Florida Guide > Places to Visit
A trip worth doing if you have a few days to spare
If you can drag yourself and the family away from lazing by the pool and visiting the theme parks, shops and activities that Orlando has to offer then taking a few days to travel north of Orlando is well worth the effort.
Start by heading north towards Mt Dora and spend a few hours in this quaint town. The main street is full of interesting little shops and there is a coffee shop on the way to the lake that sells chocolate chips cookies baked on the premises that are to die for. Unfortunately we didn’t spend as long here as we would have liked so this is one place that we have definitely decided to visit again in the future.
If you like wandering around markets then Rennigers Florida Twin Markets near Mt Dora on US HWY 441 is a must. It’s a shopper’s paradise with 2 markets available in one location. The market is not only big but it is argued that is the largest of its kind in the South East. The flea and farmers market is open every weekend from 8 am to 4pm and the antique centre is open every weekend from 9am to 5pm. Antique fairs are held every 3rd weekend in the month (except December).
From the market continue heading north through Ocala National Forest before heading east to St Augustine, the oldest town in the USA. Plan on staying a couple of nights in St Augustine as there is plenty to see and do. Leave the car at your hotel and buy a 2 or 3 day ticket for the tram or trolley bus. Tours are operated around the town and you can hop on and off the tram whenever you wish. There are plenty of historic sites if you are interested in USA history, if not, and shopping is your interest you will not be disappointed. There are a good variety of interesting shops which offer excellent value for money. Then of course there is the beach if you feel the need to laze and sap up the sun. St Augustine also offers a good range of restaurants and bars with some bars having nightly entertainment. The choice you have to make is whether to stay in the old town or near the beach. We decided to stay in the old town and felt we had made the right choice. A bus runs fairly regularly from the old town to the beach area if you don’t want to take the car.
On leaving St Augustine travel down the coast and the choice is yours as to where you stop off to visit. As we had visited Daytona Beach before, we opted for Cocoa Beach for a place to spend an afternoon. Call in one of the beach side restaurants for your lunch and you can sit in a perfect location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. If by now you are having withdrawal symptoms through lack of retail therapy why not visit Cocoa Beach’s famous Ron Jon Surf Shop. Then back to Orlando to complete your holiday.
The only complaint that we got from my teenage daughter and niece was the fact that they had to share hotel rooms with their parents. They were eager to return to the villa to the freedom and home comforts of their own bedroom.
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