Orlando is consistently ranked among the world’s top tourist destinations, and sometimes it seems impossible to catch your breath within the swarms of people and traffic. Are you looking for an escape from this hustle and bustle? Do you need a break from Disney? If so, you have to check out these charming towns near Orlando!

Charming Towns Near Orlando

Mount Dora

In my opinion, Mount Dora is the most charming town near Orlando. This lakefront getaway is known for its colorful Gothic architecture, cobblestone streets, unique shopping, trendy restaurants, and numerous bed-and-breakfast facilities. You can spend the day roaming Mount Dora’s tree-lined streets or take a stroll to Grantham Point Park to visit its iconic lighthouse. Those looking to really enjoy their day can take advantage of the town’s open-container laws and purchase alcoholic beverages at its many street bars. There is something for everyone in Mount Dora!


Sanford, located north of Orlando, is one of Florida’s oldest incorporated cities. Its historical downtown area boasts brick-lined streets, old-fashioned storefronts, and a scenic river walk. Visiting Sanford takes you back in time, as its shopping scene includes vintage bookstores, antique shops, and record shops. Sanford’s dining options are also like no other; you can eat inside an old jailhouse!

I took Katie, my cohost of the Runways and Byways Travel Podcast, to Sanford, and she thought it was so charming that she almost moved there (see the picture of her loving Sanford below!).


Celebration, founded by The Walt Disney Company, was specifically designed to be the perfect historical American small town. They did a great job, as my husband and I have both expressed that it feels like we are walking through a simulation! The downtown area of this master-planned community is welcoming and quaint, with trendy shops and restaurants lining the main street. In addition, Celebration’s Lake Rianhard is an excellent place to take a stroll and enjoy the local wildlife.

Winter Garden

Although downtown Winter Garden may be the smallest of the bunch, it has so much to offer. Plant Street is home to numerous local restaurants, unique shops, and even a few museums! It is even more lovely during the holiday season, as beautifully decorated trees and colorful lights line the streets.

Additionally, Winter Garden hosts an award-winning farmers market, which takes place every Saturday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Downtown Pavillion (104 S. Lakeview Avenue). It doesn’t get much more charming than that!


Located west of Orlando, Clermont is known for its rolling hills and pristine lakes. This up-and-coming town transports you from city to country life, with Southern Hill Farms being one of its main attractions.

Which of these charming towns near Orlando will you visit first? Contact me or let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Alexandra Fiederlein

    I’d definitely like to check these places out next time I’m in Orlando. I went to Celebration and it felt like I was in a town from a movie! Clermont is at the top of my list for next time. So much more to Orlando than just Disney!

  2. Wow, I definitely want to know more about the Clermont place!!

  3. You’re spot on with your blog about these places. I’ve been to most of them. I’d love to check out Clermont some day.

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