Nestled between sparkling lakes and gentle, rolling hills, Clermont, Florida embodies Florida's beauty and allure beyond the typical beach scenes.
Allow me to take you on a tour of this hidden gem, showcasing spots that only locals know and love, promising an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Sunshine State.
So pack your bags, and let's explore the best things to do in Clermont - where every day is a chance to discover something extraordinary.
Enocunter Wildlife at Lake Hiawatha Preserve
Experiencing the serene atmosphere of Lake Hiawatha Preserve makes you understand why it's considered one of Clermont's precious nature jewels.
As I stroll down the walking trails, the thick canopy of foliage shields me from the Florida sun, providing plenty of shade.
It's the perfect cool-off from the radiating heat.
The park is a frequent stop for my family and me, especially when we need a break from our monotonous routines.
The playground, although small, keeps the younger ones entertained.
They particularly love climbing the spiral staircase to the single slide.
There are only two swings, but it's enough to invoke a sense of thrill in them.
The addition of a see-saw adds a touch of nostalgia, reminding me of my own childhood.
The beautifully aged Oaks, adorned with trailing moss, add to the scenic beauty of the park.
They serve as homes to various birds and squirrels, creating an environment abundant with wildlife.
During certain times of the year, like Memorial Day, the park becomes a hub of celebration.
The atmosphere fills with laughter and joy, as people come together to enjoy the day.
One of my favorite attractions at the Lake Hiawatha Preserve is the Frisbee golf course.
It's well-maintained and offers a fun and challenging activity.
However, it can get busy during peak times, and waiting in line to play can sometimes be a drawback.
But the anticipation of playing only adds to the excitement.
The park, though frequented by many dog walkers, can be a bit of a nuisance because of the yellow flies.
Their bites can be mean, so carrying a bug spray is always recommended.
But that's a small price to pay for enjoying the beauty and tranquility this place offers.
Unleash Creativity at Plaster Cottage
Whenever I feel the need to tap into my creative side, I find myself gravitating towards the Plaster Cottage.
It is a wonderful place to unwind and paint some pottery.
My child, who is on the mild side of the autism spectrum, absolutely loves the frequent painting classes.
It's incredible watching her flourish and make friends in such a nurturing environment.
The staff there always goes out of their way to be friendly and accommodating, making each visit a memorable one.
The Plaster Cottage has also been our go-to place for special occasions.
I still remember how they turned my daughter's 4th birthday party into an unforgettable art extravaganza!
They hosted a group of 18 kids, along with their parents, and everyone had an absolute blast.
Each little artist left the party with a self-made, unique party favor, adding a priceless personal touch to the celebration.
While it's true that their selection can sometimes seem sparse, especially on busy days, the Plaster Cottage is a haven for creative expression.
Every visit there invites us to explore new things and pick projects we wouldn't usually consider.
Even though the inventory was low on our last visit, we took it as an opportunity for my kids to step out of their comfort zones and paint some unconventional pieces.
Have a Quick Dip at Waterfront Park
This haven, nestled in Clermont, is the ultimate escape from the sweltering heat.
Here's a glimpse into my favorite spot where the lakefront view is just the beginning.
Imagine this: diving into the cool, refreshing waters for a quick swim.
It's a delightful respite from the beach, and the best part is, it's right in our city.
Plus, with restrooms nearby, convenience is never an issue.
For those of us with little ones, Waterfront Park offers play areas and swings.
And yes, there’s a splash pad, too, so the fun never ends.
And if it's time for a birthday celebration or any festive gathering, we Lake County residents get the privilege to reserve a pavilion.
Now let's talk about a unique experience at this park - paddle boarding.
Once you try it, you'll realize that it's more than just a way to escape the heat: it's an adventure.
Regardless of your skill level, from beginners to experts, paddle boarding on this beach is a delightful way to spend a warm day.
But wait, there's more.
Every July 4th, the park lights up with fireworks.
It's a spectacular show that lasts for about 15 minutes, but the memory lasts forever.
You can choose to spend the whole day or just drop by for the show; either way, the experience is unforgettable.
Walk through Victory Pointe
There's a secret spot nestled away from the city's hustle and bustle - a place called Victory Pointe.
