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Lake Dora, Tavares Florida – A Perfect Weekend Getaway


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Auroora Appleby



Are you looking for a perfect weekend getaway in Florida? Look no further than Lake Dora in Tavares, Florida. Nestled in the heart of Lake County, Lake Dora offers a serene and picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its crystal-clear waters, charming small-town atmosphere, and a plethora of recreational activities, Lake Dora is a hidden gem that should not be missed.


Located just 35 miles northwest of Orlando, Lake Dora is easily accessible and offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions. It is part of the Harris Chain of Lakes, a collection of seven interconnected lakes known for their scenic beauty and excellent fishing opportunities. Whether you are a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or a history buff, Lake Dora has something to offer everyone.


One of the highlights of Lake Dora is Wooton Park, a beautifully landscaped waterfront park located in downtown Tavares. From here, you can enjoy stunning views of the lake, go for a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk, or rent a paddleboard or kayak to explore the calm waters. The park also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, making it a hub of local entertainment.


If you’re a fan of aviation, make sure to visit the Tavares Seaplane Base, which is home to one of the largest seaplane operations in the world. Watch as seaplanes take off and land on the lake, and even take a scenic seaplane tour to experience the breathtaking beauty of the area from above.


Location and Overview

Lake Dora is located in Tavares, Florida, which is often referred to as the “Seaplane Capital of the World.” Tavares is a charming waterfront city known for its picturesque lakes, vibrant downtown area, and friendly community. Situated in Lake County, Tavares is just a short drive away from major cities like Orlando and Tampa, making it a convenient and accessible destination for both locals and tourists.


Being part of the Harris Chain of Lakes, Lake Dora offers an enchanting setting with its clear blue waters and scenic landscapes. The lake spans over 4,475 acres and has a maximum depth of 19 feet, making it perfect for various recreational activities like boating, fishing, and water sports.


The city of Tavares itself is rich in history and culture. It has a historic downtown district with charming storefronts, brick-lined streets, and beautiful lakefront views. The area is home to an array of boutique shops, restaurants, and galleries, catering to both locals and visitors alike.


Aside from its natural beauty and cultural attractions, Tavares is also known for its seaplane operations. The Tavares Seaplane Base is a significant part of the city’s identity, attracting aviation enthusiasts from around the world. With its unique location on the waterfront, the seaplane base offers thrilling opportunities to witness seaplanes taking off and landing on the lake.


Overall, Lake Dora and Tavares, Florida offer a perfect blend of nature, culture, and recreational activities. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing weekend getaway or an adventurous outdoor experience, this hidden gem in Lake County has everything you need to make your visit unforgettable.


Things to Do in Lake Dora

Lake Dora is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and offers a wide range of activities to suit all interests. Here are some of the top things to do in Lake Dora:

  1. Visit Wooton Park: Start your Lake Dora adventure at Wooton Park, a scenic waterfront park in downtown Tavares. Take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk, rent a paddleboard or kayak to explore the calm waters, or simply relax and enjoy the stunning views of the lake.
  2. Explore the Tavares Seaplane Base: Don’t miss the chance to witness the thrill of seaplanes taking off and landing on the lake at the Tavares Seaplane Base. Take a scenic seaplane tour to experience the breathtaking beauty of Lake Dora from above or simply enjoy watching these unique aircraft in action.
  3. Take a Scenic Boat Tour: Discover the natural beauty of Lake Dora on a relaxing boat tour. Several tour companies offer guided tours that showcase the stunning scenery, provide interesting facts about the area’s history and wildlife, and even offer the chance to spot some of the local aquatic inhabitants.
  4. Enjoy Watersports and Fishing: With its crystal-clear waters, Lake Dora is perfect for a variety of watersports activities. Rent a jet ski or go water tubing for an adrenaline-packed experience, or try your hand at fishing and see if you can catch some of the lake’s abundant bass, catfish, and sunfish.
  5. Visit the Mount Dora Historic District: Just a short distance from Lake Dora is the charming town of Mount Dora. Explore the historic district lined with antique shops, art galleries, and charming cafes. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Mount Dora History Museum to learn about the area’s fascinating past.

These are just a few examples of the many activities and attractions that Lake Dora has to offer. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural experiences, Lake Dora is sure to exceed your expectations.


Visit Wooton Park

When visiting Lake Dora, a visit to Wooton Park is a must. Located in downtown Tavares, this waterfront park offers a picturesque setting and a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re looking to soak in the natural beauty of the lake, get active on the water, or enjoy a leisurely stroll, Wooton Park has something for everyone.


One of the highlights of Wooton Park is its stunning boardwalk that extends over the water, providing panoramic views of Lake Dora. Take a leisurely walk along the boardwalk, breathe in the fresh air, and admire the breathtaking scenery. It is an excellent spot for photography enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking tranquility.


