If you visit the town of Mt. Dora, in Florida, there is one activity I highly recommend doing. Take a boat tour of Lake Dora and the Dora Canal. Premier Boat Tours offers and excellent choice of tours.
Lake Dora covers over 4000 acres in central Florida and it is a great boating and fishing site, although the alligators make swimming a bit iffy. Premier Boat tours offers three excursions every day, two full tours of the lake and canal, and one sunset cruise. Their base is on the grounds of The Lakeside Inn, and from there you will head off across Lake Dora. Our guide and captain were very knowledgable about the local history and wildlife.
The area is home to many kinds of birds, and also sits on the migration path of many more. On our trip, in early September, we encountered three species of heron, ibis, egrets, limpkin, and anhingas.
We also watched as a bald eagle flew from its perch on a lakeside tree, caught and fish, and returned to the tree to enjoy its meal.
The most interesting part of the tour was traveling along the Dora Canal. The canal connects Lake Dora and Lake Eustis. The Dora Canal is small, usually ranging between 10 and 20 meters wide, and about two miles in length. The cypress trees line the canal, with their Spanish moss laden branches hanging over the water. It is a slow moving part of the trip, as this is a “no wake” zone, and it is quiet. We sailed past the back yards of houses and through areas that felt as wild as the heart of the bayou, even though “civilization” is never far away.
After a brief turn-around in Lake Eustice, it is back down the canal to Lake Dora, and across the lake home to the Lakeside Inn. In all it about a 3-hour cruise, and a nice escape on the water.