Part of the Florida For Grown Ups Blog.
If you’re in the Orlando area, find yourself growing tired of the tourist spots and fancy a lazy meander in an up-market part of town, then look no further than Winter Park!
Less than 20 minutes North of International Drive by car, Winter Park is that welcomed break you have been seeking – away from the hustle, bustle and mouse ears.
Park Avenue is the heart of Winter Park, so set your sat nav to take you there. Parking is free and there’s plenty of it. This is a an upscale boutique shopping district, complete with classy restaurants, cosy cafes, posh dentistry and independent stores selling clothes, candy, ice cream, wine and gifts.
There’s also that old-fashioned charm you don’t find all that often in Orlando. You can sit down and have your shoes polished in the street or jump aboard a bicycle made for two (or three!) – and why not? – there are plenty of parks and neighbourhoods to explore.
If Winter Park is famous for anything, it’s the Scenic Boat Tour. Believe it or not, this is the longest serving attraction in the entire state of Florida, having established itself way back in 1938! The Scenic Boat Tour can be found at the East end of Morse Avenue – less than a 10 minute walk from Park Ave. The signs will guide you easily.
For just 14 bucks, you can take an hour long guided cruise through 12 miles of tranquil lake. Trust me, on the hottest of Florida days, you can’t beat the breeze from the water! Remember to put on your sun cream!
Not only will you catch a glimpse of sweeping cypress trees, herons, sea snakes, paddle-boarders and water skiers, but most impressively, you will see the millionaire mansions that overlook the lakes.
You will also go past Rollins College, with its private beach and tennis courts, wishing this was where you’d gone to school when you were younger (oh how the other half live!).
Check out my short video taken on the Scenic Boat Tour….
If shopping, eating, drinking and boating is not your thing, Winter Park also has soccer and softball fields (should you wish to go and watch a game or perhaps partake yourself), a golf course and a Tiffany Morse Museum for the art and antique lovers amongst you.
The SunRail Station is also situated in the centre. Here you can catch a train to almost anywhere in Florida. Maybe you want to give the car a rest and let the train take the strain for a while?
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can also pick up an Amtrak train from the station and venture further afield. Amtrak serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states; you can even take a ‘ski-train’ to Denver, should the fancy take you – and you have time on your side.