If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a paddleboard or kayak from one of the rental facilities in the park. Glide across the calm waters of Lake Dora and explore the shoreline at your own pace. It’s a great way to connect with nature and enjoy the serene surroundings. Boats and jet skis are also available for rent if you’re looking for a more exhilarating water experience.


Wooton Park is not just about water activities. The park offers well-maintained green spaces where you can lay a picnic blanket and enjoy a relaxing picnic with family or friends. There are also shaded pavilions and picnic tables available for use. Pack a picnic lunch, bring some outdoor games, and enjoy a day of fun and relaxation in the beautiful surroundings.


For fitness enthusiasts, Wooton Park features a fitness trail and a well-equipped outdoor fitness area. Take a jog or a brisk walk along the trail, or challenge yourself with various exercise stations strategically placed throughout the park. It’s a great way to stay active while taking in the scenic views.


In addition to its natural beauty and recreational facilities, Wooton Park is also a hub for community events and festivals. Throughout the year, the park hosts various concerts, art shows, and cultural festivals, offering visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture and enjoy live entertainment.


Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, relaxation, or simply a scenic spot to spend quality time with loved ones, Wooton Park in Lake Dora is the perfect destination. Experience the beauty of the lake, engage in water activities, or simply enjoy a leisurely day in the park, surrounded by nature’s splendor.


Explore the Tavares Seaplane Base

Located in the heart of Tavares, the Tavares Seaplane Base is an aviation enthusiast’s dream come true. Known as the “Seaplane Capital of the World,” this unique attraction offers visitors a chance to witness the excitement of seaplanes taking off and landing on the sparkling waters of Lake Dora.


As you arrive at the Tavares Seaplane Base, you’ll immediately be captivated by the sight of these impressive aircraft gracefully gliding across the lake. Take a stroll along the waterfront and watch as seaplanes come and go, creating a spectacle that is both thrilling and awe-inspiring.


If you’re looking to get an even closer look, consider taking a scenic seaplane tour. These tours provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to soar above Lake Dora and the surrounding area, offering breathtaking views of the natural beauty below. As you take in the panoramic vistas, your knowledgeable pilot will share interesting facts and stories about the region’s history and landmarks.


For those who have ever dreamed of flying a seaplane, the Tavares Seaplane Base offers seaplane training programs. Experienced instructors will guide you through the process, teaching you the fundamentals of flying a seaplane and providing you with an exhilarating and unforgettable experience.


In addition to its aviation activities, the Tavares Seaplane Base is also home to a seaplane museum. Explore the exhibits and learn about the history and development of seaplanes, their role in aviation, and the impact they have had in various industries. The museum is a fascinating tribute to these incredible aircraft and is a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts.


Aside from the aviation-focused attractions, the Tavares Seaplane Base also hosts events throughout the year. From seaplane races to air shows, these events showcase the skill and versatility of seaplanes and draw crowds from near and far.


Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast or simply intrigued by the idea of watching seaplanes in action, a visit to the Tavares Seaplane Base is a unique experience not to be missed. Immerse yourself in the world of seaplanes, learn about their history, and witness the magic of these majestic aircraft as they take flight on the enchanting waters of Lake Dora.


Take a Scenic Boat Tour

Exploring Lake Dora by boat is a must-do experience for visitors to the area. A scenic boat tour offers a unique perspective of the lake, allowing you to appreciate its natural beauty, spot local wildlife, and learn about the history and significance of this stunning waterbody.


Several tour companies in the Lake Dora area offer guided boat tours that take you on a leisurely journey across the lake’s pristine waters. These tours are led by knowledgeable and friendly guides who share interesting facts, stories, and anecdotes about the lake, its surroundings, and the wildlife that call it home.


As you embark on a scenic boat tour, you’ll have the opportunity to witness breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Dora. Sit back and relax as the boat glides across the tranquil waters, taking you past picturesque shorelines, lush vegetation, and charming waterfront properties. Keep your eyes peeled for the abundant wildlife that inhabits the lake, including majestic birds, playful dolphins, and gentle manatees.


One of the highlights of a boat tour is the chance to learn about the history and cultural significance of Lake Dora. Your guide will share fascinating tales about the early settlers of the area, the Native American tribes who once inhabited the region, and the importance of the lake throughout the years. Gain insights into the rich heritage of Lake Dora and its surrounding communities.


Some boat tours also offer additional amenities to enhance your experience. You may have the option to enjoy refreshments on board, listen to live commentary, or even stop at select landmarks along the way. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing sightseeing cruise or an educational wildlife tour, there are boat tour options available to cater to your preferences.


Boat tours on Lake Dora are not limited to daytime adventures. Many companies offer sunset cruises, allowing you to witness the stunning colors of the sky as the sun sets over the horizon. This creates a magical ambiance and provides a unique opportunity for romance or simply enjoying the beauty of nature.


