Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lake Louisa State Park and Florida Roadside Oddities

Lake Louisa

After our busy day on Friday, we weren’t sure what we had planned for Saturday, but then we heard back from our friends who live up in the Villages, and made plans to meet them for an early dinner in Clermont.

It was a beautiful day and we took advantage of having the roof open on the Jeep as we travelled north on US-27 towards Clermont.  Lake Louisa State Park was on our way, so we stopped to check out the campground and do a little hiking.  There were 3 small camping loops, with water and electric, and a handful of sites that had full hookup, including several host sites.  The sites were large and open, and most would fit any size RV.  It looked like a very nice campground, and we were surprised to see several open sites on a Saturday.

It’s a very large state park, with many miles of multi-use trails – open to hiking, biking, and even horseback riding.  There are even some back country campsites on some of the trails.

We decided to check out the “beach” first, and really weren’t expecting much. 

We parked in the parking lot, and followed a boardwalk through the cypress swamp to the beach.

Cypress Swamp

Lake Louisa is a very large pretty lake, though, and there actually was a beach!

Lake Louisa

There were people laying in the sun, and even a kid swimming in the water!  It looked inviting, but I don’t think I’d get in the water . . . you know what they say about bodies of water in Florida . . . there are gators in there somewhere!

The main trailhead was in the parking lot, but the map looked like we might be able to connect to it from the beach.  We followed what we thought looked like a trail along the edge of the water.

Trail along the beach

There were lots of cypress trees along the edge of the lake, giving the water a tannic color.  It was actually very beautiful.

Cypress Trees along the beach

Lake Louisa

Lake Louisa

Tom kept an eye out for alligators!

Looking for gators!

We reached a boardwalk at the end of the trail, and though we were going to connect to the main trail,

Where does the boardwalk go?

but it just took us to another parking lot.  So . . . we turned around and went back to the beach, and then back to the trailhead in the main parking lot.

Now we were in the right place!

Found the trail!

The entire nature trail was 3.5 miles, one way, but we only had one hour until we needed to continue on to Clermont to meet Mark & Janie.  There was a point on the trail, not quite halfway, where we could take a cutoff to the road and follow that back to the parking lot, so that was our plan.

We started out in the shade, and it felt pretty good.

The shady areas felt good

We gradually were in the sun more,

Getting warmer!

and it was getting warmer.  The last part of the trail was in full sun, and it was downright HOT!

Full sun -- now it's hot!

We passed on the fitness stations

There were a variety of fitness stations along the trail . . . but we passed on those!

We made it to the cutoff, and back to the road, and from there it was an easy walk back to the parking lot. 

The trail was nice and wide, and would be great for bikes, although there were a few areas where the sand was soft and might be troublesome.

Altogether, we walked about 3 miles, which wasn’t too bad considering how hot it was and how much time we had available.

We got back to the Jeep, and continued north to Clermont.  We were meeting at the Citrus Tower . . . a landmark in Clermont that was built back in the 50s to provide tourists a bird-eye view of the surrounding orange groves of central Florida.

What it looked like years ago

It used to be quite a tourist attraction!

The Citrus Tower

At that time, it was a very popular attraction, and drew visitors from all over the world.  Although it’s still pretty cool, and you can ride an elevator to the top for $4/person, the view isn’t quite the same.  No longer surrounded by orange groves, now you just get a view of Clermont – houses and businesses.  We passed on the elevator ride.

Just across the parking lot is another roadside attraction . . . the Museum of Presidents.

House of Presidents

LincolnPresident Lincoln occupies a prominent location just outside the front door, and inside the gift shop you can get the feel for dining in the White House.

Dinner at the White House

We checked out the lunch and dinner menus, but didn’t see much that appealed to most of us.  We passed on the museum, but took a walk through the gift shop – they had some interesting stuff in there!

Not too hard to figure out who his favorite President is!

The museum is privately owned by one man, and he makes no secret of his political tendencies – showcasing his favorite President!


OK, we did the touristy thing, and we were ready for dinner.  Somebody had recommended Bubba Catfish, which was just down the road.  We checked the menu online, and it looked pretty good . . . unfortunately the food didn’t live up to expectations . . . we won’t be going there again!

We had a nice time catching up with Mark & Janie, though, and look forward to seeing them again when we’re in the area!

On the way home, we made one more stop at one more roadside attraction – Citrus World.

Citrus World

Not too many oranges available, but there were photo ops,

Big Shark

and we bought some Orange Blossom Honey and Orange BBQ sauce.

Honey House

On Sunday, we just went to church and did some grocery shopping, and spent the rest of the day just hanging out at the RV park and getting some laundry done. 

We finished our busy weekend with a beautiful sunset!

Sunset_Feb 11th

Reflection on the pond

Meanwhile up in Michigan, they were getting buried in snow!

Snow at MSU

We’re so glad to be in Florida!!


  1. FYI besides watching for gators on those trail hikes, please keep eyes wide open for rattle snakes, they are very common this time of year. We've had several sightings and pics of them here on the trails in Wilderness in Silver Springs!

    Glad you are enjoying your time here in Florida and so happy it has finally warmed up a bit.

  2. Looks like you had an interesting hike and that sun does get HOT.
    We normally give restaurants two tries just in case they were having a bad day. No three tries.
    We're glad not to be in Ontario at this time also.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  3. We were just at Lake Louisa earlier in the month. You definitely got to see more than we did. Thanks for the tour of the town. We saw the citrus tower but did not have time to check it out.


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