard-pressed to choose where to eat, but in the end, Pisces Rising won our vote.
With a prime location overlooking the lake, it’s the perfect place to close out a day in Mount Dora as you nosh on fantastic food, sip a delightful cocktail or glass of wine and toast the end of a great day. Don’t miss the sunset – it is spectacular as you watch the sun slip below the horizon.
The food at Pisces Rising is fresh and well prepared. We’ve eaten there on several occasions and have never been disappointed. I love, love, love the mushroom ravioli, the crab-stuffed salmon, and the burger is always a perfect choice. You just cannot go wrong with a meal at Pisces Rising.
Don’t miss out on dessert – the bananas foster is to die for delicious.
Where to Stay in Mount Dora
My top two recommendations on where to stay in Mount Dora are the historic Lakeside Inn and Heron Cay Bed and Breakfast.
Perched on the banks of Lake Dora, The Lakeside Inn offers unparalleled views. The incredible sunrises and sunsets over the lake are not to be missed. The rooms at the Lakeside Inn are comfortable and quaint.
The inn dates back to 1883, and in 1930, President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge stayed at the inn for a month-long vacation. The inn has been bought and sold many times throughout its 130-year history. The current owners are committed to restoring the inn and preserving its 130-year history.
Heron Cay Bed and Breakfast is located a short four-block walk from downtown and sits on three acres overlooking Lake Dora. The inn has eight rooms, all uniquely decorated, and each has a private bath. There is a gorgeous outdoor pool on the property where you can relax and unwind.
If relaxing on the front porch is your style, you are in luck – the porch has several conversation areas that are perfect for kicking back and relaxing after a day of exploring Mount Dora.
Be sure to eat breakfast, served at 9:00 am (coffee is ready at 8:00 am); it is divine! Margie, the innkeeper, will make sure that you have plenty to eat to prepare you for the day ahead.
The inn overflows with knickknacks and art – most notably, the art of The Highwaymen, a group of famous African American self-taught Florida artists. The Highwaymen bring Florida’s natural landscapes to canvas and are known for their windblown palm trees, reflective waterscapes, and the ability to capture on canvas Florida’s finest sunsets.
Mount Dora: Escape the Average
Whether you choose to visit Mount Dora for a day trip or a weekend getaway, you’ll find a town filled with unique shops, intriguing people, and fascinating and fun adventures. This hip historic town always has a lot going on. For the most up to date information, visit the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce.
Article written by Betsi Hill of Betsi’s World. This trip was hosted by Visit Florida. All reviews and opinions are 100% original and unbiased.
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