Overall, a scenic boat tour on Lake Dora is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty, history, and wildlife of this enchanting area. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful and relaxing experience, a boat tour is a perfect choice.


Enjoy Watersports and Fishing

For those seeking excitement and adventure on Lake Dora, there are a plethora of watersports activities to enjoy. From jet skiing to water tubing, there’s something for everyone looking for a splash of fun.


Renting a jet ski is a popular option for thrill-seekers. Experience the thrill of speeding across the lake, feeling the wind in your hair, and enjoying the adrenaline rush as you navigate the clear waters of Lake Dora. Jet ski rentals are available at various locations around the lake and provide an exhilarating way to explore its vast expanse.


If you’re looking for a more leisurely water activity, consider renting a kayak or paddleboard. Glide along the peaceful surface of Lake Dora, enjoying the serenity and tranquility that the lake has to offer. Take in the beautiful panoramic views, spot wildlife along the shorelines, and embrace the calming ambiance of nature as you paddle through the crystal-clear waters.


Fishing enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise on Lake Dora. Known for its abundant fish population, including bass, catfish, and sunfish, the lake offers excellent fishing opportunities year-round. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, grab your fishing gear and cast your line into the bountiful waters. You’ll have the chance to reel in some impressive catches and create memories that will last a lifetime.


If you’re looking to enhance your fishing experience, consider hiring a local fishing guide. These experts know the lake like the back of their hand and can take you to the best spots for a successful fishing trip. They’ll provide valuable tips and tricks, share their knowledge of the area’s fish species, and help you optimize your chances of landing a big catch.


For a more unique fishing experience, consider nighttime fishing on Lake Dora. As the sun sets and the moon rises, you can enjoy the tranquility of the lake while fishing under the starlit sky. It’s a peaceful and magical experience that adds a touch of adventure to your fishing excursion.


Whether it’s the thrill of watersports or the peacefulness of fishing, Lake Dora offers endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Pack your gear, get ready to make a splash, and dive into the exhilarating world of watersports and fishing on Lake Dora.


Visit the Mount Dora Historic District

Located just a short distance from Lake Dora, the charming town of Mount Dora is a must-visit destination for history lovers and culture enthusiasts. The town’s historic district is an enchanting area filled with quaint shops, picturesque streets, and a rich history dating back to the late 1800s.


As you wander through the Mount Dora Historic District, you’ll be transported back in time. The streets are lined with beautifully preserved historic buildings, many of which now house unique boutiques, art galleries, and specialty stores. Explore the delightful shops, browse through antique shops, and discover one-of-a-kind treasures that you won’t find anywhere else.


Architecture enthusiasts will marvel at the various architectural styles present in the historic district. From Victorian-era homes with their ornate details and wrap-around verandas to charming bungalows, each building tells its own story and adds to the charm of the area. Take a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined streets and soak in the architectural beauty that surrounds you.


One of the focal points of the Mount Dora Historic District is the Mount Dora History Museum. Housed in a charming building that was once a railroad depot, the museum showcases artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that provide insight into the town’s storied past. Learn about the area’s early settlers, the development of the railway system, and the impact that Mount Dora has had on the region.


In addition to its historical significance, the Mount Dora Historic District is also known for its vibrant arts scene. The area is home to numerous art galleries featuring a diverse range of works by local and regional artists. Explore the galleries, admire the artwork, and perhaps even find a unique piece to take home as a memento of your visit.


When hunger strikes, the Mount Dora Historic District offers plenty of dining options to satisfy your cravings. From charming cafes and bistros to upscale restaurants offering a farm-to-table dining experience, you’ll find a variety of cuisines to tempt your taste buds. Take a break from your exploration, sit down for a delicious meal, and immerse yourself in the local culinary scene.


Throughout the year, the Mount Dora Historic District comes alive with festivals, wine walks, and art shows. From the annual Mount Dora Arts Festival, which attracts artists from around the country, to the lively Mount Dora Christmas Parade, there’s always something happening in this lively and welcoming community.


Immerse yourself in the history, culture, and small-town charm of the Mount Dora Historic District. Explore the streets lined with unique shops, admire the beautiful architecture, and indulge in the local arts and culinary scene. A visit to this historic district is a journey into the past and an opportunity to create lasting memories.


Places to Stay

When planning your visit to Lake Dora and the surrounding area, you’ll find a variety of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences. From charming historic inns to luxurious resorts and cozy vacation rentals, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay during your getaway.

