Blue Spring State Park is the winter home of manatees and the summer hot spot for scuba diving, fishing, camping, hiking and wildlife viewing. Whether you run the spring in a canoe or find a quiet place for a picnic, this first-magnitude spring will get you back in touch with nature. Spend the weekend getting to know Central Florida’s wild side when you stay at these hotels near Blue Spring State Park.
Hontoon Landing Resort & Marina gets you as close to staying on the St Johns River without getting your pillow wet. These modest units were designed for those who plan on spending as little time as possible indoors. You’re welcome to hang out at the pool or use your in-room kitchen to cook up your fresh catch, but most visitors launch their boats from the marina and head out to follow the river down to Blue Spring State Park.
The Ann Stevens House is a 19th-century home that is just begging for you to sip a glass of sweet tea on their porch. Each guest room in the historical house has a private bathroom, while the 20th-century carriage house features rooms with private patios. You’re always welcome to mix it up with locals at Webster’s Tavern behind the Stevens House. You could also pop down to the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp for a psychic reading. No need for reservations – they already know you’re coming.
It’s been 100 years since the DeLand Hotel welcomed its first guests, and much of the hotel and its hospitality has remained the same. The modern room amenities offset the original architecture, allowing you to admire the Roaring ’20s aesthetic while still getting good wifi on your phone. Light up a cigar or inhale a snifter of scotch at Hemingway’s before heading out to the wine bars, art galleries and coffee houses along Woodland Boulevard.
The Historic Artisan Downtown Hotel helps DeLand – known as the “Athens of Florida” – retain the city’s architectural awesomeness with its restored 1920s building. Exposed brick and hardwood floors will warm you up faster than the bottle of champagne in the mini-fridge. The locals will insist that you try a martini in the downstairs Lounge, but we think that a well-read book from the library and the soft embrace of a plush robe is the best way to spend an evening.
The Westin knows you want to be close to Florida’s natural beauty, though also understands your need for creature comforts. Surrounded by shopping and only minutes to Blue Spring State Park and Rock Springs Run State Preserve, the Westin’s minimalist guest rooms won’t clutter your mind or your space. Crisp linens, efficient work desks and natural light create a clean and comfortable stay that’ll leave you well rested for a day of exploring the natural springs that dominate the area.
Snagging a bed on UCF’s campus is hard to come by, especially one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Celeste is the only hotel on-campus and delivers an A+ experience. Cosmic decor, interpretive art installations and a future-forward design – no doubt influenced by the tech-driven coeds next door – creates an ultra-modern aesthetic that pleases the astronauts, cosmonauts and citronauts of the area. Grab a Milky Way cocktail at the Lobby Bar, then take one giant leap across the street to Lazy Moon Pizza for astronomical slices.
Where UCF is modern and massive, the Alfond Inn will introduce you to the ritzy and reserved campus of Rollins College. From the curated contemporary art collection to the upscale Southern fare at Hamilton’s, this hotel earns its Winter Park address before you even set foot in a room. The true Alfond experience involves a lay by the sun-soaked pool and tour of the neighboring campus – but for us, we’re sold on the in-room wine tap.
Though only a few square miles of mostly shopping and residential blocks, Hilton will show you why Altamonte Springs is a great basecamp for exploring downtown Orlando and the green spaces in the north. The hotel has plenty of perks, like an outdoor pool and fitness center, but proximity makes this hotel a standout. Blue Springs State Park and Disney Springs are only a half-hour away in either direction via Interstate 4.
If you can keep a secret, Park Place Inn and Cottages will share a special part of Central Florida with you. These charming suites, each decorated with the same elegance and attention to detail that your mom would use, surround a quiet patio and lovely chef’s garden. No need to drive down to Orlando proper for food and fun. Downtown Sanford is a short walk away, granting you lakefront dining, craft beer tasting and some of the best German cuisine in the state at Hollerbachs.
Orlando has no shortage of hotels, but if you’re after something with more privacy you’ll want to see the best apartments in the area, now bookable via Culture Trip. Whether you’re looking for an adventure or to relax, the beaches and cycling trails in and around Orlando won’t disappoint.
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