Day Tripping in Central Florida

by | February 28, 2017 |

Take a morning walk along the St. John’s River in Sanford, an easy 30-minute drive north of Orlando in Central Florida

On our road trip from Charlotte NC to Miami, the third stop (after Charleston and Savannah) was St. Augustine, Florida. Established in 1565, it’s the oldest continuously settled city in the US. It’s also a fun tourist town with its shops and restaurants and inns.

St. Augustine – Central Florida
Central Florida

Bustling St. George Street

You can do a bit of history here, too.

Here’s Delia in front of the González-Alvarez house, supposedly The Oldest House on the continent. Beginning about 1650 a series of thatched wooden structures occupied this property when owned by the Spanish. Later, British and American owners added a second story.

Central Florida

14 St. Francis Street

Here I am at the Spanish fort:

Central Florida

Castillo de San Marcos, begun in 1672, is the oldest masonry fort in the US and was designed by the Spanish engineer Ignacio Daza

Although St. Augustine was a stop on our way to Miami, it’s only a couple of hours from Orlando and makes for a pleasant day trip when you’re in Central Florida.

Other day trips in the area I’ve done lately include:

Mount Dora – Central Florida

A forty-minute drive northwest of Orlando, Mount Dora is ideal for day-trippers.

Central Florida

Gail and Delia enjoying a stroll

You can walk through bubbles:

Central Florida

Donnelly Street

This street – well, every street in Mount Dora – has tchotchke stores galore, so many in fact that one of them has thoughtfully provided a Bored Husband’s Bench:

Central Florida

Canes? Pillows? Stuff to put in your house? They’ve got it!

Here’s a handy duo of shops: you can satisfy your desire for muffins and ammo all at once (and then go out and shoot something on your sugar high?):

Central Florida

Le Petit Sweet next to Lake County Arms on West Fifth Avenue

After that it’s time for tea at the Windsor Rose

Central Florida

142 West Fourth Avenue

Lots of British royalty stuff:

Central Florida

The teapots come with tea cozies

Winter Garden – Central Florida

This past Sunday I went here with two friends to go to the play The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in the historic Garden Theater.

Central Florida

Sunday was the last performance. It was sold out

The play was a hoot and is still on Broadway.

Afterwards we had a bite to eat at the Tasting Room in the Edgewater Hotel about a block away. This cool safe sits behind the registration desk in the lobby:

Central Florida

It’s from the 1920s

Winter Garden is a charmer and is about 30 minutes west of Orlando.

Central Florida

Plant Street, the main drag with the Garden Theater and the Edgewater Hotel

Orlando – Central Florida

This past Saturday I went to the annual Food and Wine Fest in downtown. Robinson Street was closed off, booths were set up, and the eating and drinking began at noon.

Central Florida

Paella at Tapa Toro

Because it’s Florida, there are flamingoes, often plastic:

Central Florida

I’m not 100% sure, but I think she was promoting one of the wine booths, but not the one in the background. How does an inflatable flamingo figure into the promotion? A mystery, for sure

Then it’s back to eating:

Central Florida

The line for free food is always long. Otherwise the food cost either 2 tickets ($4) or 3 tickets ($6).

Although every portion was bite-sized, I filled up quickly:

Central Florida

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse offerings

If you missed the Food and Wine Fest this past weekend, never fear. There is always something happening in downtown Orlando, even if it’s only the Farmer’s Market every Sunday.

Central Florida

Lake Eola Park

Other day trips in Central Orlando include Winter Haven and Winter Springs. Neither is to be confused with Winter Park, which is a snazzy neighborhood in Orlando. In addition there are plentiful state parks with hiking, cave diving and water rafting.

Final note:

Sanford – Central Florida

Sanford is also famous for Sofa and Suds, a couch-racing and beer-chasing event held in November – not to be missed!

Central Florida

The competition is fierce

All in all a good day in Central Florida.

See also: All My Florida Blogs

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This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen

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