  1. Lakeside Inn: For a truly authentic and historic experience, the Lakeside Inn is a top choice. Situated on the shores of Lake Dora in downtown Mount Dora, this iconic inn dates back to 1883 and offers charming accommodations with stunning lake views. Enjoy the timeless elegance of the Victorian-style rooms, relax on the veranda, and savor the warm hospitality that the Lakeside Inn is known for.
  2. Mission Inn Resort and Club: If you’re looking for a luxurious retreat, the Mission Inn Resort and Club in nearby Howey-in-the-Hills is a perfect choice. This sprawling resort features beautifully appointed rooms and suites, several fine dining options, championship golf courses, a full-service spa, and a variety of recreational activities. Enjoy the resort’s Spanish colonial architecture, lush grounds, and breathtaking views of the rolling hills surrounding Lake Harris.
  3. Airbnb Rentals in Tavares: Another popular option for accommodations in the Lake Dora area is to rent a vacation home or apartment through Airbnb. With a range of options available, from cozy lakeside cottages to spacious condos, you can find the perfect home away from home. Many rentals offer lakefront access, private docks, and amenities such as fully equipped kitchens and outdoor grills, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable and convenient stay.

Whichever accommodation option you choose, you’ll be surrounded by the natural beauty of Lake Dora and the warmth of the local community. Whether you prefer the charm of a historic inn, the luxury of a resort, or the privacy of a vacation rental, your stay in Lake Dora is sure to be comfortable and memorable.


Lakeside Inn

If you’re seeking a truly authentic and historic experience during your visit to Lake Dora, look no further than the Lakeside Inn. Nestled on the shores of Lake Dora in downtown Mount Dora, this iconic inn dates back to 1883 and offers a charming and welcoming atmosphere that exudes a sense of old-world elegance.


The Lakeside Inn boasts a variety of accommodations, including rooms and suites that feature Victorian-style decor and modern comforts. Each room is uniquely decorated, offering a cozy and inviting ambiance that will make you feel right at home. Many of the rooms provide stunning views of Lake Dora, allowing you to wake up to breathtaking sunrises or relax on your private balcony as you take in the serene beauty of the lake.


One of the highlights of staying at the Lakeside Inn is its rich history and heritage. The inn has played host to numerous notable guests, including presidents and celebrities, and its walls are adorned with photographs and memorabilia that tell the stories of its past. Take a stroll through the inn’s historic hallways, and you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.


During your stay, be sure to take advantage of the inn’s amenities and facilities. Enjoy a meal at the Lakeside Inn’s award-winning restaurant, where you can indulge in delicious cuisine while enjoying panoramic views of the lake. Relax on the inn’s expansive veranda, where rocking chairs invite you to sit back, unwind, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere that surrounds you.


Located in downtown Mount Dora, the Lakeside Inn is ideally situated for exploring the charming shops, galleries, and restaurants that dot the historic district. Take a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined streets, visit the local boutiques, and discover unique treasures that you won’t find anywhere else.


Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a peaceful retreat, or a step back in time, the Lakeside Inn offers a one-of-a-kind experience. Immerse yourself in the history, elegance, and natural beauty of Lake Dora while enjoying the warm hospitality and timeless charm of this historic inn.


Mission Inn Resort and Club

For those seeking a luxurious and upscale experience during their stay near Lake Dora, the Mission Inn Resort and Club in nearby Howey-in-the-Hills is an ideal choice. This sprawling resort offers a wide array of amenities and activities, making it a perfect destination for both relaxation and recreation.


The Mission Inn Resort and Club boasts beautifully appointed rooms and suites that provide a luxurious and comfortable retreat for guests. From well-appointed furnishings to modern amenities, each accommodation is designed to ensure a restful and enjoyable stay. The resort offers various room options to cater to different needs and preferences, including rooms with stunning golf course or garden views.


One of the standout features of the Mission Inn Resort and Club is its exceptional golf offerings. The resort is home to two championship golf courses: El Campeón, one of the oldest courses in Florida, and Las Colinas, known for its scenic beauty and challenging layout. Golf enthusiasts can tee off amidst breathtaking views, lush landscaping, and rolling hills, creating an unforgettable golfing experience.


In addition to golf, the resort offers a host of other activities to keep guests entertained. Take a dip in one of the resort’s swimming pools, relax at the full-service spa, or stay active at the fitness center. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the resort’s hiking and biking trails, play a game of tennis, or enjoy water sports activities on nearby Lake Harris.


No vacation is complete without delicious dining options, and the Mission Inn Resort and Club delivers on this front as well. The resort features several dining options, from casual poolside fare to gourmet cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely breakfast overlooking the golf course or a romantic candlelit dinner, you’ll find a dining experience to satisfy your cravings.


For those seeking a touch of pampering and relaxation, the Spa Marbella at Mission Inn is the perfect destination. Indulge in a variety of treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps, all designed to rejuvenate and revitalize your mind, body, and soul. Let the skilled therapists take care of your well-being and leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.


With its luxurious accommodations, exceptional golf courses, a wide range of activities, and exquisite dining options, the Mission Inn Resort and Club offers a truly memorable getaway near Lake Dora. Whether you’re a golf enthusiast, a relaxation seeker, or simply looking for a high-end escape, this resort provides an unparalleled experience that will make your stay truly extraordinary.


