If you’re looking for a charming, laid-back vacation spot with plenty of outdoor activities, Hiawassee, Florida might just be the perfect destination. Located in the heart of the Sunshine State, this small town is known for its beautiful lakes, scenic parks, and friendly locals. In this article, we’ll explore everything Hiawassee has to offer, from its top attractions to its best restaurants and accommodations. So sit back, relax, and get ready to fall in love with Hiawassee, Florida. More
Why Visit Hiawassee?
Hiawassee is the quintessential Florida town, with its picturesque scenery, warm weather, and friendly people. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the great outdoors, or soak up some local culture, you’ll find plenty to do in Hiawassee. Here are just a few reasons why you should add this charming town to your travel bucket list:
- Stunning Lakes: Hiawassee is surrounded by beautiful lakes, including Lake Harris, Lake Eustis, and Lake Dora. These lakes offer excellent fishing, boating, and swimming opportunities, as well as scenic views.
- Nature Trails: If you’re a nature lover, you’ll appreciate the many nature trails that wind through Hiawassee’s parks and nature reserves. From the Lake Apopka Wildlife Trail to the Ferndale Preserve, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors.
- Local Culture: Hiawassee is steeped in local history and culture, with a vibrant arts scene and numerous festivals and events throughout the year. Don’t miss the annual Mount Dora Arts Festival or the Tavares Seaplane Base & Marina Splash-In.
- Small-Town Charm: With its quaint downtown area, friendly locals, and laid-back vibe, Hiawassee is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family-friendly vacation, you’ll find it here.
What to See and Do in Hiawassee
Now that you know why Hiawassee is such a special place, let’s take a closer look at some of the top attractions and activities in the area.
Explore the Lakes
As we mentioned earlier, Hiawassee is home to several beautiful lakes that offer a variety of recreational opportunities. Lake Harris, in particular, is a must-visit for fishing enthusiasts, with its abundance of largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish. You can also rent a boat or jet ski and explore the lake at your own pace. For a more laid-back experience, head to the Dora Canal, a narrow waterway that winds through the area’s lush wetlands and is often called “the most beautiful mile in the world.”
Hit the Nature Trails
Hiawassee is home to some of Florida’s most beautiful nature trails, each offering a unique glimpse into the area’s flora and fauna. The Lake Apopka Wildlife Trail, for example, is a 12-mile loop that takes you through a variety of habitats, from marshes to pine forests. You’re likely to spot a variety of birds, including bald eagles, ospreys, and great blue herons. The Ferndale Preserve, on the other hand, is a 200-acre preserve that features a variety of habitats and wildlife, including gopher tortoises and Eastern indigo snakes.
Visit the Local Attractions
Hiawassee and its surrounding areas are home to a variety of attractions that are worth checking out. The Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, for example, is one of Florida’s largest wineries and offers daily tours and tastings. The Mount Dora Historical Society Museum is another must-visit attraction, with its fascinating exhibits on local history and culture. And if you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss the Orlando Science Center, which features hands-on exhibits and interactive displays on everything from space exploration to dinosaurs.
Relax on the Beach
Of course, no Florida vacation would be complete without a visit to the beach. While Hiawassee itself doesn’t have a beach, there are plenty of options within a short drive. The closest beach is New Smyrna Beach, which is just an hour away and offers 13 miles of pristine sand and surf. Daytona Beach and Cocoa Beach are also popular options, each offering a variety of water sports and beachfront activities.
Shop and Dine in Downtown Hiawassee
Downtown Hiawassee is a charming, walkable area filled with boutique shops, art galleries, and excellent restaurants. Be sure to check out the Hiawassee Farmer’s Market, which takes place every Saturday and features fresh produce and handmade crafts from local vendors. For a delicious meal, head to Pisces Rising, a seafood restaurant with stunning views of Lake Dora, or 1921 by Norman Van Aken, which serves up upscale cuisine with a Southern twist.
Where to Stay in Hiawassee
There are plenty of options for accommodations in Hiawassee, from cozy bed and breakfasts to upscale resorts. Here are a few of our top picks:
- Mission Inn Resort & Club: This luxurious resort is situated on 1,100 acres and features two golf courses, four restaurants, and a spa.
- Lakeside Inn: Located in nearby Mount Dora, this historic inn dates back to 1883 and offers charming rooms with lake views.
- Key West Resort on Lake Dora: This boutique hotel is located right on the shores of Lake Dora and offers stylish rooms with balconies and lake views.
- Magnolia Inn Bed & Breakfast: This cozy bed and breakfast is located in downtown Hiawassee and features six beautifully decorated rooms and a gourmet breakfast.
Hiawassee, Florida may not be as well-known as some of the state’s larger cities, but it’s a hidden gem that’s definitely worth exploring. With its stunning lakes, beautiful nature trails, and charming downtown area, Hiawassee offers a unique glimpse into the heart of Florida. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, you’ll find it here. Read Next