By  Mike Miller  Updated September 29, 2023

Tavares, Florida Things To Do, Lodging, Dining, & Real Estate At End Of Article

Tavares is a town of 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"

Locals pronounce it "Ta Varies."

Welcoming Sign to Tavares, Florida on US-441Welcoming Sign to Tavares, Florida on US-441


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 HotelPeninsular Hotel, State Archives of Florida

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 was destroyed in a fire in 1888, and a few years after that the great freeze of 1895 and 1896 caused the town to become nearly abandoned.

Tavares Florida Union Congregational ChurchUnion 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 was a staple of the community for many years until the freezes of the early 1980s destroyed many of the groves.

Tavares Lake County CourthouseTavares Lake County Courthouse

The historic Lake County courthouse was built in 1922 and still serves the County with various offices and a museum. 

It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tavares Lake County Admin BldgTavares Lake County Administration Building

The Lake County Administration Building is next door to the historic courthouse. 

It was an architectural sensation to the local people when it was built in the 1960s and served as the new courthouse until larger buildings were built downtown in recent years.

Tavares Traffic CircleTavares Traffic Circle

A recently built traffic circle defines the downtown area around the various government buildings. It facilitates the flow of traffic heading in all directions.

Tavares Florida Duncan HouseThe Duncan House

The historic Duncan House on Lake Dora Drive in Tavares is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has six bedrooms and 6 baths and recently sold to a private party for $680,000.


Tavares is at the west end of Lake Dora, and boating and seaplanes are an important part of the town's ambiance.

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.

Tavares Key West ResortTavares Key West Resort

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 views of Lake Dora.

Tavares Pavilion on the LakeTavares Pavilion on the Lake

A new lakeside pavilion built by the City has beautiful lake views and has become a popular wedding venue.

Tavares Marina and Seaplane BaseTavares Pavilion, Marina and Seaplane Base

The City has also created a seaplane marina and base adjacent to the pavilion.

There is a train station downtown next to Wooten Park.  Until recently, a tourist train ran from Tavares to Mount Dora. Another ran from Tavares to Eustis.

Tavares Train StationTavares Train Station

The condition of the track became bad, and the tourist trains have been discontinued.

This list of MOUNT DORA AREA RESTAURANTS that I've personally tried also includes many in Tavares and Eustis.


Wooton Park and Tavares Seaplane Base 
100 E Ruby St, Tavares, FL 32778.  (352) 742-6267 

Begin your adventure at Wooton Park, where the Tavares Seaplane Base adds a unique touch to your visit. Watch seaplanes gracefully land and take off from the glistening waters of Lake Dora.

Our favorite? Take a scenic seaplane tour for a bird's-eye view of the stunning surroundings. It's an exhilarating experience that captures the essence of Tavares' connection to its beautiful lakes. 

Tavares Pavilion on the Lake 
200 S Disston Ave, Tavares, FL 32778.  (352) 742-6267 

For a touch of elegance, visit the Tavares Pavilion on the Lake, an exquisite venue nestled on the shores of Lake Dora. Whether you're attending an event or simply exploring the surroundings, the Pavilion offers stunning views and a serene atmosphere.

Stroll along the lakefront promenade, enjoy the landscaped gardens, and take in the tranquility of the surroundings. It's a hidden gem that showcases Tavares' commitment to providing a beautiful backdrop for life's special moments. 

Lake County Historical Museum 
317 W Main St, Tavares, FL 32778.  (352) 343-9890 

Delve into the rich history of Lake County at the Lake County Historical Museum. Located in the heart of Tavares in the courthouse, this museum chronicles the area's past through engaging exhibits and artifacts.

Wander through displays that showcase the evolution of Central Florida, from the early settlers to the present day. It's a journey through time that provides a deeper understanding of the community's roots, making it a must-visit for history buffs and those curious about the town's vibrant past. 

Tavares Nature Park 
1551 Milwaukee Avenue, Tavares, FL 32778 

Nature enthusiasts, rejoice! Tavares Nature Park offers a peaceful retreat for those seeking a connection with the outdoors. Wander along the scenic trails that wind through the lush landscapes, providing opportunities for birdwatching and quiet contemplation.

The park's serene ambiance, complemented by the soothing sounds of nature, makes it a perfect escape for a leisurely stroll or a moment of relaxation. It's a green oasis in the heart of Tavares, inviting you to unwind and embrace the tranquility of the natural surroundings. Picnic tables and restrooms are available. 

Fish Camp on Lake Eustis 
901 Lakeshore Blvd, Tavares, FL 32778.  (352) 742-4400 

No visit is complete without savoring the local flavors, and one of our favorite spots is Fish Camp on Lake Eustis. Nestled along the waterfront, this laid-back eatery offers a diverse menu featuring fresh seafood, mouthwatering burgers, and signature cocktails.

The relaxed atmosphere, combined with scenic views of Lake Eustis, creates the perfect setting for a delightful dining experience. It's not just a meal; it's a culinary journey that captures the essence of Tavares' lakeside charm. 

Hickory Point Park 
27341 FL-19, Tavares, FL 32778.  (352) 324-6141 

End your Tavares adventure at Hickory Point Park, a hidden gem along Lake Harris. Pack a picnic, soak up the sun on the sandy shores, or take a refreshing dip in the lake.

With its breathtaking views and recreational facilities, including volleyball courts and playground, Hickory Point Park is the ideal spot for a day of lakeside relaxation.

It's a perfect conclusion to your Tavares escapade, providing a serene setting to reflect on the day's discoveries. 


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