Airbnb Rentals in Tavares

For those seeking a more personalized and unique accommodation experience in the Lake Dora area, Airbnb rentals in Tavares provide a fantastic option. From cozy lakeside cottages to spacious condos, there’s a wide range of rentals available to suit different preferences and group sizes.


By opting for an Airbnb rental, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local community and live like a local. Many rentals are privately owned homes or apartments, allowing you to experience the charm and character of the area in a more intimate way.


One of the advantages of Airbnb rentals is the flexibility and convenience they offer. From fully equipped kitchens to laundry facilities, you’ll have all the comforts of home at your fingertips. This allows you to prepare your own meals, do your laundry, and relax in a spacious and comfortable environment.


Lakefront Airbnb rentals in Tavares are particularly popular, as they allow guests to enjoy scenic views and direct access to the water. Imagine waking up to the gentle sound of waves, enjoying your morning coffee on a private dock, or taking a refreshing swim right outside your doorstep. It’s the perfect setting for unwinding and connecting with nature.


Furthermore, Airbnb rentals in Tavares often come with additional amenities to enhance your stay. Some may provide bicycles or kayaks for guests to explore the surrounding area, while others may offer outdoor grills and patio areas for barbecues and al fresco dining. These additional features allow you to make the most of your vacation and create unforgettable memories.


The Airbnb rentals in Tavares are also conveniently located, allowing you to easily access the attractions and activities in the Lake Dora area. Whether you’re interested in exploring downtown Tavares, visiting nearby Mount Dora, or enjoying the various outdoor recreational opportunities, you’ll find that these rentals offer a central and convenient base.


As with any Airbnb booking, it’s essential to read reviews, communicate with the hosts, and ensure that the rental meets your specific needs and preferences. Whether you’re traveling alone, with a partner, or as a family, the wide variety of Airbnb rentals in Tavares ensures that you’ll find the perfect accommodation to suit your interests and create a memorable stay near Lake Dora.


Restaurants and Dining

The Lake Dora area, including Tavares and nearby Mount Dora, offers a delightful culinary scene with a variety of restaurants and dining options to satisfy every palate. From waterfront eateries to charming cafes and upscale dining establishments, you’ll find a range of choices that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.


1. Puddle Jumpers Lakeside Grill: Located on the shores of Lake Woodward in Tavares, Puddle Jumpers Lakeside Grill offers a casual and relaxed atmosphere along with fantastic lake views. Indulge in their delicious seafood dishes, such as succulent shrimp and fresh catch of the day, or try one of their juicy burgers. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a refreshing drink from their full bar.


2. Ruby Street Grille: Situated in the heart of downtown Tavares, Ruby Street Grille is known for its mouthwatering menu and charming setting. From their signature dishes like Shrimp and Grits and Chicken Marsala to their selection of gourmet pizzas, every item is crafted with care and attention to detail. Pair your meal with one of their craft beers or handcrafted cocktails for the perfect dining experience.


3. The Goblin Market: Located in Mount Dora’s historic district, The Goblin Market is a hidden gem offering an upscale and eclectic dining experience. Step into this charming restaurant housed in a renovated historic building and be transported to a world of culinary delight. The menu features a fusion of flavors, with dishes like Pan-Seared Scallops, Duck Confit, and Pistachio-Crusted Rack of Lamb. With its cozy ambiance and exceptional service, The Goblin Market promises an unforgettable dining experience.


The Lake Dora area is also home to several cafes and bakeries, perfect for a quick bite or a leisurely afternoon treat. Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a pastry at downtown Tavares’ Buzzard Beach Café or satisfy your sweet tooth at one of Mount Dora’s bakeries, such as Sugarboo’s Bakery or Le Petit Sweet.


Whether you’re in the mood for seafood, Italian cuisine, a juicy burger, or a gourmet dining experience, the Lake Dora area has something to satisfy every craving. As you explore the charming streets and scenic waterfront, you’ll discover a culinary scene that is diverse, delicious, and sure to leave a lasting impression.


Puddle Jumpers Lakeside Grill

If you’re looking for a casual and laid-back dining experience with stunning lakeside views, Puddle Jumpers Lakeside Grill in Tavares is a must-visit restaurant. Located on the shores of Lake Woodward, this popular eatery offers a relaxed ambiance and delicious food that will satisfy both your cravings and your desire for a breathtaking setting.


Puddle Jumpers Lakeside Grill is renowned for its seafood dishes, which are prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Indulge in succulent shrimp, perfectly grilled fish, or a delectable seafood platter brimming with a variety of ocean delights. The menu also features non-seafood options, including juicy burgers, delectable sandwiches, and mouthwatering salads, catering to all taste preferences.


What sets Puddle Jumpers Lakeside Grill apart from others is its prime location on Lake Woodward. Enjoy your meal on the outdoor patio and soak in the panoramic views of the tranquil lake and its picturesque surroundings. Watch as boats glide across the water and take in the beauty of the Florida sunset while savoring your delicious meal.


