Great Small Cities: Clermont, Florida

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Pond

Gently rolling emerald hills, sparkling topaz lakes, and a glittering aquamarine sky … know where you are? You are in Clermont, Florida! Yes, Clermont – while Florida is a notoriously flat state, the landscape around Clermont is surprisingly hilly, giving it the moniker, “gem of the hills.” And with the gem-like hues that blend into the surroundings, it’s easy to see why this nickname came about.

Clermont is peppered with lakes, both large and small. Just a few of the named lakes in and around the city include Lake Apopka, Lake Minneola, Lake Minnehaha, Lake Winona, Lake Palatlakaha, Johns Lake, Lake Louisa, Lake Noelle, Lake Susan, Crescent Lake, Ralph Lake, Saw Mill Lake, Lake Glona, Lake Felter, Lost Lake, Jacks Lake, and Wilma Lake. And that’s just some of the named lakes. If you leave your apartment in Clermont and head in any direction, you’ll find a lake in a matter of minutes.

Located due west of Orlando, Clermont is centrally located to both the Gulf Coast and the East Coast of Florida. In a little over an hour, you can enjoy the calm, turquoise waters along the white, sandy beaches of the Gulf or having fun in the tumbling, wild surf of the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast beaches. All of Orlando’s famous theme parks, including Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios are minutes away, as is Downtown Orlando.

But while being close to everything, Clermont is horse country. This community is dotted with lush, green pastures, picket fences, and plenty of horses. Clermont has a beautiful historic downtown (the city was established in 1884) and the iconic Florida Citrus Tower, an area landmark that rises 226 feet in the air. It is Florida’s highest observation point, and when it was built in 1956, it was so visitors could see the acres and acres of orange groves that surrounded it. Today, visitors see a more town-like landscape. The museum includes a banquet hall, a wishing well, and the Presidents Hall of Fame.

Because of its proximity to Downtown Orlando and the beautiful landscape, Clermont has been growing by leaps and bounds – or at a rate of 207 percent between 2000 and 2010. Along with the population boom, the city has seen quite a bit of growth with shops, restaurants, and businesses springing up, as well. Clermont Landings was built about five years ago and includes a movie theater and shops.

While Clermont is a fairly laid-back community, there’s plenty to see and do. Of course, with the gorgeous weather, outdoor activities are top of the list. Residents of Clermont enjoy boating and fishing, hiking, and sunbathing. Lake Louisa State Park has a swimmable lake, a fully-equipped campground, horseback riding, canoeing, fishing, hiking, and kayaking. Other area parks include Seminole State Forest, Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park, Wekiwa Springs State Park, and Lake Apopka Recreation Area. Golfers will enjoy the nearby Sugarloaf Mountain Golf and Town Club.

With a history dating back to the late 1800s, Clermont’s downtown area is a must-visit. The Historic Village includes the 1895 Townsend House, the 1885 Kern House, a Quonset Hut, and the Depot Building which has been converted to a visitor’s center with a picnic area, concessions, and a meeting room.

Of course, being just north of Disney World and minutes from Downtown Orlando, this Central Florida city’s biggest draw (aside from those gorgeous lakes and horse farms) is its location. Head downtown to see the Orlando Magic play basketball, enjoy the shops and attractions along International Drive, or spend the day exploring a theme park.

Perched in the gentle hills of Central Florida is a stunning jewel … a small, lake-encrusted city that’s set just slightly above all of the tourist attractions, the busy-but-beautiful city of Orlando, and the sun-soaked, fun-filled coastlines. Clermont’s population is booming because this beautiful location has it all. If you’re ready to discover all the facets of the “gem of the hills,” find your Clermont apartment and get ready to be dazzled!