Are you coming to YWAM Orlando to do a Discipleship Training School? If so, you’ll be excited to know that there are a lot of fun things to do around here.
YWAM Orlando is actually nestled into the edge of a little town called Montverde, about 30 minutes from the city of Orlando. This means that trips to Orlando during the weekend are quite doable for most people, and a host of other smalltown and outdoors activities are just a few minutes away.
We asked a few of our staff and friends for help making a list of fun things to do around YWAM Orlando, and they were delighted to oblige!
This list just scratches the surface of some of the fun activities near Montverde. Of course, all of these things are better with community, and during your Discipleship Training School you’ll be making friends with adventurous people from around the world.
Read on to see some of our staff and student favorites!
We’re huge fans of coffee, so much so that we run an on-campus shop, the Depot Coffee Co., and we even run a quarterly Barista Elective that you can do in addition to a Discipleship Training School. But sometimes it’s nice to get off campus for your coffee. Here are some of our favorite coffee shops near YWAM in Montverde.
- Axum Coffee: Axum is about 15 minutes away in the beautiful town of Winter Garden. They serve excellent pour overs, and have an upbeat atmosphere that encourages you to stay a while, either indoors or outside. If you’re up for it, you can even take your coffee on a stroll in the beautiful downtown area that’s marked with beautiful gardens and a fountain. We’re such big fans that Axum Coffee is our main supplier of coffee beans for the Depot Coffee Co.
- Mountaineer Coffee: Located at the foot of Clermont’s iconic Citrus Tower, Mountaineer is just a few minutes from the campus. You can take your coffee up into the Citrus Tower and look out over some of Florida’s most mountainous terrain.
- Deeply Coffee: Deeply is a special place, and a favorite destination of coffee connoisseurs. Bring some friends and enjoy one of Deeply’s savory waffles, along with their awesome pour overs, yummy nitro cold brew, and some of the best espresso drinks you’ve ever had, thanks to their Kees van der Westen - a super special espresso machine that can only be found in a few coffee shops in North America.
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Montverde is just a few minutes from the town of Clermont, which happens to be the triathlon capital of the world - so there are a ton of beautiful lakeside bike trails and footpaths. Nearby you can find a handful of nature preserves, springs, and lakeside beaches and swimming areas.
- Lake Minneola: Known by locals as “Sweet Tea Lake” because its waters have a pretty, reddish hue, Lake Minneola is the most local place to go to have a relaxing beach experience. Of course, this “beach” is on a lake, and not the ocean, so there aren’t many waves to be had; but most of the year the water is wonderfully warm, and there are many meters of shallows that you can wade out into before you’re in water that’s deep enough to swim. There’s plenty of space for open water swimming, and a trail runs along the lake for runners and cyclists.
- Wekiwa Springs: A little bit further away is Wekiwa Springs, a Florida state park just outside of Orlando. You can picnic and hike in the park or go swimming and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters that are 72 degrees year-round.
- Oakland Preserve: Just a few minutes down the road from the campus is the Oakland Preserve, a great place for students with families and small children. There are a few miles of trails, many of which are on a boardwalk through the swamp. On the edge of the Lake is an alligator lookout where you’re sure to see gators, big and small.
Food and Dining
Of course no list of activities near YWAM Orlando would be complete without some of our favorite places to grab some grub. If you love good eats, read on!
- Taco Norteno: Less than 20 minutes away, and with a cult-like following from YWAM Orlando staff and students, Taco Norteno is a go-to place for an authentic taco experience.
- Donut King: The Donut King is pretty famous around YWAM Orlando, and their donuts frequently show up at school celebrations and get-togethers. They have so many, many wonderful donuts. If you have a sweet tooth or a penchant for pastries, you’ll have to check this place out.
- Thai Blossom: For a tasty treat, Thai food can be found not-too-far away in downtown Winter Garden.
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We’ve already mentioned a few things to do in Winter Garden, but this beautiful town is such a wonderful place to hang out that it deserves its own category.
- The Garden and Fountain: In the center of Winter Garden’s brick-paved downtown is a huge median with a fountain and swings. Rose bushes abound and trellises host climbing flowers that bloom almost year-round. Down the way is a gazebo where you’ll often find live music playing. The West Orange Trail runs by the fountain - and almost all the way to the YWAM Orlando campus in Montverde. Across from the fountain, you can find an ice cream parlor and a chocolate shop, so grab your treats and come sit by the water.
- Lake Apopka: Winter Garden sits near the edge of Lake Apopka, so you don’t have to venture far from downtown to find the pier that extends far into the lake’s waters. It’s a beautiful place to catch a sunrise or spend a cool evening with friends.
- Rosallie Le French Cafe: Rosallie’s is a nice place to go with a friend when you want a coffee and a pastry and to stay a while. There’s fun seating in the back with an eclectic set of couches and chairs.
- The Farmer’s Market: Every Saturday morning at the Winter Garden pavilion you’ll find the Farmer’s Market packed with food trucks, artisan food, tasty snacks, art, and of course, lots of fresh produce. Live music and a cool morning breeze add to this super fun experience. You’ll want to bring some friends and plan on spending the morning there.
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Tommy Rutt | YWAM Orlando Staff
Feature Image By: Wil Stewart of Unsplash