If you're visiting Central Florida and would like to explore the region, here are a few places that are well worth driving "Off the Beaten Path":
- Forever Florida, located on a 4,700-acre cattle ranch and nature preserve, offers three types of zip-line safaris. Read this story for details.
- Take a walking tour of Main Street DeLand's famous town murals.
- Explore DeLeon Springs State Park in DeLand through a 50-minute eco/history boat tour that departs every hour from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Go birding at the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, also in DeLand, and rent a paddleboat or hike the four-mile Wild Persimmon Trail.
- Drive to the Ocala forest for a horseback ride at the Florida Carriage Museum, nestled in 400 bucolic acres in Florida’s horse country. You can also tour the museum's 160 carriages including elaborate royal models. Details here.
- Take a glass bottom boat tour at Silver Springs State Park, near Ocala.
- Check out the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park to see the largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany artwork in the world. Details in this story.
- Tour the twelve Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in Lakeland's Florida Southern College campus. Here's an interesting story about their recent restoration.
- Take a Segway tour of Mt. Dora, which begins below sea level and soars up a large (Florida-style!) hill. Afterward, go antiquing!
- Drive through the Ridge Scenic Byway, a 38.7-mile route on SR 17 that travels through many historic communities.
- Investigate Spook Hill and see if your car rolls backward up the hill. Details here.
- Visit Lake Wales, meandering through Bok Tower Gardens while the 60-bell carillon gives one of its twice-daily concerts. Then enjoy a gourmet meal at Chalet Suzanne.
If you can't fit all this into one trip, I recommend that you come back again soon to explore more of Central Florida's many charms!