With so many things to do along the coast to the west of the Villages of Citrus Hills, it can be easy to overlook some of the fun and historic day trips that exist with destinations located more inland. One such location is the town of Floral City, which does a perfect job of combining the history of old Florida with modern activities and fun!
Floral City is located less than 30 minutes southeast of the Villages of Citrus Hills. The town gets its name from the large number of wild flowers that visitors will see populating the area. It was originally developed as a phosphate mining town, and at one time Floral City was bigger than Miami. While things have changed from a population perspective, the town of Floral City still holds much of the same historic charm that visitors are looking for!
Arriving in Floral City
As you arrive in Floral City, you will be greeted by the incredible site of large oak trees that are more than 100 years old lining both sides of the road. The downtown area is filled with exactly the type of quaint stores that you would expect to find in an old Florida town. Shops like Forgotten Treasures and Gifts and Frugal Frog sell all kinds of unique items that make the perfect gifts or souvenirs.
Art & History
One of the things that Floral City is best known for is its focus on the arts and its own history. Visitors will certainly want to check out the Floral City Artists Gallery, which proudly displays the work of local artists. The gallery might not seem like much from the outside, but art lovers will find themselves losing track of time and spending the better part of a day here.
If history is more appealing to you, head over to the Floral City Heritage Museum and you can learn more about the storied history of Floral City. In addition to telling the story of Floral City, the museum also hosts a rotating collection of traveling exhibits. The Country Store that is attached to the museum is also a great place to find all kinds of items relating to Floral City and Citrus County.
The Floral City Heritage Museum is run by the Floral City Heritage Council, who is also in charge of Floral City Heritage Days. This festival to honor the history of Floral City is held every year on the first weekend in December and is popular for food specials and historic reenactments.
Another popular attraction in Floral City is Ferris Groves, which has become one of the most famous roadside citrus operations in all of Florida. Ferris Groves has been in business ever since L.G. “Doc” Ferris started planting citrus trees there in 1931. Today, their roadside store sells many different types of fresh Florida citrus and also makes many specialty products from citrus. This is a great place to purchase and ship gift baskets of fruit to friends and family across the country.
Hit the Trail
If you are looking to do something a little more active in Floral City, you will want to keep in mind that the town is a great access point to The Withlacoochee State Trail.
The trail is 46 miles long, and because it was paved over old railroad tracks, it is incredibly level. Any paved trail that is both long and level just begs for bike riders, and visitors to Floral City will be delighted to find Hampton’s Edge Trailside Bicycles renting bikes right next to the trail!
Eating in Floral City
There are quite a few places to eat in Floral City, but two in particular tend to stand out to visitors on day trips. The must-see place for lunch in the area is Pudgees’ Hot Dog Stand. It might not look impressive, but this little outdoor restaurant makes some of the best Chicago-style and New York-style hot dogs in all of Florida. They also have an excellent cheeseburger, so this is a great option for lunch!
When dinnertime rolls around, another popular restaurant is the Shamrock Inn. This classic Irish pub is best known for its friendly staff and great service. They are well known for their wings, and the specials of the day are always great! There is also a path to the Withlacoochee State Trail from the restaurant, making this a great spot for a post-ride meal!
As you can see, whether you are interested in riding bicycles, viewing the work of local artists, studying the history of old Florida, or just looking for something good to eat, there is something in Floral City for everyone. It is the type of historic town that will keep visitors coming back over and over again.