It's a community park area that's got a stunning waterfront and a trail that just invites you to take a leisurely stroll or a brisk jog.
And trust me, you can't resist the lure of the lake framed by lush greenery.
Whether you're out for a morning run or an evening walk with your family, the trail that winds around the lake never disappoints.
The laughter of kids scootering and the serene atmosphere of the park always fills my heart with joy.
It's not just the trail, but the small shops nearby add charm to the park.
You can grab a quick snack and enjoy the ambiance of the park.
The winters in Victory Pointe are magical.
It becomes a festive wonderland with the Festival of Trees, sponsored by local businesses and service organizations.
Each tree is adorned and decorated beautifully, making the park glow with holiday spirit.
And if you're lucky, you can spot the lily pads in full bloom during the warm season.
These stunning beauties add a pop of vibrant color to the lake.
Not to forget, the park's bathrooms are always clean, which is a relief.
A Stroll through Crooked River Preserve
As soon as I leave the bustling parking lot behind, I am transported into a haven of tranquil landscapes and gentle trails.
The parking lot, often filled to the brim, is a testament to the popularity of this hidden gem nestled in Lake County.
However, the abundance of cars never seems to impact the serene atmosphere that blankets the preserve.
The trails, marked clearly, are a delight to wander through, with each turn revealing a new facet of the natural beauty that envelops this place.
From the stunning views of the lake gleaming under the Florida sun, to the unexpected excitement of a snake slithering past, every visit is an adventure.
The Crooked River Preserve is also home to a unique feature - a sinkhole.
A visit to this geological marvel is a must, as it gives a glimpse into the area's fascinating natural history.
The preserve doesn't forget the practical aspects either.
The restroom next to the parking lot is well-maintained, and information boards scattered around provide informative details about the preserve and other attractions in Lake County.
There is also a picnic spot for those wishing to extend their visit and enjoy a meal amidst the captivating surroundings.
Every trip to the preserve, whether it's a short, leisurely walk or a more adventurous exploration, is always a treat.
The sandy trails are easy to navigate, making it a perfect destination for all ages.
Have an Unforgettable Camping Experience at Lake Louisa State Park
Have you ever experienced the tranquility of a place that soothes your soul?
That's exactly what happened to me on my visit to Lake Louisa State Park.
It's more than just a park; it's a picturesque oasis that offers a much-needed escape from the city's hustle and bustle.
I recall one rainy weekend when I decided to introduce my kids to the joy of camping.
We stayed at one of the park's well-maintained glamping sites which had everything we needed.
The tent was spacious enough to accommodate us comfortably, and the bed was surprisingly cozy!
An unexpected luxury was the AC that proved to be a godsend during the humid night.
We were also a stone's throw away from the restrooms, making the experience even more convenient.
Despite the rain, we managed to kindle a campfire, roasting marshmallows and sharing stories.
I remember my kids' faces lit up by the fire's glow, their eyes wide with wonder – a memory I cherish.
The park also offers a range of activities.
A highlight for us was the 'Segway Trail Tour.'
After a brief training session, we embarked on a guided trail ride that allowed us to explore the park in a unique and thrilling way.
Lake Louisa State Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, too.
On a leisurely stroll along the fishing pier at Hammond Lake, we spotted numerous alligators basking in the sun.
The sight was a thrilling experience, especially for my little ones.
Lake Louisa State Park is not just about camping and wildlife, though.
It's also one of the few places in the area with a swimmable lake surrounded by breathtaking views.
We didn't have the chance to swim on this visit, but it's on our list for next time.
Go Wine Tasting at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards
There's nothing quite like a relaxing day out in the rolling hills of Central Florida, especially when it involves a trip to the Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards.
The moment you step on the property, you're greeted by fields dotted with rows of grapevines, creating an atmosphere that is both calming and invigorating.
As a frequent visitor, I must say that Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards offers more than just an excellent selection of wines.
The vineyard is a hotspot for local music and food festivals, making it not just a winery but a community hub.
It's not uncommon to see families with picnic blankets sprawled out on the grass, children running around, and people of all ages enjoying the live music.
The wine tours and tastings are nothing short of sensational.
Whether you're a wine connoisseur or just a curious taster, the passionate staff will guide you through a memorable experience.
And did I mention that the tasting and tour are free?
