Mount Dora, Florida

Best Places to Retire in Florida


Mount Dora (population 10,500) is located in north central Florida, 47 miles south of Ocala, and 27 miles north of Orlando. Its history dates to 1880 when it consisted of a lakeside outpost with just 16 families living along Lake Dora. It was first named Royellou, which was a combining of the names of the postmaster’s three children. Within a few years the name was changed to Mount Dora, taken from the name of a homesteader, and the fact that the town rested at a lofty 286 feet above sea level. In 1883 the Alexander House, a two-story 10-room Inn was constructed and guests began to arrive. The initial visitors were fishermen and outdoorsmen, who enjoyed the superb fresh water fishing and even participated in snake hunts. The ladies enjoyed the charm of the inn and the warm climate. In the 1990s the railroad arrived in Mount Dora and life was forever changed.

Mount Dora was incorporated as a town in 1910 with 370 residents. In the 1920s, Mount Dora’s lakeside became known as place where the good times rolled, despite Prohibition, and it was rumored the Lakeside Inn served as a speak-easy. The building that housed the Alexander House is still in use today as a part of Lakeside Inn and one of Florida’s only remaining wooden hotels.

Mount Dora is an Old Florida village with magnificent turn-of-the-century buildings, large canopy oak trees and the flavor of a small town. It is on the shore of Lake Dora, a 4,475-acre body of water that is interconnected to six smaller lakes. It is even possible to connect to waterways that lead all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. There is outstanding fishing, canoeing, boating, water skiing, sailing, sand beaches and swimming, biking or hiking through lakeside parks, nature cruises, and beautiful sunsets. There is also golf and tennis. There are many choices for dining with 30 or more eateries, including Irish Pubs, Italian, seafood, barbeque, grille, fast food, and elegant dining at resorts or supper clubs. For shoppers there are a number of antique shops, jewelry stores, galleries, and other specialty stores. It was recognized by readers of Florida Living Magazine as “Florida’s friendliest small town, and as having the best antique shopping area in the state.”

The city of Orlando is just 27 miles to the southeast and is just a 40-minute drive to Disney World, Universal Orlando, Sea World, and Cypress Gardens.

Arts & Culture

The Mount Dora Theatre Company is owned and operated by IceHouse Players, Inc. It offers quality presentations that are both entertaining and educational, and provides opportunities for talented members of the community to participate in theater arts. The IceHouse Theater is a 270-seat theater.

The city hosts eight major annual events, beginning with the Mount Dora Arts Festival that attracts over 150,000 people. Other events include an antique boat show, antique car show, sailing regatta, golf tournament, bicycle festival, crafts fair, and the Christmas lighting festival.

The city of Mount Dora offers a series of free concerts during June through September at the Mount Dora Community Building. W. T. Bland Public Library –

Mount Dora School of Ballet – (352) 357-5536


The city maintains 16 public parks with a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Included are athletic fields, extensive picnic sites with grills, shelters, boat ramps, fishing, a lakefront boardwalk, swimming pool, racquetball, tennis, shuffleboard, and lawn bowling.{CA9CA4F0-C48F2-91ED-0F2EAFFAE201}

The city’s Recreation Division offers tennis clinics, Tai-Chi classes, fiber arts days (knitters, weavers, spinners, etc.) and other programs.{0262A33F-136E-4754-8DE4-7591E8961C23}

There are two semi-private golf courses: Country Club of Mount Dora – and Mount Dora Golf Club –


Lake Sumter Community College, Leesburg, Fla. (16 miles) –

Senior Programs

The Recreation Division of the city offers senior weight training with a certified instructor.{0262A33F-136E-4754-8DE4-7591E8961C23}

The city’s Leisure Services Department is comprised of two divisions – Library and Recreation. The Library’s services include beginner’s computing courses, public tax assistance, AARP Arrive Alive driving courses, movies for all age groups, and more. The Recreation division offers tennis clinics, softball and baseball clinics, basket weaving, yoga, Tai Chi, and other activities.{F85D2962-F50C-46B3-ADE8-FB2C3A722A98}


Florida Hospital Waterman is a 204-bed acute care hospital, just north of Orlando in the town of Tavares (5 miles from Mount Dora). The hospital was founded in 1938 as the legacy of Frank Waterman (Waterman Fountain Pen Company). Today it is housed in a modern facility that was completed in 1997.


It is approximately a one-hour drive to the Daytona or Orlando airports. Daytona Beach International Airport –

Orlando International Airport –



The Orlando Sentinal –

Property Taxes

Lake County –

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce

State Aging Agency


Orlando – 27 miles
Ocala – 47 miles
Daytona – 55 miles
Gainesville – 86 miles
Tampa – 111 miles
Jacksonville – 140 miles

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