Free and Fun Things to do in Mount Dora Florida – Lighthouse, Lake, Shops, Restaurants, and Events


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There’s a variety of free and fun things to do in Mount Dora, Florida. Located just a half hour away from Orlando, the lakeside dwelling is best known for its small-town charm, unique dining options, quirky shops, abundant wildlife, parks, waterfront activities, and its iconic lighthouse. Mount Dora is also home to the oldest continuously operating hotel in the state of Florida–the Lakeside Inn. The town loves to celebrate and hosts so many monthly events that it earned itself the nickname “Festival City.” Whether you’re visiting just for a day trip or planning to stay a while, you surely won’t run out of fun things to do in Mount Dora, Florida. (And most of them are free!)

 

Things to Do in Mount Dora, Florida

Things to Do in Mount Dora Florida - A Day Trip From Disney World and Orlando

Reasons to Visit Mount Dora, FL – A Lesser Known & Unique Day Trip from Orlando or Disney World

Mount Dora’s close proximity to Orlando makes it the perfect spot to visit on a day trip from Disney World or Universal Studios. If you’re looking to take a break from visiting theme parks or are just wanting to escape the large crowds, it’s one of the easiest day trips you can plan. Since Mount Dora is one of the lesser-known towns in Florida, you’ll never have to worry about it being overpopulated. The charming, lakeside town is small, quiet, and never overcrowded–but still full of fun. There’s also plenty of activities for adults as well as kids. Here’s our detailed list to the best things to do in Mount Dora, Florida:

Lake Dora – the Most Popular Attraction in Mount Dora, FL

Things to Do in Mount Dora Florida | Things to Do in Mount Dora FL - Lake Dora

**Free Attraction in Mount Dora, FL**

Covering 4,502 acres of water, Lake Dora stretches nearly 6 miles long and 3/4 of a mile wide. Since Mount Dora is a charming but rather small town, many of its top activities and attractions revolve around the lake in one form or another. A focal point of the town, Lake Dora’s beauty, wildlife, and iconic presence certainly can’t be missed!

Mount Dora Lighthouse Park | Grantham Pointe Park on Lake Dora

Things to Do in Mount Dora Florida - Visit Mount Dora Lighthouse Park | Grantham Pointe Park on Lake Dora

Things to Do in Mount Dora FL - Mount Dora Lighthouse Park | Grantham Pointe Park on Lake Dora

**Free Attraction in Mount Dora, FL**

The Mount Dora Lighthouse (officially named Snell’s Lighthouse, but no one ever calls it that) is one of only 3 freshwater lighthouses in the state of Florida. It’s located at the Port of Mount Dora in Grantham Pointe Park, but you’ll more commonly hear it referenced by its simple nickname “Lighthouse Park.” The Mount Dora Lighthouse is perhaps the most beloved and famous attraction in the entire town. It’s certainly my favorite thing to see (and the entire reason why I planned a trip to this lesser-known town in the first place). There’s something about the candy-striped, red and white colors, when offset by the pretty blues of the lake, that makes you feel right at home. It’s also a real, functioning lighthouse! Its unusual presence on a lake instead of ocean fools many into assuming that the Mount Dora Lighthouse is purely decorational, but it’s actually officially registered as an inland aid to navigation, and it uses its 750-watt photocell-powered light to help boaters navigate Lake Dora after dusk.

Simpson Cove Docks

Things to Do in Mount Dora Florida - The Simpson Cove Docks | Things to Do in Mount Dora FL
The Simpson Cove Docks
Mount Dora Lighthouse as seen from the end of the Simpson Cove Docks on Lake Dora
This photo was taken from the end of the Simpson Cove Docks

**Free Attraction in Mount Dora, FL**

The Simpson Cove Docks were built to provide public boating access to Lake Dora, but they’re also an incredibly popular spot for fishing and bird-watching. The lighthouse looks especially pretty from the docks–if you walk out to the end of them, you’re in the perfect spot to snap an up-close photo of the lighthouse framed between the trees with the lake water filling the foreground.