It's truly remarkable.
While some visitors have mixed opinions on the dry wines made from the muscadine grapes, I beg to differ.
The sweet, fruity notes dance on your tongue, offering a unique taste that is distinct to our region.
However, if you prefer the traditional wine flavors, Lakeridge has a variety of options that you're bound to enjoy.
One aspect of the winery that always stands out is the staff.
Catch Performances at The Clermont Performing Arts Center
My Saturdays are usually etched out for some fun and relaxation.
One of my favorite spots to unwind and enjoy some quality performances is the Clermont Performing Arts Center.
The center, with its enormous venue and quality lighting, has been a great addition to our community.
This center has never disappointed me.
From the moment you step in, the lovely entrance sets the tone for a delightful experience.
The parking is ample, so I never have to worry about finding a spot.
The staff are always welcoming.
They once had to deal with a few rude patrons who switched seat numbers, but they handled it professionally and promptly, which I appreciate.
Clermont Performing Arts Center has a lot to offer.
Besides the main auditorium, there are several smaller rooms.
These are perfect for hosting all sorts of events and meetings.
I once attended a book club meeting here, and the ambiance was perfect for stimulating intellectual conversations.
And let me tell you about their program SRV Experience.
It was such a joy to watch!
I am a huge fan of performances with a story, and this one truly delivered.
This was the third venue in Clermont that I have attended, and it will not be my last.
The auditorium is cozy and quaint.
Despite being small, there isn't a single bad seat.
You can see the stage clearly no matter where you sit.
Plus, the drinks are quite reasonable, which is always a bonus.
Immerse in Local History at Clermont Historic Village Museum
You never really know a place until you've walked through its history.
That's exactly what I've done countless times at the Clermont Historic Village Museum.
Each visit is a journey back in time as I stroll among preserved historic structures, each one a testament to different eras.
The old schoolhouse, complete with period-style wooden desks and chalkboards, instantly transports me back to the 1800s.
Then there's the train depot, which stands as a symbol of a bygone era of travel.
There's something truly grounding about touching the same wooden rails that countless people once held, waiting for their trains.
But it's not just buildings, the Clermont Historic Village Museum goes the extra mile to provide an immersive experience.
The two homes on the premises are filled with furniture and decor from the 1800s and later - right down to the lace curtains and polished silverware.
The authenticity of the decor gives me a real sense of how life was lived in those times.
But my personal favorite has to be the WWII-era Quonset hut.
The stark contrast between this and the more traditional structures around it provides a poignant reminder of how times and technology changed over the years.
And let's not forget the people who bring all of this to life.
The staff and guides are always welcoming and knowledgeable, eager to share the rich history of Clermont.
I've lost count of the number of times I've officiated weddings here as well.
There's something special about celebrating love in a place steeped in history - it's like adding a new chapter to the story.
Catch a Ball Game at Hancock Park
You know you've found a gem of a place when it comes to Hancock Park, the heart of outdoor sports in our community.
With some of the finest soccer fields and baseball diamonds in the region, it's a place that we locals frequent often.
The park is always buzzing with activity.
Parking can be a bit limited, particularly on Sundays when there are soccer tournaments.
But if you come in early, you can grab a good spot.
Once you're inside Hancock Park, you will notice the vast expanse of the fields, the gleaming clean bathrooms, and the large seating area.
The bleachers offer a great vantage point to catch all the action on the fields.
Now, don't be surprised if you find a food truck in place of a concession stand and grapple with the prices.
One of the aspects of the park that I appreciate is the diligent staff who work tirelessly to keep the park clean.
The protective nets for foul balls overhead are a thoughtful addition.
Go Paddling at Palatlakaha River Park & Boat Ramp
Ever have one of those days where you just want to escape the daily hustle and bustle and immerse yourself in nature?
Well, that's exactly what you get at Palatlakaha River Park & Boat Ramp.
Just a short drive from my home, I have found my haven of peace and tranquility.
Palatlakaha River Park & Boat Ramp is not just a boat ramp and park but a sanctuary where one can truly appreciate Florida's unique ecosystem.
On my regular visits, I make sure to take a leisurely stroll along the well-maintained circular trail that weaves its way around the park.
