Tourists who want to visit Florida are mainly attracted towards Orlando, the most well-known city in the state. But the small city of Leesburg, just a few miles away from Orlando, is just as good, if not better. Situated between the two coastlines of the remarkable Floridian peninsula, Leesburg has a lot to offer to travel enthusiasts.
Leesburg is like a paradise to nature lovers. With numerous lakes and waterways, this small town is a great place to spend your vacation almost any time of the year. And nature is not the only attraction here, there are tons of other things to do in Leesburg FL.
If you are looking for an area that offers a lot of clubbing and partying, then probably Leesburg is not the best place for you. But those are willing to get out of their comfort zone and dive into endless opportunities to do outdoor activities, Leesburg is just the perfect destination. In this post, I have brought together the best 10 things to do in Leesburg FL, especially for the adventure hungry tourists.
1. Go Camping in Lake Griffin
To visit Lake Griffin, you’ll have to go outside the main town. The lake’s position is at the north corner of Leesburg where the lake’s edge stretches to the city suburbs. This huge lake will instantly make your mind calm with its extra-ordinary ecosystem and swampy marshes.
Start exploring the lake from the protected area on southeastern shore. This area is known as the Lake Griffin State Park. The park is filled with boat ramps, camping spots, and a gorgeous. Go out in the wilderness by following this trail, and unravel and adventure of a lifetime!
While roaming in the marshes, you need to be extremely careful. Lake Griffin is one of those swampy areas that are home to alligators. This can be life threatening if you don’t take precautions. It is better to take someone who has visited Lake Griffin before and knows about the dangerous watery places.
Just be careful, and enjoy the company of countless different species of birds!
2. Enjoying Kayaking in Lake Harris
Regardless of the place and location, Kayaking is always a very fun activity to do. And when you do it in Lake Harris, the fun increases exponentially. Among over 250 lakes, Lake Harris is one of the most beautiful and exotic ones. You technically say that the lake is at the heart of the city, as the city is build surrounding it.
There is no short of water activities if you are willing to visit the Lake Harris. Take boats, canoes, and kayaks to explore the water and the nature of the lake. If you don’t like to go in water, just having casual walks in Leesburg streets around the lake’s edge will refresh your mind equally. If you like walking, it is better to visit the edge of the lake in afternoon as the sun’s calm rays reflect on the lake’s water to create a majestic scenario.
3. Get the Feel of Venice at The Venetian Garden Parks
The Venetian Garden Parks are without any doubt the most popular places in the city of Leesburg. These small gardens are always full of people from different ages and courses of life. Whenever a tourist comes from outside the town, the first recommendation he/she gets is the gardens.
The location of the gardens is the city waterfront, overlooking the mighty Lake Harris. The public spaces are quite charming and great to walk in touch with mother nature. The name Venetian Garden Parks has some significance to it, as there are quite a few wonderful bridges crossing over the connected waterways within the park area.
These bridges connect the island-like areas in the park, giving it a feel like the City of Venice. You might not have enough money in your pocket to go to Venice itself, but you can surely go to Leesburg to get a similar scenery at The Venetian Garden.
4. Learn about Local History at the Leesburg Heritage Museum
Not a lake or waterway guy? No problem, as Leesburg has something for you in the store as well. if you are enthusiastic about knowing the cultural background and history of a new place, then the Leesburg Heritage Museum is the perfect place for you.
Don’t expect a gigantic museum full of a lot of artifacts, as the museum is not too big. It is quite understandable as the city itself is quite small. The museum is at one of the oldest buildings of the town. Basically you’ll get to see the exhibits collected from different parts of the city. The arrangement is done in a way which tells the story of the locality, from the early days of the city since mid 19th century to the modern 21st century.
5. Get Dazzled by the Architecture of the Howey Mansion
If you are into old buildings and structures, then the Howey Mansion won’t fail to impress you. This 100-year old building is built by the Howey Clan, the family which bought majority of the lands in Lake County. You can certainly understand how luxurious the house once was as it was built by one of the richest families Florida.
The mansion is huge, and its premises are quite beautiful too. That’s why more often than not it is used as an outdoor wedding venue or a movie set. This unusual work of classic architecture was ahead of its time, and still it upholds some of its previous glory.
6. Enjoy Sunshine at Daytona Beach
As there are way too many lakes and waterways in Leesburg, at times tourists get tired of visiting them. But who said Leesburg has just one type of option when it comes to watery areas? Just go to the coastline and enjoy the Daytona Beach to take a break from the lakes! It’s one and a half hour ride from the main city and no less than the famous beaches from the other parts of the country in terms of beauty.
