October 13, 2017

10 incredibly easy fall road trips from Orlando everyone should do

Competition may be healthy, but spending a day relishing what's awesome about our neighbors is still a whole lot of fun.  So save the couch for the weeknights - these 10 Central Florida cities are full of attractions and restaurants begging to up your weekend. With the fall weather finally upon us, now is the time to get out and explore.

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Clermont
Estimated drive time: 45 minutes
The rolling hills of Clermont haven’t just provided quality cardio for the small town’s surprising number of Olympic athletes--they’ve also provided fertile ground for Florida’s foremost premier winery. Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards grows a plentiful variety of Muscadine grape wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, and Petite Sirah on its 80+ acre orchard. And come October 13-15, it will host 5 top BBQ cooks and live blues music for its BBQ and Blues Festival. 
Photo via lakeridgewinery/Instagram

Clermont

Estimated drive time: 45 minutes
The rolling hills of Clermont haven’t just provided quality cardio for the small town’s surprising number of Olympic athletes--they’ve also provided fertile ground for Florida’s foremost premier winery. Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards grows a plentiful variety of Muscadine grape wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, and Petite Sirah on its 80+ acre orchard. And come October 13-15, it will host 5 top BBQ cooks and live blues music for its BBQ and Blues Festival.

Photo via lakeridgewinery/Instagram
Clermont
Where to eat or drink: For folks who love their coffee but wish it came with more cats (or vice versa), the charming Cat Cafe is sure to make a worthwhile trip. Cats are adoptable. Meanwhile, at The Crooked Spoon you’ll find pub grub for foodies in a classic sports-bar environment. The menu changes depending on the availability of local ingredients. 
Photo via orlandocatcafe

Clermont

Where to eat or drink: For folks who love their coffee but wish it came with more cats (or vice versa), the charming Cat Cafe is sure to make a worthwhile trip. Cats are adoptable. Meanwhile, at The Crooked Spoon you’ll find pub grub for foodies in a classic sports-bar environment. The menu changes depending on the availability of local ingredients.

Photo via orlandocatcafe
Merritt Island
Estimated drive time: 1 hour
The largest island in Florida is home to many wonders - the Kennedy Space Center, 140,000 acres of National Wildlife Refuge, and at least for now, bioluminescent kayaking tours. Give Get Up and Go Kayaking a call, and see the water of Florida’s East coast come alive with blues and greens in every splash. The tour group also does treks out of Rock Springs and Winter Park. 
Photo via getupandgokayaking/Instagram

Merritt Island

Estimated drive time: 1 hour
The largest island in Florida is home to many wonders - the Kennedy Space Center, 140,000 acres of National Wildlife Refuge, and at least for now, bioluminescent kayaking tours. Give Get Up and Go Kayaking a call, and see the water of Florida’s East coast come alive with blues and greens in every splash. The tour group also does treks out of Rock Springs and Winter Park.

Photo via getupandgokayaking/Instagram
Merritt Island
Where to eat or drink: Put that cookie down! Because in Merritt Island, you can do a whole lot better. For under $5, at Fat Donkey Ice Cream and Fine Desserts you can get a variety of creative and tasty treats, including the key lime pie ice cream, ‘butterscotch bombs’ and more. Vegan ice cream also served. Alternatively, try The Fat Snook. As if designed by hip, young, urbanite mermaids, The Fat Snook provides an intimate yet casual dining experience for those seeking high quality seafood fare. Perfect for a romantic evening out, or if you’re just not up to doing the fishing yourself. 
Photo via galmarysia/Instagram

Merritt Island

Where to eat or drink: Put that cookie down! Because in Merritt Island, you can do a whole lot better. For under $5, at Fat Donkey Ice Cream and Fine Desserts you can get a variety of creative and tasty treats, including the key lime pie ice cream, ‘butterscotch bombs’ and more. Vegan ice cream also served. Alternatively, try The Fat Snook. As if designed by hip, young, urbanite mermaids, The Fat Snook provides an intimate yet casual dining experience for those seeking high quality seafood fare. Perfect for a romantic evening out, or if you’re just not up to doing the fishing yourself.

Photo via galmarysia/Instagram
Melbourne
Estimated drive time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
‘The Harbor City’ saddles the beautiful Indian River Lagoon, and offers a number of unique day-trip options. For example: ever try kayaking while spying on hungry giraffes? At Brevard Zoo, you can do just that. But beware - the giraffes might be spying on you too. Other fun activities include rhino encounters, treetop treks, and more. 
Photo via hildabp/Instagram

Melbourne

Estimated drive time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
‘The Harbor City’ saddles the beautiful Indian River Lagoon, and offers a number of unique day-trip options. For example: ever try kayaking while spying on hungry giraffes? At Brevard Zoo, you can do just that. But beware - the giraffes might be spying on you too. Other fun activities include rhino encounters, treetop treks, and more.