This one-mile trail is an educational journey adorned with information boards providing insights into our local environment and the myriad species that call it home.
I'll admit, I am a bit of a kayak enthusiast and the park's stunning and serene river has become my favourite spot to paddle.
The waters are calm and still with virtually no current, making it an easy and enjoyable experience for anyone, regardless of whether they're a seasoned pro or a rookie like I was when I first started.
The ramp is my preferred launch site for my kayak adventures across the Clermont lakes.
It's conveniently easy to access, and there's always plenty of parking available.
Stroll around Historic Downtown Clermont
Every week, I find myself wandering down the quaint streets of Historic Downtown Clermont.
The array of historic houses and buildings paints a picturesque backdrop for the thriving local businesses that line the streets.
Each visit is like walking through a charming snapshot of history mixed with the vibrant pulse of a thriving city.
You know you're in for a treat when you step into the retail shops.
Each one is filled with unique finds, from handcrafted trinkets to fashionable clothing.
And let me tell you, the restaurant scene is outstanding.
There's a delightful diversity of food options nestled in two food hall/plazas, providing a gastronomical journey that's hard to resist.
Community events in the Historic Downtown Clermont are the heart and soul of the area.
It's always great to see familiar faces at these events — even the Mayor makes an appearance!
Food vendors set up stalls, offering a variety of mouth-watering treats, while local artists and craftspeople showcase their talents and products.
And for those who enjoy a leisurely stroll, the local strip is perfect.
You can enjoy a breath of fresh air, grab a coffee, tea, or ice cream, and explore the different food options at your own pace.
Sometimes, the area hosts a farmers market and street vendors, which elevates the charm of the place even more, making it an exciting place to explore.
Go Fruit-Picking at the Showcase of Citrus
There's nothing quite like starting your day with the citrusy scent of orange blossoms wafting in the air.
Just take a stroll down to the Showcase of Citrus, as I did last weekend, and you will see what I mean.
This isn't your typical grove; it's an authentic immersion into Florida's agricultural heritage.
With its vast array of citrus fruits ready for picking, it's a paradise for lovers of everything fresh and natural.
I remember fondly how my hands filled with the ripe fruits of lemons and limes, every piece a tantalizing promise of zesty flavors.
The old-timey country store on the property is a treasure trove of goodies.
I spent a good hour, maybe more, browsing through its collection of honey, jams, and hot sauces.
I even found some unique souvenirs that I couldn't resist buying.
Truly, it's a place where you can take a piece of Florida's charm back home with you.
The showcase doesn't just stop at fruits and gifts, it's also a haven for the little ones.
The playground on site is always a hit with my kids, giving them a break from our usual city life.
And did I mention the small zoo and wildlife ride?
It's a fascinating place for kids and adults alike to learn about local fauna.
But what truly sets Showcase of Citrus apart is their creamsicle.
A must-try, it's a burst of refreshing citrus flavors that take the Florida heat down a notch.
I always make sure to have one before I leave and trust me, you wouldn't want to miss it either.
To top it all, the customer service here is exceptional.
Whether you're a frequent visitor like me or it's your first time, you'll feel warmly welcomed.
Cool Down at Champions Splash Park
Nothing quite beats the joy of witnessing my kids splash around in the cool water jets at Champions Splash Park on a hot summer day.
Nestled right in our local community of Clermont, this park has become our seasonal recreation spot.
As summer rolls in, the park springs to life with its modernly designed water sprays – an absolute delight for children.
Just last year, my youngest took her first steps in the splash pad while my older ones raced each other to the beachfront area.
The park's contrast of a vibrant splash pad for the little ones and a serene beachfront for the older kids is what truly sets it apart.
But Champions Splash Park is not just about the water.
The city of Clermont has done an impressive job in maintaining its cleanliness and beauty.
On one of our visits, we decided to pack a picnic.
To our delight, we found neatly arranged tables and chairs, just waiting for families to create memories around them.
For the sportier ones, the park also boasts a basketball court, which adds to the wide array of activities available.
One of our favorite traditions now is to pack a basketball with us.
This way, after a hearty picnic, a friendly match helps us burn off the extra calories.
A trip to Champions Splash Park isn't complete without swimming.
The water is monitored for safety, and the bathroom facilities are always open.
And remember, parking is free!
