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Florida Backroads: Clermont to Jensen Beach

Florida Backroads: Clermont to Jensen Beach
Florida Backroads: Clermont to Jensen Beach

Florida Backroads: Clermont to Jensen Beach

Every year the day after Thanksgiving is an adventure day for myself and my dog Kodi. After spending a wonderful family day there is no reason to rush home.

There is no reason to have to pay or get stuck on the  Turnpike when you can have a relaxing ride home.

Before you leave Clermont or really any place in Central Florida buy gas. Gas here is always substantially less. You can thank me later.

Clermont has plenty of places to get coffee and nosh before you leave. There’s  good Dunkin Donuts at Magnolia Point. There is a great Starbucks on 50 and Hancock. Make sure you order ahead. This is a very busy store.

Clermont

Clermont was founded in 1884 and named for the French birthplace of A.F. Wrotnowski, manager of the Clermont Improvement Company, formed for land development.The city was incorporated in 1916. Much of the county initially was developed as orange and other citrus groves, which was the basis of the economy through the mid-20th century.

Downtown Clermont has restaurants, shops, the local Art League, Clermont City Center, and City Hall. The downtown’s western area, known as Historic Village, includes sites such as the Townsend House, home to James and Sallie Townsend, the first African-American couple in Clermont. The building known as “Little Cooper” was moved to the Clermont Historic Village in 2009 and restored to be opened as a museum of local and world history The Historic Village is maintained by the South Lake County Historical Society and the City of Clermont.

Waterfront Park is located along Lake Minneola, The park includes picnic areas, a swimming area, fishing piers and a playground. There are rentals of paddleboards, kayaks and bicycles. A fitness trail that is part of a 30-mile system runs through the park.

Things to do in Clermont, Fl

2. South on Hancock Rd.

Right on Hartwood Marsh Rd and then left on US 27

Drive around 45 miles and take a left on 60.

The drive down 27 was a massive amount of building and new chains as opposed to the Americana that used to be here. Lots of traffic  but you can move slowly and take in how our state is being taken over by builders and big box stores. 

Polk County

The first people to inhabit the area now called Polk County were the Paleoindians who arrived in Florida at least 12,000 years ago, late in the last ice age.The largest collection of late (more than 9,500 years ago) Paleoindian microlithic tools known from Florida were found in Lake Weohyakapka, near Nalcrest in Polk County.

Polk County is home to one of our favorite Sheriff Grady Judd. Love him or hate him he’s a compassionate man who is an excellent communicator (with a fabulous communication team that is not only compassionate but on some days hysterically funny. Also some days very serious but always informative.)

As much as I would love to meet them one day as I drive through I am reminded not to speed. Slow and steady. Would be a bad way to meet these folks!

If you are hungry there are loads of places to stop and eat. Also bathrooms (Thank you Wawa!) and gas at a good price. (Don’t be lazy!)

Places of note

Davenport

is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 9,040 at the 2020 census. While the city of Davenport itself is very small, the area north of the city close to Interstate 4 and US 27 is experiencing explosive growth.

Things to do Davenport, Fl

 

Fossil Funatics is a Hand-on Fossil and Shark tooth hunting guide service. We offer Family friendly Walk-in and Canoe/kayak tours on the beautiful Peace River and her tributaries in Central Florida. We provide all the necessary gear and give you the knowledge to find fossil RIGHT AWAY! each guest, under most circumstances, will get to take home ALL of their Finds! We walk and wade in the river and dig for gravel containing !0,000 to 5 million year old Fossils! tours start at 80.00 per person for a walk-in, and last 5 hours.

Winter Haven

is a city in central Florida, known for its canal-linked Chain of Lakes. Several lakes have waterside parks and eateries, as well as boat ramps and water-sports rentals. On Lake Eloise, Legoland Florida Resort includes Cypress Gardens, a 1930s botanical garden, and Lego-brick attractions, rides and a water park. West of the city, Circle B Bar Reserve has forest trails and alligator-inhabited wetlands. it also has a great downtown area (free parking!), lots of shops and restaurants, tons of bike paths, and that small town feel that you’d want your kids to grow up in.