The restaurant’s casual and inviting atmosphere creates the perfect environment for a relaxing dining experience. The friendly staff and attentive service ensure that you feel welcomed and well taken care of throughout your visit. Puddle Jumpers Lakeside Grill is equally suitable for a family outing, a romantic evening, or a gathering with friends.


In addition to its fantastic food and breathtaking views, Puddle Jumpers Lakeside Grill boasts a full bar offering a wide selection of refreshing drinks. Sip on a craft beer, savor a glass of wine, or indulge in one of their signature cocktails while enjoying the serene lakefront ambiance.


Whether you’re a seafood lover, a burger enthusiast, or simply in search of a place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of Lake Woodward, Puddle Jumpers Lakeside Grill is the perfect destination. Combine the delicious food, the picturesque setting, and the warm hospitality, and you have an experience that encapsulates everything a waterfront restaurant should be.


Ruby Street Grille

Located in the heart of downtown Tavares, Ruby Street Grille is a beloved restaurant known for its exceptional food and inviting atmosphere. This charming eatery offers a diverse menu featuring a range of flavorful dishes that are sure to satisfy every palate.


Ruby Street Grille has gained a reputation for its mouthwatering cuisine, which showcases a combination of classic and innovative flavors. Start your meal with their renowned Shrimp and Grits, a Southern favorite that is elevated with a unique twist. For seafood enthusiasts, their fresh catch of the day is always a fantastic choice, featuring expertly prepared fish with bold and creative flavors.


Meat lovers will also find a selection of delectable options at Ruby Street Grille. Indulge in their perfectly cooked steaks, tender chicken dishes, or succulent pork offerings. The menu showcases a variety of dishes, from the traditional to the unexpected, ensuring that there’s something to suit every taste preference.


One of the standout features of Ruby Street Grille is its commitment to using locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant prides itself on supporting local farmers and suppliers, which results in fresh and high-quality ingredients that make a noticeable difference in the taste and quality of their dishes.


The warm and inviting atmosphere at Ruby Street Grille adds to the overall dining experience. The restaurant’s rustic decor, exposed brick walls, and cozy seating create a welcoming ambiance that is perfect for a casual lunch, a celebratory dinner, or a romantic evening. Their attentive and friendly staff is always eager to make sure that your dining experience is nothing short of exceptional.


In addition to the delicious food and cozy atmosphere, Ruby Street Grille also offers a selection of craft beers, fine wines, and handcrafted cocktails to complement your meal. Indulge in a refreshing beverage from their full bar while savoring the flavors of your chosen dish.


Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to Tavares, Ruby Street Grille is a standout dining destination. With its diverse menu, use of locally sourced ingredients, and welcoming ambiance, this restaurant offers a memorable culinary experience that will leave you planning your next visit.


The Goblin Market

Tucked away in Mount Dora’s historic district, The Goblin Market is an enchanting restaurant that offers an unforgettable dining experience. Housed in a renovated historic building, this hidden gem combines an eclectic menu, a charming ambiance, and exceptional service to create a dining experience that is both magical and memorable.


The menu at The Goblin Market is a fusion of flavors and influences, with dishes that are as visually stunning as they are delicious. Savor each bite of their carefully crafted culinary creations, which range from Pan-Seared Scallops and Duck Confit to Pistachio-Crusted Rack of Lamb. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy.


The unique name of the restaurant is inspired by a poem by Christina Rossetti, and the enchanting ambiance of The Goblin Market mirrors the whimsical spirit of the poem. The interior features exposed brick walls adorned with artwork, stained glass windows, and an inviting fireplace, creating a warm and romantic atmosphere that feels like stepping into another world.


The attention to detail and personalized service at The Goblin Market further enhances the dining experience. The friendly and knowledgeable staff go above and beyond to ensure that every guest feels welcome and taken care of. From recommendations on wine pairings to accommodating dietary restrictions, their commitment to guest satisfaction is evident in every interaction.


Complementing the exceptional food and magical ambiance, The Goblin Market offers an impressive wine list featuring a curated selection of both domestic and international wines. Whether you’re a connoisseur or simply looking to enjoy a glass with your meal, the knowledgeable staff can assist you in choosing the perfect wine to enhance your dining experience.


The restaurant also hosts special events and themed nights, adding an extra touch of excitement and entertainment to your visit. From wine tasting events to live music performances, there’s always something happening at The Goblin Market that will enhance your dining experience and make it even more memorable.


Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, enjoying a romantic evening, or simply seeking a one-of-a-kind dining experience in Mount Dora, The Goblin Market is the perfect destination. With its fusion of flavors, enchanting ambiance, and impeccable service, this restaurant delivers an extraordinary experience that will leave a lasting impression.