Discover the Off-Beaten Path: Florida Scrub-Jay Trail
Have you ever wanted to trade in your city sounds for the thrilling chirps of birds?
That's just what I did when I set out to explore the Florida Scrub-Jay Trail.
Hidden amidst Florida's wild landscape, the Florida Scrub-Jay Trail is your ticket to experiencing nature at its finest.
I started my adventure at Bb Brown's Gardens - synonymous with the Blue Jay trail, it's a charming little nursery tucked away in the backyard of a lakeside cabin.
Although it's not the most meticulously maintained nursery, it's got an earthy charm that only adds to its appeal.
If you're looking to immerse yourself in the flora and fauna, look no further.
However, the real gem lies in the hiking trails.
While they're not your typical stroller-friendly park trails, they're worth every step.
The trails, in all their wilderness, were clear and well-kept with helpful signage.
I was pleasantly surprised to find neatly placed distribution points with thoughtful pamphlets guiding me through the unfamiliar terrain.
My day of exploring wasn’t just limited to the land.
The lake view was absolutely stunning, a beautiful respite among a wide variety of trees.
I was also incredibly lucky to spot various species of birds, marking the highlight of my day.
The cabin, though a little cluttered, has a fascinating backstory according to the management, which they say was a movie set.
I found this added a touch of mystery to my day of exploration.
Take in the Views of Florida from Citrus Tower
When the sun begins to dip below the horizon, there's no better vantage point in Clermont than the top of the Florida Citrus Tower.
One of the city's original attractions, this observation tower was built in 1956 and stands at a staggering 226 feet.
From the deck, you're treated to a breathtaking 360-degree panorama of our slice of the Sunshine State.
You can take in the miles and miles of sprawling orange groves, the glittering lakes, and the bustling city below.
And let me tell you, those sunsets from the tower, they’re absolutely to die for!
Make sure to pack a pair of binoculars to soak up every detail of the bird's-eye view.
When you're done with the heights, head down to the ground floor where you can find a cozy little coffee shop.
It's my go-to place for a quick coffee fix.
Their boba tea, especially the orange-strawberry blend, is the best in the city.
And don't forget to try their muffins, they're simply delicious!
Right next to the cafe, you'll find a citrus-themed gift shop.
Here, you can pick up a memento or two of your visit to the tower.
Plus, it's filled with historic documents that add a nostalgic touch to your adventure.
The Florida Citrus Tower is more than just a tall structure in our sunny state.
It is a part of our local history, a beacon along Highway 27, and a landmark that embodies the essence of Clermont.
Yes, it does get a little warm in there during the summer, but that's just another part of the Florida experience, isn't it?
Journey through Presidential History at the Presidents Hall of Fame
If you're a history buff like me, then one of the best-kept secrets in our city is the Presidents Hall of Fame.
This incredible museum is a tribute to U.S. Presidents and their families, complete with a miniature White House replica that's so accurate, it's like stepping inside the real thing.
From the moment I bought my ticket, I felt like I was on a journey through American history.
The knowledgeable guide, who's been at Presidents Hall of Fame for years, was my personal historian, sharing fascinating facts and anecdotes about past and current presidents.
The exhibits are packed with items that tell the story of our nation's leaders; from photographs and personal artifacts to miniature models and life-like wax figures.
One of the highlights for me was a film on White House pets.
It was both entertaining and surprisingly revealing about the personal lives of the presidents.
And the best part?
My ticket is good for one year of return visits.
That means I can come back anytime to explore the parts I may have missed or simply relive the experience.
Have a Movie Night at Epic Theatres of Clermont
There's something about the smell of popcorn and the anticipation of a new film that makes the cinema experience one of my absolute favorites.
Epic Theatres of Clermont is one such place that offers a unique movie-going experience right in my city.
This regional movie multiplex boasts 16 stadium-style theaters and rocking chair loveseats that provide you with the comfort you seek while enjoying a movie.
My visit last month was rather unexpected.
My family and I decided to see the Barbie movie, and we absolutely loved it.
The staff at Epic Theatres of Clermon was friendly, and the ambiance radiated happiness, which made our experience even more enjoyable.
Other Things To Do Nearby
Hike the West Orange Trail from Killarney Station
When the hustle and bustle of city life gets to be too much, I find a sanctuary in the tranquility that is the West Orange Trail.