Photo via hildabp/Instagram
Melbourne
Where to eat or drink: Djon’s Steak & Lobster House: In the mood for seafood? Disappointed by your microwave’s ability to cook Tortellini Quatre Fromage? Djon’s Steak & Lobster House has got you covered. Make sure to bring your best outfit to this elegant restaurant. Meanwhile, at The Mansion you can dress a little more relaxed. Made from a 1905 Central Florida mansion, this restaurant and winery serves seafood and steak, but also taco salad and ice cream sandwiches. Its view of the Intracoastal Waterway is great on any sunny day. 
Photo via thebigmansion.com

Melbourne

Where to eat or drink: Djon’s Steak & Lobster House: In the mood for seafood? Disappointed by your microwave’s ability to cook Tortellini Quatre Fromage? Djon’s Steak & Lobster House has got you covered. Make sure to bring your best outfit to this elegant restaurant. Meanwhile, at The Mansion you can dress a little more relaxed. Made from a 1905 Central Florida mansion, this restaurant and winery serves seafood and steak, but also taco salad and ice cream sandwiches. Its view of the Intracoastal Waterway is great on any sunny day.

Photo via thebigmansion.com
Lake Wales
Estimated drive time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Sitting in the center of the Florida Penninnsula, where the Orange groves still actually grow, is the Lake Wales community. And tucked away in Lake Wales is Bok Tower Gardens, a tower standing since 1929 with a 60-bell carillon whose chiming can be heard every day at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Inside there are eight levels full of history on how the tower came to be and a room where bells can be viewed, as well as access to the top. The tower is surrounded by beautiful gardens which house endangered plants, pollinating plants and gorgeous landscapes. There are also two trails which are going to leave you wanting to come back.
Photo via diaryofarmin/Instagram

Lake Wales

Estimated drive time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Sitting in the center of the Florida Penninnsula, where the Orange groves still actually grow, is the Lake Wales community. And tucked away in Lake Wales is Bok Tower Gardens, a tower standing since 1929 with a 60-bell carillon whose chiming can be heard every day at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Inside there are eight levels full of history on how the tower came to be and a room where bells can be viewed, as well as access to the top. The tower is surrounded by beautiful gardens which house endangered plants, pollinating plants and gorgeous landscapes. There are also two trails which are going to leave you wanting to come back.

Photo via diaryofarmin/Instagram
Lake Wales
Where to eat or drink: The Crazy Fish Bar & Grill was formerly a biker bar, but at this now casual and friendly spot you can enjoy platefuls of tasty, Florida seafood favorites. Crab Cakes, Mahi Mahi, Sea Scallops - they’re all here, and at prices that won’t sink your boat. If it’s economic pricing you’re looking for, though, be sure to visit The Egg House: All American food fare with an emphasis on breakfast favorites and eggs. This friendly diner has a drive through, as well as outdoor seating. All menu items are under $10. Be sure to get there before closing time at 2:30. 
Photo via ashleymandy/Instagram

Lake Wales

Where to eat or drink: The Crazy Fish Bar & Grill was formerly a biker bar, but at this now casual and friendly spot you can enjoy platefuls of tasty, Florida seafood favorites. Crab Cakes, Mahi Mahi, Sea Scallops - they’re all here, and at prices that won’t sink your boat. If it’s economic pricing you’re looking for, though, be sure to visit The Egg House: All American food fare with an emphasis on breakfast favorites and eggs. This friendly diner has a drive through, as well as outdoor seating. All menu items are under $10. Be sure to get there before closing time at 2:30.

Photo via ashleymandy/Instagram
Orange City
Estimated drive time: 1 hour
The Orange Trees that were once this city’s namesake are mostly gone, but in Orange City there’s still plenty left to enjoy. It’s small town vibe is sure to make for a truly spooky Oct. 28 Block Party, and with the weather cooling, you can be sure to spot more manatees at Blue Spring State Park. Blue Spring is the largest spring on the St. Johns River, and in the winter it is home to over 400 manatees.
Photo via _maria_mante/Instagram

Orange City

Estimated drive time: 1 hour
The Orange Trees that were once this city’s namesake are mostly gone, but in Orange City there’s still plenty left to enjoy. It’s small town vibe is sure to make for a truly spooky Oct. 28 Block Party, and with the weather cooling, you can be sure to spot more manatees at Blue Spring State Park. Blue Spring is the largest spring on the St. Johns River, and in the winter it is home to over 400 manatees.

Photo via _maria_mante/Instagram
Orange City
Where to eat or drink: Founded in 2002, Mi Tierra Authentic Mexican Restaurant was the next step in the decades-long career of Executive Chef Javier Chino. It’s a place where you can get big, tasty servings of homestyle Mexican cuisine, and it’s particularly great after a dip in the chilly Blue Spring. Also try Lelo’s Barbeque: this counter-serve restaurant comes with no bells or whistles - just delicious Puerto Rican food at a very fair price. Outdoor seating available.
Photo via Mi Tierra Authentic Mexican Restaurant/Facebook

Orange City

Where to eat or drink: Founded in 2002, Mi Tierra Authentic Mexican Restaurant was the next step in the decades-long career of Executive Chef Javier Chino. It’s a place where you can get big, tasty servings of homestyle Mexican cuisine, and it’s particularly great after a dip in the chilly Blue Spring. Also try Lelo’s Barbeque: this counter-serve restaurant comes with no bells or whistles - just delicious Puerto Rican food at a very fair price. Outdoor seating available.

Photo via Mi Tierra Authentic Mexican Restaurant/Facebook