The beach is home to NASCAR, which features the International Speedway. If you are in luck, it is possible to see a race and have a great time. This sandy beach is the perfect spot to chill and see the might Atlantic Ocean in its full glory.
7. See the Gulf of Mexico at Tampa Bay
If you ride for an hour and half to the Floridian Peninsula’s west coast, you’ll reach the beautiful city of Tampa Bay. It is situated at the bank of the Gulf of Mexico. The city will welcome you with a warm welcome, as well as warm waters.
If the Gulf of Mexico is not enough for you to visit the Tampa Bay, here’s some more options. There are theme parks, restaurants, museums, shopping malls, and clubs in this city. Whether you like outdoor activities or partying, you’ll find something that fits your taste in this wonderful place.
8. Go Snorkeling in Crystal River
The lakes in Leesburg can provide you with enough diversity, but if you want the water to be clear, in fact crystal clear, then the Crystal River at the west coast is the place. It doesn’t take more than an hour to reach the Crystal River from main town of Leesburg. Beautifully pure mineral springs in Crystal River will mesmerize you right away!
There is a reason for the name Crystal River, as the rivers are in fact crystal clear! The waters are warm enough, and snorkeling can be very fun if you are good at it. Lots of manatees live in these warm waters. These friendly animals will enhance your snorkeling experience to a huge extent. If you ever visit Leesburg, don’t leave the town without visiting Crystal Waters at least once.
9. Dive into Wilderness at Ocala National Forest
Ocala National forest is arguably the most pristine wilderness location in Florida. The protected forest stretches hundreds of thousands of acres. This is the southernmost forest area in the entire United States. A huge number of unique species of animals and trees can be found in this preserve. It is full of rivers, small lakes, hiking trails, and marshy areas.
The forest is a perfect place for camping or go hiking. Inside the forest, there are some crumbling houses which will take you back in Floridian history. If you can visit the forest in spring, the smell of wild flowers will blow your mind away.
At some areas of the forest, there are lakes with clear warm water. If you are swimmer, take full advantage of these areas!
One thing you need to know before going in the Ocala National Forest, beware of bears!
10. Arrange a Picnic at the Flat Island
Flat Island is a lovely place right off the Leesburg coast, within the Lake Denham. As it is very close to the main city, you can simply reach this place on foot. It is a preserve where nature blooms at its full potential. Having a picnic at the Flat Island during the summer season will make your day.
The little island is a quiet refuge from the fast paced city life. The short natural trails across this preserve can do a job as good as meditation. It’s a perfect place to let your creativity flow and enjoy some serene time with wildlife.
Some Other Things to Do in Leesburg FL
Apart from the above mentioned activities, there’s a lot more to enjoy in Leesburg FL. Visiting Leesburg FL requires quite a few number of days, because there’s so much to see in such a short period of time. Even there are locals who haven’t yet visited all the attractive places the city and its surroundings has to offer. There are many more lakes in the city and its nearby areas that are not mentioned in this post. You can visit those lakes, ride kayaks and canoes, and explore hiking trails at their edges.
Bourlay Historic Nature Park is another great place that holds local heritage. There are some cracker styled houses in this park that were built in 19th century. It also has walking trails and diverse wildlife. If you are into farming, then the Farmall Tractor Museum might interest you. This museum is totally based on farming and features historic farming tools and equipment. This overlooked part of Floridian history is quite intriguing indeed.
Few Things to Note
As a nature lover, you will certainly enjoy your time in Leesburg FL a lot. While it is very exciting to enjoy wildlife, it is also quite common to forget about the actual values of being a nature tourist. There are so many instances where natural habitats got ruined because of the tourists and their activities.
Before going into the Floridian wilderness and lakes in Leesburg, make sure you have read the instructions given by the authorities that are put in place to keep nature and wildlife safe. Don’t litter here and there and make life difficult for the animals. Keep your campsite clean and try to remove the traces of your camp as much as possible so that animal can freely roam around.
Leesburg is one of the few places left in the U.S. where nature and its beauty is still totally intact. Every tourist should try their best to keep it that way.
So, have you decided to visit Leesburg yet? If you have, then make a proper tour plan based on the number of days you are willing to stay. To visit all the tourist attractions of Leesburg will take a good amount of time, so you should make your tour plan compact. If you don’t have enough days at your disposal, it is better so spend your vacation somewhere else.
Try to manage a local guide if you are going camping. It is quite normal to get lost in the wilderness. The guide won’t let that happen, and will make sure that your tour is efficient and enjoyable.
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