ROAD TRIPS

Travel Guide to Florida - - CENTRAL FLORIDA -

Take a break from the park­ing lots and em­bark on a scenic drive to ex­pe­ri­ence some of Old Florida at its finest.

The Ridge Scenic High­way trav­els more than 38 miles along the Lake Wales Ridge, through the his­toric com­mu­ni­ties of Se­bring, Frost­proof, Lake Wales, Dundee and Haines City. While in Lake Wales, be sure to visit Spook Hill, a nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non that gives the il­lu­sion that cars are coast­ing up­hill.

A drive west of Or­lando to Cler­mont brings you to the Florida Cit­rus Tower built in 1956 on one of the high­est hills in Florida’s ridge section. An el­e­va­tor ride to the top gives way to panoramic views of eight coun­ties in Cen­tral Florida.

In Sumter County, ex­plore the 80-acre Dade Bat­tle­field State Park, where on De­cem­ber 28, 1835, a Na­tive Amer­i­can am­bush started the Sec­ond Semi­nole War. There’s a pic­nic area, play­ground and visitor’s cen­ter.

Look for the Green Moun­tain Scenic By­way near Lake Apopka that shows off the re­gion’s lit­tle-known rolling hills. Among the ru­ral towns and vil­lages, you’ll pass by the his­toric moss-cov­ered Sadler Oaks in the com­mu­nity of Tildenville.

Ocala in Mar­ion County is the cen­ter of the thor­ough­bred horse in­dus­try in Florida and beau­ti­ful rolling farm­lands. Hop on the Florida Black Bear Scenic By­way, which trav­els through the heart of Cen­tral Florida to the Ocala Na­tional For­est. Look for springs, kayak­ing and fish­ing spots—you might even see the elu­sive Florida black bear.

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