If you’ve been there, done that, in central Florida, then it is time to venture away from the big theme parks and head for the country. If you wander just west of Orlando, you will find tons of things to do in Clermont. Never heard of it? That’s the best part: no crowds! Even if you just take one day or an afternoon to explore here, you will enjoy the break from the hustle and bustle.
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Free things to do in Clermont this weekend: Got wine?
Do you like wine? Silly question. Head over to Lakeridge Winery where every weekend is a special event. Upon arriving, walk through the winery for some free wine samples. Yes, you heard me, FREE.
You will be asked for ID at the entrance and given a little sampling cup. Someone from the winery will be at each station to pour you a small sample. Banners are posted nearby with information about each wine. These wines are made with Muscadine grapes which are a bit sweet, but they have a few drier California wines for sampling as well.
After that, browse the shop. In addition to wine and wine merchandise, there are recipes, jams, and sauces available to buy. Just browse for now. Make purchases later so you don’t have to carry them around. Then head upstairs.
Take a tour
Upstairs you can watch a short film about the winery and go on a brief self guided tour. Don’t be fooled. The movie takes place in what looks like a chapel. If you want to skip the film, pass through and enter the door at the back. Once you complete your tour, you can try more samples.
Don’t miss the live music out back. While no outside food or beverages are allowed, you can bring lawn chairs. The picnic tables are first come, first serve, and fill up fast. When you do get hungry, there is an outdoor kitchen with food available for purchase. You can also buy soft drinks, and, of course, wine.
If you buy wine to bring home, make sure you are storing your wine properly. You don’t want to serve it and find out it tastes skunky because of improper care. How embarrassing!
Unusual Clermont tourist attractions
Don’t miss the view from the Florida Citrus Tower
Located on route 27 the citrus tower is a must see. And it won’t take long. The admission fee is $11, but the view is worth it. In the lobby you can watch a short film about the tower. Then take the elevator up to the top. Signs point out what you are viewing in each direction. This is a great photo op.
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How to see Mt. Rushmore in Florida: The President’s Hall of Fame
This is within walking distance of the citrus tower. Outside you will see a replica of Mount Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial, and a large bison. Inside, this replica White House holds a miniature scene displaying the building of the real White House. Memorabilia through the ages hang on the wall and in display cases. Wax figures depict scenes from history.
This attraction is open daily from 10am-4pm, except on Sundays, when it opens at noon. Unfortunately, we got here 10 minutes after it closed so we missed out on the inside. However, I later found a YouTube video of the inside. I can’t wait to check out the real thing on my next visit.
Play with cats at the Orlando Cat Cafe
We found this hidden gem in Clermont Fl, by mistake. We planned to eat dinner in the British pub in Cagan’s Crossing, but we were really early. So, we decided to walk around the quaint plaza. That’s when we spotted the Orlando Cat Cafe. It is located next to a coffee shop which is also the entrance to the cat cafe.
We inquired from the barista who told us the cat cafe cost $10 per person which allows you to hang out and interact with the cats for an hour. While waiting our turn, we ordered some coffees.
The cat cafe partners with SPCA Florida and is home to rescued cats and kittens. The cute fuzzballs are all neutered or spayed and are available for adoption. The cats roam freely in the large visiting area, and can be played with between 10-6 each day.
Comfortable furniture makes it feel like you are in someone’s home. Feel free to bring your latte and baked treats in to snack on. Just be careful. One of the kittens got curious and tried to sample my frappacino from the straw! If you don’t want to actually visit with these furry creatures, you can watch them from the coffee shop interior window. Viewing the cats is free!
Where should we eat in Clermont? Friar Tuck
You will find this British Pub, located in Cagan’s Crossing, just north of 192 on 27. They serve tasty British Faire. Appetizers include Scotch eggs, Ploughman’s pork pie, and sausage rolls, to name a few. But you can get regular bar food like chicken wings too. We ate traditional fish and chips for our meal.
Dan ordered a traditional Black and Tan to drink, while I ordered from the specialty Harry Potter menu. They even had a replica of the Sorting Hat on a shelf behind the bar.
There are more things to do in Clermont, but we were only there for one afternoon. However, we plan on returning when the weather cools down to go glamping and do other outdoor activities at Lake Louisa State Park. Highlights include horseback riding, off road segway tours, and kayaking. Not only that, but you can rent bikes too.
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
The view from the Florida Citrus tower looks awesome! I love the colors. Mount Rushmore is another place that has been on my bucket list for long. I have been to Florida and done Orlando but not Clermont. Looks like I need another visit to check out this hidden gem. 🙂
I would love to visit Florida and not do any of the touristy things. A visit to Clermont. … for wine … sounds about perfect for me. Hubby likes his wines sweeter so the Muscadine grapes might be just the right pick for him. Great for a day trip for sure. And maybe even a longer visit.
Free wine tasting? Who would have said no! I think $11 is worth the trip to the Citrus Tower. The views are beautiful! And I would like to order the fish and chips from Friar Truck, too. I like seafood.
This sounds like a great place to visit. I’ve visited Florida mainly for the beaches and for the theme parks while my daughter was still small – guilty as charged. But even then, I tried to see also places that are less cliché – Clermont would have definitely been one of those. I’d love to see more of the old Floridian culture below the shallow surface 😉
I haven’t been to central Florida yet, but I plan a road trip through this state. I add Clermont to my list as it seems an exciting place. I would like to visit Lakeridge Winery as I am a wine lover.