Top Destinations in Central Florida

When you live in Central Florida, attractions that people travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to see are right in your backyard. You don't have to travel far at all to see a certain famous mouse or to meet a few fairy tale princesses.     

When you live in Central Florida, you also know that there's more to do than visit amusement parks. You also know that you don't have to travel far to find something fun and exciting to do. As the weather starts to cool off and the days become shorter, plan a day trip or two to visit some of Central Florida's top destinations. Whether you want to go hiking, see nature or marvel at gardens, you're sure to find something to do.   

Southern Hill Farms

Fall means pumpkin season and what better way to celebrate than to bring home a gourd you've picked out yourself?     

Southern Hill Farms holds an annual Fall Festival throughout the month of October. Located in Clermont, the farm has plenty of activities planned for the fall, including rides on a cotton harvester, face painting, and a petting zoo. There's also a pumpkin barn, where you can choose the perfect pumpkin for your home, as well as dried corn husks and decorative gourds.   

If you get hungry while visiting the farm, food trucks will be on-site during the fall festival and the Southern Hill Eatery will be open as well.

Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park

The Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park gives you the chance to explore one of the rarer habitats in the state. The preserve is home to numerous rare plant species, such as the pygmy fringe tree and the scrub morning glory. It's open year-round from 8 a.m. until sunset. Primitive campsites are available for $5 per night if you're interested in turning a day trip into an overnight trip.   

If you're interested in hiking and aren't afraid to rough it, the preserve offers 6 miles of hiking trails. There are also 8 miles of equestrian trails. Before setting out on a hike, remember safety first. Pack sunscreen, water, snacks and insect repellent. Let someone know where you're going and bring along a fully-charged phone, as well as a paper map and compass.

Harry P. Leu Gardens

Summer might be winding down, but the blooms are still going strong at Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando. The garden is home to the largest formal rose garden in the state, as well as a butterfly garden and tropical garden. If you visit in the fall, you'll get to see roses, violets, floss silk tree, and hibiscus all in bloom.     

Usually, the garden charges admission, which is $10 for adults and $5 for children between the ages of 4 and 17. If you visit on the first Monday of the month in October or November, admission is free.

Sunsets at Pier 60

Every day, from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m., Pier 60 celebrates sunsets with the Sunsets at Pier 60 Daily Festival in Clearwater.  Head to the daily festival to see live street performers, to browse the handiwork of local artisans and to watch the beautiful sunset.      

On the weekends, you can hang around the pier after the sun sets to catch a movie. Sunset Cinema screens all-ages friendly films on Friday and Saturday evenings, starting at dusk. Bring your own chair or blanket to watch the film in comfort. Snacks are available on site.

Silver Springs State Park

One of Florida's first tourist attractions, Silver Springs State Park in Ocala has been open to visitors since 1870. A top attraction at the park then and now is the glass bottom boat tour.     

Glass bottom boat tours are available daily and run for about 30 minutes. If you want to spend more time on the boat, learning more about the history of the Springs and its wildlife, there's an extended version that lasts for 90 minutes.   

If you're rather head out on the water on your own, kayaks and canoes are available for rent. You can also take a guided tour on a kayak to see the Springs up close.     

Silver Springs is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. until sunset all year long.    

School might be back in session and summer hours might be over at your office. But Central Florida still has plenty of things for you to do and see throughout the Fall.

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Sources:  

1. Southern Hill Farms, https://southernhillfarms.com

2. Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park, https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/allen-david-broussard-catfish-creek-preserve-state-park

3. Harry P. Leu Gardens, https://www.leugardens.org/the-gardens

4. Sunsets at Pier 60, https://www.sunsetsatpier60.com

5. Silver Springs State Park, http://www.silversprings.com

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