Florida Guide > Other Activities
Winter Park Orlando
Winter Park is an up-market area of Orlando and if you fancy a change of mood from the theme parks, are in the market for some serious, quality shopping, or if you just enjoy window shopping, or if you enjoy visiting museums and parks, then a visit to Winter Park is a good way to spend a day.
It is well sign posted from the I4 and once you get there there is plenty of parking with signs that say it is free for 4 hours. The main street has a range of high quality shops, wine bars and coffee shops and the local people there tend to be very stylishly dressed.
After a little browse and a coffee we made our way down to the Scenic Boat Tour dock and booked ourselves on the next cruise. They leave on the hour every hour from 10 o’clock to 4 o’clock and they use as many boats as are needed for the number of people that turn up. It costs $10 per adult and $5 for a child.
The cruise takes you to 3 lakes and these are connected by narrow but picturesque canals. We were there in February and all the azaleas and many other plants were in bloom making the canals very attractive. The guide identifies the more unusual plants and flowers for you.
It seems that from the 1920’s onwards everyone who was anyone in American business had a winter residence in Winter Park where they could enjoy some winter warmth away from their industrial bases. The variety and quality of the architecture of the lakeside homes is amazing and the gardens are still a major feature. Sportsmen and entertainment personalities now seem to own many of the larger properties. All the larger properties have their own boat houses with facilities for lifting their boats out of the water.
The tour takes in Rollins College, Kraft Azalea Gardens, Isle of Scicily, tropical bird, plants, flowers and magnificent mansions. This area has been called “the Venice of America. The canals were originally built to allow wood to be transported but they now provide a wonderful boating and tourist attraction.
On the way back you can stop off at The Mall at Millenia, which although it is one of the more upmarket Malls still offers cheaper prices than Winter Park. Of course this is also an excuse for another visit to the Cheesecake Factory just at the main entrance to the Mall.
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