Mount Dora is known for its festivals and antique shows, as well as its hilly terrain and nearby rail trails, so it should come as no surprise that this quaint Florida community is home to the oldest bicycle festival in the state.
For its fifth decade, on the weekend of Oct. 13-15, 2023, the Mount Dora Bicycle Festival serves as ground zero for pedal power. Hundreds of cyclists of varying skills are expected to take up the ride, and thousands more will join the celebration. It is Florida’s oldest and largest bike festival.
There is a day of participatory events for cyclists, and Mount Dora doesn’t leave anyone behind.
Four different rides are available of varying degrees of difficulty, some with hills, some without, all winding through small towns and countryside for 12 up to 62 miles.
A past participant writes on Yelp: “This event totally exceeded our expectations. There is just something really powerful about descending upon a place where hundreds of fellow riders converge. You feel like you belong and the anticipation of long, enjoyable rides is simply overwhelming.”
During early October, Mount Dora has an average daily high of 84 degrees with nights dipping into the mid-60s. Morning rides, then, can be quite comfortable.
There will be dozens of booths serving food, selling crafts and bringing all that Mount Dora has to offer into the downtown area.
Schedule for the 2022 Mount Dora Bicycle Festival
Friday Oct. 13, 2023
Saturday Oct. 14, 2023
7 a.m. – 9 a.m.: Check-in at Gilbert Park – 310 Tremain St. Mount Dora., FL 32757
8 a.m. – Yalaha Metric Century Club – 62.13 Miles
8 a.m. – 2 p.m .Vendor village open
8:30 a.m. – Conquer Sugarloaf Mountain – 42 Miles
8:45 a.m. – Gravel Ride What a Rush! – 30 Miles
8:50 a.m. – Mountain bike Trail – Adrenaline Rush
9:05 a.m. – The Trimble Two Tired – 12 Miles
8 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Social Entertainment and Vendor Village Open
To keep up with news of the festival, here’s a link to their Facebook page.
A second major fall bike festival will be held in Gainesville Oct. 23, 2023. Here are details. This event has been held for 40 years and includes a tour of horse farms called “The Horse Farm Hundred.”
Best camping near Mount Dora:
Trimble Park (Orange County), 5802 Trimble Park Road, Mount Dora, FL 32757. This 71-acre park sits beside Lake Beauclaire and has 15 grassy campsites shaded by oak trees. Each site has a 30-amp electric hookup, as well as picnic tables, grill and fire rings. There are no sewer hookups, but a dump station is nearby. Also on site are rest rooms, showers a boat ramp and a playground. Campsites are $23 per night with discounts for seniors and Orange County residents. Call 352-383-1993 for reservations up to 45 days in advance. The park is three miles from Mount Dora. Visit the web site: Orange County Parks
Kelly Park/Rock Springs Park (Orange County), 400 E. Kelly Park Road, Apopka, FL 32712. The focal point of this 245-acre park is Rock Spring, but the campground is one of my favorites. There are 26 campsites, and every one of them is spacious, clean and well-shaded. There is a centrally located restroom with showers, and each site has a fire ring, grill, table, water and electric. No sewer hookups, but a dump station is nearby. Call the park office at 407-889-4179 for reservations up to 45 days in advance. This park is 12 miles from Mount Dora. Read the related Florida Rambler article: Best Camping Near Orland0: Kelly Park hideaway
Wekiwa Springs State Park (Florida State Park), 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, FL 32712. This beautiful state park has its own spring, which merges with Rock Spring Run to form the Wekiva River. An easy 16-mile drive through Apopka to Mount Dora makes it convenient. There are 60 campsites with water and electric hookups, a fire ring with grill and a picnic table. A dump station is on the premises, and there are two restrooms with showers. Pets are allowed. Reservations can be made online at Wekiva River Basin: A wild and scenic adventure
Lake Griffin State Park. (Florida State Park) 3089 US 441, Fruitland Park, FL 34731. Fishing for bass is the big attraction at this 500-acre oak-covered oasis. The shady full-facility campground features 40 well-buffered sites with electric, picnic table and campfire grills. No sewer hookups, but a dump station is available. Showers, restrooms and laundry facility are in the center of the campground. Pets are allowed. There is a boat ramp, and canoe rentals are available. Campsites are $18 per night, including water and electric. The park is 21 miles from Mount Dora, near Leesburg. Visit the Florida State Parks web site for more information.
Alexander Springs Recreation Area. (Ocala National Forest), 49525 County Road 445, Altoona, FL. If you are lucky enough to get a campsite here, and there were still sites available when I checked, you will find one of the most pristine sub-tropical environments you may ever experience. This campground is located in Ocala National Forest and worth a few extra (25) miles travel to Mount Dora. There are 66 paved and shady sites, but amenities are limited. There are no electric or sewer hookups, but there are restrooms with showers and a dump station on site. Pets are allowed. The sites are very reasonable $21 per night and reservations can be made by calling 877-444-6777, or you can book online at Recreation.gov www.recreation.gov. For more information, visit the Ocala National Park web site.
Other accommodations: There are also a number of bed and breakfasts, cottages and hotels in and around Mount Dora. For more information — and discounts — check out these listings for Mount Dora Hotels,
Resources for planning a visit to Mount Dora:
More about Mount Dora from Florida Rambler: 12 thing I love about Mount Dora
- Florida Rambler: Mount Dora’s major festivals
- Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce
- Renninger’s Antique Center
- Mount Dora event schedule
Things to do near Mount Dora
This region is full of state parks, state and national forests and hiking, biking and kayak trails. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Kayak Blackwater Creek and Lake Norris, splendid waterways near Mount Dora
- The West Orange Trail for bicycling
- Winter Garden and the historic Edgewater Hotel as a base.
- Kelly Park and Rock Springs Park
- Blue Spring State Park
- Ocala National Forest
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Bob Rountree is a beach bum, angler and camper who has explored Florida for decades. No adventure is complete without a scenic paddle trail or unpaved road to nowhere. Bob co-founded FloridaRambler.com with fellow journalist Bonnie Gross 14 years ago.