Tavares Florida

Tavares Florida is a town of about 14,000 people about 35 miles northwest of Orlando.  

Along with Eustis and Mount Dora, it is one apex of what is known as Florida's "Golden Triangle".

Tavares is the county seat of Lake County, Florida, and was founded in 1880 by Alexander St. Clair Abrams, a railroad and newspaper executive. He named the town after one of his Portuguese ancestors.

Abrams initially sought to develop the town as a tourist destination, but later made the decision that its location would result in it becoming a great industrial and railroad center and the capital of Florida.

Tavares, Florida Peninsular HotelState Archives of Florida, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/156428

He spent at least $500,000 building a large hotel, lumber mills, stores, a cigar factory and railroad lines. Streets and avenues were named after Abrams' relatives and friends. The Duke of Sutherland and other British noblemen stayed at Abrams' hotel, The Peninsular.

A large part of Tavares Florida was destroyed in a fire in 1888, and a few years after that the great freeze of 1895 and 1896 caused the town to be nearly abandoned.

Tavares Florida Union Congregational Church

One of the existing reminders of the old days in Tavares is the Union Congregational Church at 302 St. Clair Abrams Avenue.  The church was built in 1888 on land donated by Mr. Abrams. 

Citrus made a comeback and has been a staple of the community for many years. Tavares is at the west end of Lake Dora, and boating and seaplanes are an important part of the town's ambiance.

Tavares Florida Has Become The Seaplane City

The chain of lakes including Lakes Dora, Harris, Griffin and Eustis are connected by canals and give boaters access to the St Johns River and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.

The Duncan House on Lake Dora Drive in Tavares is on the National Register of Historic Places. It recently served as a wedding venue and a bed and breakfast, but is now for sale.

Tavares Florida Duncan House

The downtown area has been redeveloped with many nice shops and restaurants, and a seaplane base makes for some entertaining flights in Central Florida.

Three small boutique hotels have been built in downtown Tavares with beautiful view of Lake Dora.  A new lakeside pavilion built by the City has beautiful lake views and has become a popular wedding venue.

This list of TAVARES RESTAURANTS that I've tried also includes many in Eustis and Mount Dora.


Much of the information in our website has been published in a series of Amazon Kindle books for each of Florida's eight geographical regions.

Florida Backroads Travel, a separate Kindle book, covers all of the regions of the state in one volume.

All books can be read on a computer, tablet, Kindle and most smart phones.

Click on the book cover for free previews of these books at Amazon.com.

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