Tavares, Florida is a lakeside city with lake surroundings and plentiful nature-made attractions, like parks and water sport opportunities. Lake Harris sits to the west, Lake Eustis rests to the north, and Lake Dora is southward with seashores that nudge the town. Calm and peaceful, the town is comprised of a few museums and beautiful sights, with close-knit communities where many locals come from generations-old Florida families.
Food-wise, Tavares cuisine is diverse and delicious, with numerous family-owned local restaurants that natives swear by. Of course, there are a few of the usual fast food chains, but real culture and foodie-friendly love is in the diners and cafes that have been around Tavares for decades.
Mary’s Kountry Kitchen, for instance, is an American diner that serves up yummy Southern classics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The portions are ginormous, the food is homemade, and customer service is rife with southern charm. Famed for their breakfast bowls, these southern-accented cooks dish out delicious fried chicken and waffles, fresh-baked biscuits and gravy, honey ham with home fries and collard greens, and classic American burgers. Feeling indulgent? Ask about their homemade fruit pies with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
Try the Tiki West Raw Bar if you are looking for a bucket of oysters and ice-cold beers. They also whip up some great Shrimp and Grits! Or, head over to O'keefe's Irish Pub and Restaurant if you crave a heavier meal like Bangers & Mash with a side of O'Keefe's potato soup. They have a full-serve bar as well. Other honorable mentions for dining go to Eduardos Lokos Tacos, Hurricane Dockside Grill, and Puddle Jumpers.
Looking for some outdoor fun? Visit one of the best local parks in Tavares!
Wooton Park is a great place to bring your kiddos for good fun and sunshine. The playgrounds are sturdy and space-themed,with an observation tower, a rocket ship, and an on-site water park. There are lots of hiking trails and nature paths for exercise, but the real gem is the lakeside picnic area, where you can dine on a DIY lunch and watch the world go by. Dogs are welcome for as long as pet owners pick up after their pups. Bags are made available and there are plenty of trash cans around the premises—no excuses. Or, if you would prefer a day of exploring on your own, take a kayak or canoe to Lake Harris at Fisherman's Cove. Paddle for miles in either direction, but keep track of where you started on the seashore.
For nightlife, head to Little Lake Harris Pub to mingle with locals and sample a selection of local brews. The bar hosts live bands throughout the week. Food-wise, snag a burger to go with your beer, or partake in the free pretzels and peanuts. Karaoke nights bring in lots of people, so practice your singing and sign up to get onstage and belt out your favorite tunes. If you need a shot of liquid courage, the bar offers a selection of cocktails and spirits to steel your resolve. Docks lead off from the pub, which means you can take your beer and bolt to watch the still waters if you prefer a quieter atmosphere.
Stay at one of the best hotels in Tavares!
Tavares is the kind of Florida town you visit for a bit of peace. Take a look at these top-rated hotels—Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Inn on the Green, Best Western Plus Lake County Inn & Suites, and Floridian Gardens Resort.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
Situated on West Burleigh Boulevard, the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites is an award-winning place to stay, with 73 spacious, well-furnished suites. The rooms are well-equipped with homey essentials, such as comfortable queen-sized beds, air-conditioning systems, well-stocked kitchenettes, and lovely bathrooms with superb water pressure, clean and fluffy towels, and lots of toiletries.
Other amenities include free parking for guests, free high-speed wireless internet, a heated swimming pool, dry-cleaning services and laundry facilities, a fitness center, and a business center with conference areas. If you crave a bite of delicious Italian cuisine, take a chance on Angelo’s, less than a mile from the Holiday Inn Express. Be sure to sample their scrumptious, homemade garlic rolls.
Inn on the Green
Inn on the Green is the kind of resort you go to for relaxation, both in-room and on the on-site golf course. Small but pleasant, the hotel offers homey amenities, such as clean rooms, fluffed towels, fresh linens, and complimentary shampoos, conditioners, and lotions. The continental breakfast is free, with a plethora of grab-and-go breakfast favorites, like muffins, bagels, herb cream cheese, and fresh-brewed coffee. Entertainment-wise, look no further than the putting greens next to the Inn. Spend all afternoon smacking a few golf balls, working on your average, and challenging fellow guests to friendly golf games.
Best Western Plus Lake County Inn & Suites
Best Western Plus Lake County Inn & Suites, voted the best hotel in Tavares, is seated on East Burleigh Boulevard. Past guests have noted that the hotel has a casual but comfortable and clean atmosphere, with the perfect combo of breezy and leisure. Some of the best accommodations include a swimming pool and hot tub, business meeting rooms, free parking for guests, free high-speed internet, a spacious workout room, and free daily breakfasts. The hotel sits at the center between Lake Eustis and Lake Dora, so guests have plenty of opportunities to fish, kayak, canoe, swim, or simply dip their feet in the water.
The Floridian Gardens Resort
The Floridian Gardens Resort on Old Highway 441 is a high-ranked Tavares favorite with 8 spacious rooms, excellent customer services, and clean, comfy, homey accommodations. This resort represents old-fashioned Florida charms and classic southern hospitality. Guests are welcome to park and pay for a traveler or permanent stay at the resort’s RV park. Or, book a room and stay a weekend with comfortable furnishings, spacious accommodations, and home-like amenities.
Expect free daily breakfasts, free high-speed internet, a business center with internet access, dry-cleaning services and self-servelaundry facilities, and close proximity to shops, restaurants, and activities. Take some time for nature in Florida with a visit to Wooton Park on East Ruby Street, less than a mile and a half from the hotel. Sit on the docks to dip your toes in the waters, keep a lookout for wildlife, and let your kids play on the seaside playgrounds.
Come explore this beautiful area of Florida and all the surrounding lake areas. You'll find plenty of fun things to do in Tavares, FL!
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