Local Events and Festivals

The Lake Dora area is not only known for its natural beauty and charming towns but also for its vibrant local events and festivals that showcase the region’s culture, art, and community spirit. Whether you’re a music lover, an art enthusiast, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere, there’s always something exciting happening in this dynamic area.


1. Mount Dora Arts Festival: Considered one of the premier art festivals in Central Florida, the Mount Dora Arts Festival attracts artists and art enthusiasts from far and wide. This two-day event, held annually in February, features a diverse range of arts and crafts, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, ceramics, and more. Stroll along the streets of downtown Mount Dora, admire the stunning artwork, and engage with the talented artists who make this festival a true celebration of creativity.


2. Tavares Christmas Parade: Get into the holiday spirit with the Tavares Christmas Parade, held in December each year. This beloved community event features festive floats, marching bands, and plenty of holiday cheer. Families and friends gather along the parade route to watch the spectacle, cheer on the participants, and enjoy the joyful atmosphere that fills the air.


3. Antique Boat Festival: For boat enthusiasts, the Antique Boat Festival in Tavares is a must-see event. Held annually in March, this festival showcases a stunning collection of vintage and classic boats from different eras. Take a step back in time as beautifully restored wooden boats grace the waters of Lake Dora. Visitors can enjoy boat rides, live entertainment, and explore the world of antique boating through informative exhibits and demonstrations.


These are just a few examples of the many local events and festivals that take place in the Lake Dora area throughout the year. From live music concerts to food festivals and cultural celebrations, there’s always something to enjoy and participate in. Check the local event calendars and join in the festivities to experience the vibrant energy and community spirit that make Lake Dora such a special place to visit.


Mount Dora Arts Festival

The Mount Dora Arts Festival is one of the most highly anticipated events in the Lake Dora area, attracting artists and art enthusiasts from near and far. Held annually in February, this esteemed festival transforms the streets of downtown Mount Dora into a vibrant open-air gallery, showcasing a diverse range of artistic talent.


For two days, locals and visitors alike have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of art, experiencing a wide variety of mediums and styles. Talented artists from across the country come to showcase their creations, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography, jewelry, and much more.


Strolling through the festival, you’ll find yourself captivated by the immense creativity and craftsmanship on display. From breathtaking landscapes to abstract masterpieces, the artists’ works span a diverse range of styles and genres, catering to all artistic tastes. Engage in conversations with the artists, learn about their techniques and inspirations, and perhaps even take home a unique piece of art that speaks to you.


In addition to the visual art, the Mount Dora Arts Festival also features live music performances, food vendors, and interactive art experiences. Local musicians provide a lively soundtrack, adding to the festive ambiance. You can also indulge in a wide array of culinary delights, from gourmet food trucks to local eateries offering delectable treats.


The festival not only offers an opportunity to appreciate art but also encourages hands-on participation. Interactive art experiences allow visitors of all ages to unleash their creativity and engage in artistic activities. From collaborative mural painting to sculpture workshops, there’s something for everyone to explore their artistic talents.


During the festival, the streets of downtown Mount Dora come alive with a vibrant energy. Artists set up their booths, cafes spill onto the sidewalks, and the community comes together to celebrate the arts. The festival truly showcases the unique charm and artistic spirit of the area, creating an unforgettable experience for all who attend.


As a highly regarded and well-attended event, the Mount Dora Arts Festival attracts art enthusiasts and tourists from all over. It’s an opportunity to be inspired by the creativity of others, support talented artists, and celebrate the power of art to connect people.


Whether you are an art collector, a casual appreciator, or simply looking to immerse yourself in a creative atmosphere, the Mount Dora Arts Festival is an event not to be missed. It’s a celebration of art, community, and the vibrant cultural scene that enhances the beauty and charm of the Lake Dora area.


Tavares Christmas Parade

The Tavares Christmas Parade is a beloved annual event that brings the holiday spirit to the Lake Dora area. Held in the month of December, this festive parade is a cherished tradition that draws both locals and visitors together to celebrate the magic of Christmas.


As the holiday season approaches, anticipation builds for the Tavares Christmas Parade. Families and friends gather along the parade route, lining the streets with excitement and cheer. The entire community comes alive with festive decorations, twinkling lights, and joyful anticipation.


The parade features cheerful floats, marching bands, community groups, local businesses, and even appearances from holiday characters. The floats become works of art, adorned with vibrant colors, shimmering lights, and eye-catching displays. From Santa Claus to snowmen, the parade brings iconic Christmas figures to life, spreading joy and excitement to all who witness the procession.


Children’s faces light up with delight as they watch their favorite characters pass by and eagerly await Santa’s arrival. The joyous sounds of marching bands fill the air, playing beloved holiday tunes that everyone can sing along to. The community’s festive spirit is infectious, creating a sense of unity and togetherness that captures the true essence of the season.


The Tavares Christmas Parade is not just a spectacle to observe. It’s an interactive experience that encourages participation and engagement. Many parade participants distribute candy canes, small gifts, and holiday greetings, creating a sense of excitement and goodwill among attendees.