Palm Island Park

Things to Do in Mount Dora Florida - Palm Island Park on Lake Dora

**Free Attraction in Mount Dora, FL**

The lakeside, 8-acre Palm Island Park contains a 420-foot wooden, raised boardwalk that extends out over Lake Dora, providing an excellent means to spot wildlife in the area. It’s one of the best ways to get up-close-views of alligators as well as a popular place for bird-watching. Once you’ve reached Palm Island, you can head off the boardwalk to explore additional footpaths and nature trails before ultimately hopping back onto it to continue the full route.

“Sit Awhile in Mount Dora” in a Giant-Sized Chair

Things to Do in Mount Dora Florida - Sit Awhile in Mount Dora on a Giant Sized Chair

Things to Do in Mount Dora FL - Sit in a Giant Sized Chair Overlooking Lake Dora

**Free Attraction in Mount Dora, FL**

Directly in front of the Simpson Cove Docks, there’s a ridiculously oversized chair that beckons to passersby “Come Sit Awhile in Mount Dora” in large blue letters inscribed upon its back. It’s the perfect spot for giants with big bottoms, exhausted ogres, or maybe just a couple humans who enjoy a good laugh and a silly selfie or two.

Meet Old Joe

Things to Do in Mount Dora Florida - Meet Old Joe the Alligator on Lake Dora in Grantham Pointe Park
Dragon braving the jaws of Old Joe

**Free Attraction in Mount Dora, FL**

Old Joe was an alligator who was regularly spotted cruising the waters of Lake Dora at the turn of the 19th century.  The captains of the paddle wheel boats regarded him as “the largest, fiercest, and most respected alligator on the lake.” Joe’s no longer alive today, but his descendants still populate the lake, and a statue made in honor of Joe has become a favorite photo spot for many visitors, especially those with young kids.

Eat Gelato from Mount Dora Confectionary

Things to Do in Mount Dora FL - Gelato from Mount Dora Confectionary
My cheesecake-flavored gelato from Mount Dora Confectionary

I love Mount Dora Confectionary because they have unique and crazy gelato flavors such as Nutella, Tiramisu,”C” is for Cookie Monster, and Cheesecake!

Barrel of Books and Games

Barrel of Books and Games Mount Dora FL Free Things to Do
Barrel of Books and Games in Mount Dora, FL
Art Painting on the Outside of Barrel of Books and Games in Mount Dora FL
A Close-Up View of a Few of the Books on the Building Exterior of Barrel of Books and Games

**Free Attraction in Mount Dora, FL**

I knew I’d adore this cute and quirky, independent book shop as soon as I saw the row of painted books adorning the building’s exterior. Barrel of Books and Games also runs a free, monthly book club (where they even fill your tummy with yummy snacks and wine for free as well). No reservation is needed, and everyone is welcome!

Modernism Museum Shoppe

Things to Do in Mount Dora FL - Modernism Museum Shoppe

**Free Attraction in Mount Dora, FL**

This art museum and its corresponding gift shop celebrate artists who have made an impact in the modern world of design. In the shop, you’ll find unique merchandise, art, and one-of-a-kind gifts inspired by the collections inside the museum. Even if you don’t plan to purchase anything, it’s a fun spot to explore, browse, and marvel at all the treasures found inside.

See the Scenic Boat Docks or Go on a Mount Dora Boat Tour

Mount Dora Boat Tour and Mount Dora Scenic Docks in Mount Dora Florida - Fun Things To Do

A variety of different boat tours are offered in Mount Dora to places like Alligator Cove, Boathouse Row, the Mount Dora Lighthouse, and the Historic Lakeside Inn. There are Shoreline Tours, Lakefront Tours, a Dora Canal Tour, and even a Sunset Dinner Cruise. You’ll have the opportunity to see alligators, snakes, turtles, otters, large birds, and possibly even eagles nests.

**The Boat Docks are a Free Attraction in Mount Dora, FL, but the Boat Tours Require an Additional Fee**


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Jillian Michelle
FAIRY DRAGON MOTHER at Adventure Dragon. Artist. Writer. Dreamer. Adventurer. I still believe kindness can change the world. I just want to inspire.

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