Mount Dora Boating
Center & Marina
148 Charles Avenue
Mount Dora, FL 32757
Mount Dora is a charming small town in the hill and lake country about thirty miles northwest of Orlando. It is noted for its many art and craft festivals, unique shops, restaurants, historic buildings, and antiques.
Many visitors say Mount Dora reminds them of a typical small New England town – something rare in Florida. It is located on the western shore of six mile long Lake Dora, one of the beautiful bodies of fresh water in the Harris Chain of Lakes. These lakes are famous in Florida for their natural beauty, historic settings, and world class fishing.
Catboat Adventures is a unique way to experience these waters up close and informational. The boats are headquartered in the small marina adjacent to Gilbert Park in downtown Mount Dora. The adventure involves a two-hour narrated lake tour on a small twin hulled power catamaran.
You and a partner sit in comfort in your small outboard powered catamaran. The controls are simple and easy to operate. An experienced guide will show you how to steer the boat and control the speed. Even someone with no boat experience can handle it.
The guide leads the way and communicates with each passenger via a small walkie talkie radio. Each passenger has a radio and can listen as the guide points out wildlife and features along the way. You will be in the middle of a lot of history and natural places.
The highlight of the tour is a slow and informative passage through the Dora Canal that connects Lake Dora to Lake Eustis. This canal is a bit more than one mile long and is a reminder of the tropical wilderness that Florida once was.
You will glide quietly among ancient cypress trees draped in Spanish Moss, swampy shores, and an eclectic mix of small cottages and trailers that are home to nature loving Floridians and seasonal visitors. You will probably see great blue herons, green herons, osprey, cranes, turtles, and maybe even an alligator or a snake.
The canal reminded movie makers of the jungles of Africa, and they filmed portions of the movie “African Queen” in this location. The classic movie starred Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.
Don’t worry about your safety on this jungle cruise. You will be high and dry in your little boat as you cruise through the wilderness.
After exiting the canal into Lake Eustis, you will make a slow circle and go back through the canal in the opposite direction. You will see things you didn’t notice the first time.
A fun part of this two hour adventure is when the guide lets you go off on your own and hurtle along six mile long Lake Dora at high speeds. The outboard motor quickly brings the little catamaran up on a plane and you feel like you are flying above the water.
At the end of the tour the guide takes his boat into the marina first and then calls in the individual boats in the little fleet one by one and helps to dock the craft. That’s the end of the tour. The marina has rest rooms if you are so inclined after your two-hour journey.
You will leave the marina wanting to do the tour again. Unlike many Florida attractions, you will feel like your money was well spent.
Catboat Adventures operates Wednesday through Sunday.