Attending the Tavares Christmas Parade is more than just a festive celebration; it’s an opportunity to create cherished memories with loved ones. The parade brings families and friends closer together as they gather to experience the magic of Christmas and share in the joy that fills the air.


The Tavares Christmas Parade perfectly captures the spirit of the holiday season. It emanates warmth, joy, and a sense of community that is truly special. It’s a tradition that brings people of all ages together and serves as a reminder of the love, generosity, and unity that define this magical time of year.


Whether you’re a longtime resident of the Lake Dora area or a visitor, attending the Tavares Christmas Parade is an experience that will fill your heart with holiday joy and help you create lasting memories with loved ones. Come be a part of the enchantment and infuse your holiday season with the spirit of Christmas.


Antique Boat Festival

The Antique Boat Festival in Tavares is a delightful and captivating event that showcases the timeless beauty of vintage and classic boats. Held annually in March, this festival is a must-see for boat enthusiasts and anyone who appreciates the elegance and craftsmanship of these stunning watercraft.


The festival takes place on the shores of picturesque Lake Dora, providing the perfect backdrop for the impressive display of antique boats. Immerse yourself in a bygone era as beautifully restored wooden boats, each with its own unique charm and character, grace the tranquil waters of the lake.


Boat owners and enthusiasts from around the country come together to share their passion for these iconic vessels. Expect to see a variety of boat types, ranging from elegant runabouts and mahogany-hulled cruisers to sleek speedboats and iconic wooden sailboats. Each boat tells a story of meticulous restoration, preservation, and an unwavering appreciation for the beauty of vintage craftsmanship.


Attendees of the Antique Boat Festival have the opportunity to explore the boats up close, marveling at their exquisite details and craftsmanship. Engage in conversation with the proud boat owners, who are often eager to share the histories and restoration stories behind their prized possessions.


The festival not only offers a chance to witness these incredible boats but also provides exciting activities for all ages. Enjoy boat rides on Lake Dora, where you can experience the majesty of vintage vessels yourself. Educational exhibits, demonstrations, and informative talks provide insight into the history and heritage of antique boating, making it an enriching experience for all attendees.


Aside from the boats, the Antique Boat Festival creates a festive and lively atmosphere. Live entertainment, food vendors offering delectable treats, and a vibrant community atmosphere all add to the charm of the event. It’s a celebration of a bygone era, where boat enthusiasts and families come together to appreciate the beauty, craftsmanship, and nostalgia of antique boating.


The Antique Boat Festival captures the essence of Lake Dora’s rich maritime history, highlighting the importance of preserving and celebrating these incredible vessels. It’s an event that not only appeals to boat enthusiasts but also provides a unique and memorable experience for anyone with an appreciation for history, craftsmanship, and the beauty of vintage boats.


Whether you’re fascinated by classic wooden boats, interested in the history of boating, or simply seeking a delightful weekend activity, the Antique Boat Festival in Tavares offers a captivating experience that will transport you to a bygone era of elegance, glamour, and timeless beauty on the waters of Lake Dora.



Lake Dora, with its charming towns of Tavares and Mount Dora, offers a perfect weekend getaway for those seeking a combination of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and community spirit. Whether you’re exploring the serene waters of Lake Dora, immersing yourself in the rich history of the area, or enjoying the vibrant local events and festivals, there is something for everyone to enjoy.


From the tranquil atmosphere of Wooton Park to the excitement of the Tavares Seaplane Base, Lake Dora provides a multitude of activities to suit all interests. Embark on a scenic boat tour, indulge in watersports and fishing, or explore the historic district of Mount Dora. The options are endless, allowing you to create an itinerary that matches your preferences and desires.


When it comes to accommodations, Lake Dora offers a range of choices to suit different tastes and budgets. Whether you opt for the historic charm of Lakeside Inn, the luxury of Mission Inn Resort and Club, or the personalized comfort of an Airbnb rental in Tavares, you’ll find a welcoming place to rest and rejuvenate during your stay.


The dining scene in the Lake Dora area is equally enticing, with a variety of restaurants and eateries to satisfy every palate. From lakeside grills offering fresh seafood to upscale dining establishments serving gourmet cuisine, you’ll find a diverse range of culinary options that will leave you craving for more.


Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant local events and festivals that bring the Lake Dora area to life. Whether you’re admiring the artwork at the Mount Dora Arts Festival, joining in the festive cheer of the Tavares Christmas Parade, or marvelling at the exquisite antique boats during the Antique Boat Festival, these events contribute to the unique flavor of the region.


In conclusion, Lake Dora is a hidden gem in Florida that offers a perfect weekend getaway with its natural beauty, cultural attractions, and engaging community events. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or artistic inspiration, Lake Dora promises a memorable experience that will leave you with cherished memories and a desire to return time and time again.