8 Reasons you need to add Mt. Dora to your Central Florida Bucket List

The cool thing about Central Florida is that we have lots (and lots!) of attractions. We have so many that some of these places get forgotten about or pushed to the bottom of our never ending bucket list. 

So if you are looking to knock out multiple famous spots and attractions and have a weekend full of fun times, plan to come to Mt. Dora!

 There’s so much to do and see you can’t possibly do it all in one day.  Add in the other nearby attractions of the Tri-City area and you have even more options. 

Let’s take a look at 8 reasons you need to add Mount Dora to you must see list. 

1- The View

As you visit Downtown Mt. Dora, you get wonderful views of Lake Dora from so many places. From the drive in to town, to the restaurants located on the water, to the long walkway that was just placed over the lake- 

When you’re in the central florida area, one thing you don’t lack is bodies of water! From the beaches to the springs and all the lakes in between- you’ve got options! Thankfully, Mt. Dora is situated in the perfect place- Lake county- which got its name from the chain of lakes speckled across the region. 

Mt. Dora also houses it’s on lighthouse, which you can see is purely for pictures. But, it is a nice perch for the birds in the area, and the walkway around the lighthouse is dotted with conveniently placed benches where you can take a load off and enjoy the sunset over the water. 


2- Lakeside Inn

Coined as Florida’s most Historic Hotel, Lakeside inn has all the accommodations of home, while being centrally located in downtown Mt. Dora. 

This inn is quaint, charming, and perfect for a weekend away (which you will need so that you can enjoy all the sites of Mt. Dora while still have time to relax!) You can see pics here.

Step back in time for this relaxing getaway or plan a wedding here, either way, you won’t be disappointed by this adorable and one of a kind location.  

3- The Festivals

If Mt. Dora had to be famous for one thing- it would be famous would it’s world renowned festivals. 

Mount Dora has a number of smaller festivals (like blueberry festivals, bicycle festivals and the seafood festival and a large Christmas gathering) but the two they are known for happen in early spring and early fall. 

During those times over a hundred thousand people swarm the streets, performers come from around the state, and business owners come from around the world. 

The Art Festival happens in early spring every year, and the Craft fair happens in October. Mt. Dora will shut down all of downtown for pedestrians only, and shuttle people in for a chance to browse, eat and play around town for the weekend. 

4-  Starry Night House

Everyone loves a good story, and the good (juicy) story for Mt. Dora is the now well know, Starry Night House. 

This house is quite literally, a very large interpretation of the famous starry night painting. The owners originally painted an easement wall in the Starry Night design in the hopes that their Autistic son would be able to communicate where he lived. Then the city slapped them with a fine because the wall didn’t match the house, so they commissioned the artist to paint the house as well. An ugly legal battle ensued with the city, which garnered national attention, and the homeowners won the case in 2018. 

Regardless of the background, this house is fun to look at and a must stop on any road trip to Mt. Dora. 

-5   Water Fun Activities (boating, fishing, those paddle board things) 

Since Mt. Dora is located on the beautiful (and rather large) Lake Dora, there are many options for water based activities. 

6- The Wave Sushi

If you can believe it, Mt. Dora also has yet another, world renowned attraction. This insta famous restaurant is home to some wild sushi themed creations that 

Prices are typical for such an eclectic menu but they do have some budget friendly options too! I personally haven’t been (soy allergy) so I can’t attest to the taste of their food, but I do love following them on Instagram for all the unique eats. All my local friends rave about the fun eats there!

7-   The Downtown

One of the very best things about Mt. Dora is the sprawling downtown area packed full of fun and unique shops. 

From delicious one of a kind eateries -Las Palmas is a favorite for my family for lunch and Allyson A Bakery for a breakfast treat- to coffee shops and candy stores, you can find something for everyone to enjoy! 

I know we’ve spent hours just walking around casually window shopping and checking out the sites, it really is an enjoyable way to spend a spring or fall afternoon. 

There’s shops for kitchen accessories, boutique items for the littlest kids, and lots of fun things for your fur babies. If you are looking for a fun gift for yourself or a loved one, I certainly recommend spending time downtown- I’m sure you will find something for everyone. 

8-   Renningers Flea Market

Last, but certainly not least, is  a very large and popular spot affectionately named Renningers Flea Market. 

This place IS HUGEEEEE. If you’ve ever been to the Webster Flea Market in Sumter County or the Marion Flea market in summerfield, it’s similar in size (though not in vendors- they are much more unique at reniggers) 

Plan to spend a good time just hoofing it around to see all the booths as this place gets really packed in the cooler months of the year. 

We love to swing by and grab some fresh produce, or check out the discounted wares at some of the more eclectic shops. They have so many booths dedicated to the arts too! It’s certainly not a thrift store! 

Plus, they have special events like Car shows, Antique shows and (our favorite) a SteamPunk weekend. Not to mention swap meets for everyone to find something they didn’t know they needed. 

Also, driver beware- you WILL hit a lot of traffic on the weekends if you show up past 10 or so or when there is a special event. The main road, 441, will back up quite a bit with people trying to get in and park. 

Basically…

There are lots of fun places to visit in the Central Florida area, and if you are looking for a cute town with a hometown feel (less than an hour from Disney World) you must add Mt. Dora to your list! 

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