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Rural drive to Lake Minneola
A trip to Lake Minneola offers a pleasant drive where you are never more than twelve miles from the hustle and bustle of US192.
There really are “back lanes” in Florida and they do make a welcome change to the three or four lane highways that you usually travel on. These lanes are single carriageway and they weave around through the citrus groves, through pleasant farmland and past numerous lakes of all shapes and sizes. It’s a “potter” through the countryside, a glimpse at the rural side of American life, nothing spectacular but quiet and pleasant.
To start this rural tour take US27 north from the US192 and then exit left at the third set of lights on SR474 and you immediately “hit the country trail”. After six miles you meet SR33 where you turn right (north) towards Groveland for a couple of miles before bearing off right on to SR561 towards Clermont.
In approximately five miles there will be a sign for Lakeshore Drive but keep left here and we can return to this later.
As you continue on SR561 you will catch tantalising glimpses of Lake Minnehaha. We did not manage to get to the lakeside (you may have more luck than us) but the route is pleasant nonetheless.
When you meet the main highway (Route 50) go across, continuing on SR561 which then circles Lake Minneola. You can do a complete circuit here of the lake, again with tantalising views. Here, however, you can stop and view the lake at a wide bridge which crosses the lake and offers views in two directions. When we saw it the lake was busy with jet skiers and fishermen and also an interesting array of wild birds, such as egrets, herons and cormorant. The cypress trees are growing in the water and wispy “cat’s tails” dangle fairylike from their branches.
From here we retraced our steps to cross again the Route 50, travelling past Lake Minnehaha to then turn left at the sign for Lakeshore Drive. This takes you past more lakes, smaller but still pretty, and will eventually take you into the town of Clermont. However, about three miles along look for Lake Louisa Road (to the right) which takes you initially through a very smart housing development but then opens up into the countryside to follow the shores of Lake Louisa.
Unfortunately, there is no obvious access to Lake Louisa from this road (just those tantalising glimpses again! ). This road rejoins the main highway 27 just north of Lake Louisa State Park (also well worth a visit).
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