When people hear Florida, they think “Disneyland!” However, there are other things to do in Florida besides feed one of the most wealthy corporations in the world. There are small towns where life moves a little bit slower, but at the same time doesn’t take you outside of a day’s trip away to do some really cool stuff and see some fantastic places. Eustis, Florida is one such place – I happen to have a dear friend who lives down there and graciously provided me with a place to stay. Here are a few of the things we did during my visit that I highly recommend.
Only a little over an hour away is one of the most famous beaches in the U.S. We happened to go in December, and even though it was a little chilly, there were no crowds (I imagine that’s the exact opposite during the spring break). The waves were a ton of fun to jump through and if you’re into racing, the Daytona International Speedway isn’t far away. There’s a small boardwalk with typical (but delicious) boardwalk-style food that just all around makes this a wonderful day trip.
Again only about an hour outside of Eustis, the Kennedy Space Center is fun for space enthusiasts and tourists alike. You’ll learn boatloads about the galaxy and the Earth’s space history here with interactive exhibits, IMAX films, and daily chats with real astronauts. Be sure to get there early if you want to take your time on everything! There’s so much to see, read, and experience that we ended up staying until closing time.
3. Mount Dora
Jokingly advertised with “I climbed Mount Dora! 184’ or 2,208 inches” t-shirts, this small town about half an hour from Eustis (depending on traffic) has a lot going on. There’s plenty of shops to spend the day in including a tea shop, book/comic store, ice cream store, and multiple art shops. After being all shopped out, the perfect end to the day is taking a boat tour during sunset across the Dora Canal. When we went, we saw beautiful cypress trees covered in Spanish moss, bald eagles, and alligators! Definitely bring your camera for this one.
In general, there are multiple thrift and antique stores in the area, so if this is something you enjoy doing (we do) then browse! I’ve attached a link to Yelp! with the number to provide you with a list of thrift stores to get started.
5. Local Food
Now, I’m not sure how many people have eaten alligator, but if you’re interested in doing so head over to Gator’s Dockside and get some gator bites – I promise they’re good! They have specials every day of the week, including all-you-can-eat boneless wings and fries on Wednesday… you’re welcome.
These are just some of the things my friend and I did during my 5 day stay that I recommend if you’re in the area. There’s always the typical Florida places to visit, but the Eustis area isn’t as crazy bustling.