Florida Guide > Places to Visit
If you want a bit of a change from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks, and tourist areas, head for St Cloud, Kissimmee’s quiet, traditional next door neighbour. It is well worth a visit for a half day or so, to enjoy its lakeside charm and facilities.
Head east along 192 (Irlo Bronson Highway). Once you have passed the junction with Orange Blossom Trail it is a little over 9 miles to St Cloud. You will know when you are getting near, as there is a large water tower on your right.
After passing the water tower there is a Memorial Park with Military vehicles on your right - worth a visit if you are interested in that. If not, follow the Historic Downtown signs and turn left off 192 onto the main street (New York Ave).
Towards the top end of Main Street, there are a number of charming traditional shops, including Dave Askew Jewellers. Dave is a traditional jeweller who works from the shop. He will repair, restore, reset, redesign any of your jewellery at a reasonable cost, and will design new pieces from scratch! And they are always happy to clean your jewellery for you at no cost! We have always found it a pleasure to shop there.
As well as some interesting boutiques, there is Hunter’s Hotel - which looks like it has come straight from a 1930’s film. I believe it is being restored at this time - hope they don’t destroy the olde worlde charm!
There used to be a delightful teashop next to Hunter’s, but it has now closed and is reopening this month in Kissimmee on Broadway in the traditional downtown area. Diane’s Tea Shop is definitely worth a trip - full of curios and delicious cakes.
Back to St Cloud, at the top of New York Ave is a very elaborate City Hall, Turn right in front of it, then immediately left, and the road will lead you to the lake shore at E Lakeshore Blvd and Lakefront Park. This is East Lake Tohopekaliga, and it is beautiful. Turn right along the lakeshore road and it will take you to the man-made beach where the kids can play, there is a splash pad play area with a water cannon to enhance the children’s enjoyment. There are also picnic tables, two jetties and a marina to explore.
If you want lunch or dinner, try Crabby Bill’s right on the lake shore overlooking the lake and the Marina. This is one of our favourite fish restaurants, not posh but homely, and serving the best fish we have tasted. Their chef really knows how to cook fish. Try the gator bites as a starter, and the grilled Mahi Mahi as a main - delicious. Finish up with amazing Key Lime Pie. There is a lot going on at Crabby Bill’s in the evenings, from painting sessions to live music!
Head home by taking the lake shore road heading west. You will pass some gorgeous villas with spectacular lake views, if you are into House Envy, this is the route for you! Follow that road right round to Fortune Road which will bring you back to the 192 near the Silver Spurs Rodeo arena. Turn right onto 192 and drive back to Kissimmee.
St Cloud, traditional, quiet and charming is certainly worth a visit.
Author: Stephen and Wendy Downs
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