Legoland

One of my grandson’s favorite places

Things to do Winter Haven!

Haines City

In recent years Haines City has seen explosive growth, largely because of its easy access to Orlando and Walt Disney World Resort. New residential areas have been developed on the edges of the city. On high ground in the north of the city, Southern Dunes, a golf and country club with both vacation homes and residential homes, was developed between 1995 and 2005.

Things to do in Haines City!
Lakeland

Lakeland is a Florida city, east of Tampa. Downtown’s Munn Park Historic District is known for its antiques shops and early-1900s architecture. Florida Southern College has several buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The city’s many lakes include Lake Mirror, with its promenade and neoclassical Hollis Garden. The Polk Museum of Art’s collection ranges from pre-Columbian artifacts to contemporary paintings.

Also located in nearby Lakeland, the Florida Air Museum’s history began back in the ‘80s, when its founder envisioned a facility geared towards history and aviation buffs.

Though its beginnings were humble, to say the least, the museum has continuously expanded. It now includes an impressive variety of exhibits, equipment, and memorabilia in addition to the stars of the show, which are the refurbished airplanes from both civil and military aviation.

The museum is located on Medulla Road and is the state’s official aviation museum.

Admission is inexpensive.

Things to do in Lakeland!

Dundee

The town of Dundee sits along the rolling hills of the Lake Wales Ridge and was built on the wealth of Florida’s citrus industry. Just south of Haines City, Dundee is home to a candy factory so special it was featured on Food Network.

Margaret Kampsen Historic Depot

In 1910, a Mr. Menzie from Dundee, Scotland, decreed the tiny settlement here should be called Dundee after his former home. He also named one of Dundee’s many lakes, Lake Menzie. Soon after, land speculators and developers realized Dundee’s many attributes. In 1911, with the arrival of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad’s new Haines City to Sebring branch and the construction of the Dundee railroad station, speculators had a means to bring prospective settlers to get a firsthand view of this beautiful section of Florida.

One of the first to recognize Dundee’s potential was William W. Shepard of Minneapolis who, with his associates, purchased some 14,000 acres of land along the Scenic Ridge from Lake Hamilton to Mountain Lake including much of present day Dundee. His company, The Highlands Development Co., had two goals: developing citrus groves and selling house lots. The availability of reliable transportation enabled them to accomplish their goal of selling house lots. The Highlands Development Co. ran special trains to Dundee bringing hundreds of potential settlers, and those who purchased land were refunded their rail fares.

Things to do in Dundee!

Left on 60
Lake Wales

Lake Wales is one of the coolest town in Florida. Lake Wales is home to Bok Tower Gardens, built atop Iron Mountain, one of the highest points in Florida at 295-feet above sea level, and Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo, the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi River.Lake Wales offers a glimpse of Old Florida and a deep dive into the Florida of today and tomorrow. In Lake Wales, tower bells ring from the Historic Bok Sanctuary – a collection of gardens and frequent site of outdoor concerts. Murals enliven the historic downtown, designed by the firm of famed city planner Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Also, don’t miss the Lake Wales Art Center.

Things to do in Lake Wales!

Lovely peaceful drive.

 

 

Drive around 43 miles and take a right on Kenansville Rd.

Looks like no one has done anything with the Desert Inn!

Drive 19 miles and take a left on route 68 (224th st)

Things to do in Okeechobee!

Drive 21 miles and take a right on Shin Rd (609A)

Things to do in St.Lucie County!

 

Drive about 5 miles and a left on Midway Rd. (Be careful not to take a left on 70)

You can take Midway all the way to Indian River Drive.

Things to do in Martin County!

 

Here are few other posts I wrote going in the same general area.

Florida Backroads: Kissimmee to Indian River

Florida Backroads: 441 South from Orlando

 

 

 

 

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