The most well-known waterway in Lake County was penned in the 1930s by a leading sports writer as “the most beautiful mile of water in the world.” Lined with towering cypress trees that are draped with Spanish moss, the Dora Canal is a safe haven for nesting ospreys, herons and egrets.
In the 1830s, the canal was not only popular for its natural beauty, but because the mile-long connection linked the two important lakes of Dora and Eustis. Bordering the two lakes are the cities of Eustis, Tavares and Mount Dora. Together the municipalities form the Golden Triangle area of Lake County. Each city sports its own heritage and quaint downtown district that are a hit with tourists.
Originally called the Elfin River, the Dora Canal was unofficially born in the late 1800s when the captain of a steamboat assembled a team of laborers to help make the waterway more passable.
Today, the Dora Canal, along with the nearby Dead River and Haynes Creek, are popular spots for guided scenic tours. Hundreds of tourists and locals each year take these enchanting cruises to view the waterways’ breathtaking beauty and wildlife.
Besides viewing wildlife such as otters, alligators and wading birds, visitors to the canal can also take note of the towering cypress trees, with some being 2,000 years old.