It's a beautifully paved, 22-mile path that puts a welcome pause on the usual concrete jungle and, instead, offers a refreshing journey through the heart of Florida's nature and suburban landscapes.
My adventure often begins at Killarney Station.
Tucked away in the quaint city of Winter Garden, Killarney Station is more than just a parking spot; it's a rest stop, a bike shop, and a picnic area all wrapped into one.
With a map in my hand and my bike ready, I set off from here, ready to conquer the trail ahead.
West Orange Trail is a medley of scenes; varying from moss-covered trees casting beautiful shades to stretches that offer glimpses of suburban sprawl.
It's a journey that throws surprises at every bend.
While the ride might bring some interruptions with occasional stops at crossroads, it's all part of the experience, and it's what keeps this trail far from mundane.
One can't help but slow down as they approach Winter Garden, the heart of this trail.
As the trail meanders through this charming city, it offers a selection of cafes, bookstores, food markets, and, if fortune smiles upon you, the bustling Saturday Farmers Market that's a delight to visit.
In the midst of this ride, Killarney Station seems like an oasis.
It's always well-stocked with cold drinks and snacks for a quick refuel before you continue your voyage.
And the restrooms?
Always clean and well-maintained.
The best part of the journey, however, lies in the ride from downtown Winter Garden towards Apopka Station.
The serenity of this stretch, coupled with the soft rustling of leaves and the faint chirping of birds, remains unmatched.
Cycle through Green Mountain Scenic Overlook & Trailhead
There's a certain calmness to the Green Mountain Scenic Overlook & Trailhead that makes you forget you're just a stone's throw away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Ensconced within towering trees, this tranquil retreat offers quiet nature walks, serene picnic spots, and opportunities for mountain biking.
Every time I step into this haven, it feels like escaping into another world.
The gentle rustling of leaves in the wind, the cool breeze brushing past, and the soft chirping of birds are enough to soothe any soul.
The path is well-paved, leading directly to the overlook tower.
Though the view from the observation tower is largely cloaked by the tall trees, it has its own charm.
It's like peeking through nature's curtain, with the foliage offering unexpected glimpses of the stunning landscape beyond.
Mountain biking enthusiasts are in for a treat; the Lime Rock road is an easy ride, and the thrill of navigating the meandering paths is an experience to cherish.
If you share your home with a four-legged pal, bring them to Green Mountain Scenic Overlook & Trailhead.
The shaded path and cool breeze make it a pet-friendly spot, and my dogs always have a blast here.
This place is never too crowded, and you often spot fellow visitors hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a quiet moment on one of the many benches.
The picnic area is a perfect spot to unwind and share a meal amidst nature, and restrooms are conveniently located.
Take Snaps of the Scenery at Tucker Ranch Recreation and Nature Complex
I've always been one for the outdoors, and Tucker Ranch Recreation and Nature Complex has been my go-to for a breath of fresh air.
There's something about the sprawling greenery and tranquil ambiance that makes it a beloved gem right in the heart of Winter Garden.
Just last weekend, I packed up my camera and headed down.
It's a must-visit for any budding photographer, with picture-perfect spots scattered all along the flat walking trail.
I've taken some wonderful shots by the bridge, the small building, and even amidst the tall, swaying grass.
Not to mention, the wildlife photography opportunities are endless – a few of my best shots include vibrant dragonflies and chirpy birds.
The park's playground is one of a kind and a delight for children.
They've done an impressive job maintaining the play area - it's always clean and well-kept.
On a hot summer day, the shaded picnic tables provide the perfect refuge.
Just remember to pack some water if you're planning to hit the trails – some sections can get quite sunny.
The cherry on top?
Tucker Ranch Recreation and Nature Complex is a dog-friendly park, so I often bring my furry friend along.
Having spent countless weekends exploring all the nooks and crannies of Clermont, Florida, I can truly attest to the charm and allure this city offers.
The diverse array of activities and attractions, whether you're a nature enthusiast, wine connoisseur, or history buff, ensures there's something for everyone.
Clermont's appealing blend of history, natural beauty, and vibrant local culture make it a true Floridian gem, and I'm proud to call it my home.