9:00 AM – Coffee and Breakfast at Axum Coffee (Winter Garden) – Start your day off right by checking out Axum Coffee, right in the heart of downtown Winter Garden.
9:30 AM – Explore Downtown Winter Garden – This cozy, southern town is filled with wonderful shops and eateries. As you sip your coffee, be on the lookout for some good Instagram moments around town.
10:30 AM – The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive (Apopka) – Note: this is only open between 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but it is a must see if you’re here on one of these days. Believe it or not, you can drive your car on a road that passes through the wetlands – a Floridian safari! Be prepared to see plenty of alligators, birds and other wildlife.
12:00 PM – Check out the city of Mt. Dora – Located a little north of Lake Apopka sits the town of Mt. Dora, a town known for the various events and festivals it holds each year. Like Winter Garden, the historic downtown area is well worth exploring. Make sure you grab a bite to eat at Ceviche mix, and if you have a sweet tooth head over to Mount Dora Confectionary.
2:00 PM – Stop by the Green Mountain Scenic Overlook and Trailhead (Ferndale) – Park and check out this amazing observation deck that overlooks the treetops from the west side of Lake Apopka. If you have some time, hike some of the trail that extends into the Floridian wilderness.
3:00 PM – Grab a beer at the Suncreek Brewery (Clermont) – You’ve had a successful day so far, I think it’s time for a beer! Head on over to Suncreek where you can sit outside or inside with a nice craft brew. If you have some time, check out the town of Clermont and make the walk down to the edge of Lake Minneola, which lies just west of Lake Apopka.
5:00 PM – Oakland Nature Preserve (Oakland) – This is the epitome of a hidden gem, and one of my favorite places around the lake. Explore various trails, learning about the wildlife in the area as you go. One of the trails takes you on a boardwalk to the southern shore of Lake Apopka. The last time I went I saw gators, a racoon, gopher tortoises and many different bird species.
7:00 PM – Dinner at Fat Mike’s (Winter Garden) – Grab some tasty hot chicken at Fat Mike’s! The food is fresh and the chicken is really good. If you decide to get Crazy Al’s chicken, make sure you have some water or sweet tea handy.
8:00 PM – One More Beer at the Crooked Can Brewing Company (Winter Garden) – Cap your day off with one final craft beer at the Crooked Can, which sits on the end of Plant Street Market. After grabbing your beer, head to the outdoor seating area where you’ll see families enjoying food from the market. If you like dogs, you’re in luck as this is a very dog friendly area. Enjoy your beverage and reflect on your day of exploring Lake Apopka and some of the surrounding communities.
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