Top Things to Do in Mount Dora

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Mount Dora is a city of 13,000 located in central Florida northwest of Orlando.  Restaurants, cute shops, galleries, wineries, and more line the quaint historic downtown.  Mount Dora is known for its arts and antiques and holds many festivals.

Stay at the Lakeside Inn

When visiting, definitely stay at the Lakeside Inn located on Lake Mount Dora on the edge of the historic district.  Built in 1883, Lakeside Inn is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Florida.  It has hosted many dignitaries and celebrities, including President Calvin Coolidge and Lady Grace Coolidge.

Beautiful live oaks engulf the five yellow and white buildings which feature ninety guest rooms, a dining room, bar, and gift shop.  Enjoy a rocking chair or eat outside on the lovely, covered veranda while looking out on the lake. 

Stroll Through the Historic District

From Lakeside Inn, stroll the historic district which is lined with cute shops and restaurants.  Browse the galleries, snap up some home décor, or enjoy a meal on an outside patio.

Attend a Festival

When a festival is in town, you will really have a lot to see in Mount Dora’s historic District.  I visited during and art fair which attracted thousands of visitors.  The tented booths lined both sides of every street.

Mount Dora is known for its many festivals, so be sure to check the calendar before visiting!

Visit the Donnelly House

For a taste of history, make a stop at the Donnelly House.  It currently houses a Masonic Lodge and is not open to the public often, but you may at least admire the Victorian architecture and gingerbread façade. The Donnelly House was constructed in 1893 and was home to John Donnelly, the city’s first mayor in 1910.

Grantham Pointe Lighthouse

After checking out the town, head south to the Grantham Pointe Lighthouse.  The cute, candy cane striped lighthouse is the only inland aid lighthouse in Florida.  It sits on the edge of Mount Dora Lake just near Palm Island.

Palm Island

Speaking of Palm Island go take a stroll beneath the shade of towering trees.  Palm Island is a park, and only called an island due to the connecting boardwalk that makes it appear like an island.  The park’s trail, which includes the boardwalk, is short, but nice.  We spotted an alligator along the way.

Take a Sunset Cruise

If you want to see more wildlife, take a boat cruise.  Both Premier Boat Tours and Rusty Anchor offer two-hour, pontoon boat cruises during the day and a shorter one for sunset. I selected a sunset tour on Rusty Anchor because my dog Annie could come along.  It was her first boat ride, so she was quite excited!

Otherwise, I may have been more inclined to take a guided ride with CatBoat Adventures.  You get to drive the small Catboats yourself and they give you walkie talkies!  It looks super cool!

Also, had I spent more time in Mount Dora, I would have taken the longer, day tour with any of the aforementioned companies that goes through the canal because it is supposed to be beautiful.

Regardless, just get out on Lake Dora!  The sunset tour at $25 is the most affordable.  The pontoon day tours are $35 and the CatBoats are $150 on weekdays and $169 on the weekends.  The CatBoats hold two people.

Shop at Renningers Antique and Flea Market

Before leaving Mount Dora, if you are antique enthusiast, be sure to visit Renningers Antique and Flea Market.  Upon driving into the large complex, the Flea Market is on the left and the Antique Market is on the right.

There is a wide selection of items from crystal to jewelry to furniture to knick knacks and more.  The Antique Market is open Friday to Sunday while the flea market is Saturday and Sunday.

Overall Mount Dora is a really cute town in central Florida and definitely worth a visit!  ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

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