West Volusia, a hidden gem in the heart of Florida, offers experiences that capture the essence of the Sunshine State. Beyond its famous beaches and bustling theme parks lies a place where Old Florida meets a New Vibe. Situated between Daytona Beach and Orlando, West Volusia boasts a diverse array of attractions. From the mystical allure of Cassadaga’s spiritualist community to the natural serenity of Highland Park Fish Camp, West Volusia invites visitors to explore its natural landscapes, rich history, and local charm. Each destination within this enchanting area presents an opportunity to discover Florida’s hidden treasures, making West Volusia an ideal escape for those seeking authentic, off-the-beaten-path experiences.”
Highland Park Fish Camp in DeLand
Proudly frozen in time, Highland Park Fish Camp is an authentic haven carved out of the wilderness, perfect for both avid anglers and families seeking a day on the water. It doesn’t get more ‘Old Florida’ than this, with nearly 62 years as a family-owned fish camp, this quintessential Florida fishing experience is known for its pristine environment, abundant wildlife, and excellent catches.
Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Cassadaga
Known as the “Psychic Capital of the World,” this small community offers a truly otherworldly experience with its spiritualist meetings, psychic readings, and historic atmosphere. It’s a fascinating place for those interested in spiritualism or simply looking to explore something different. Sinatra’s Ristorante, located in the historic Cassadaga Hotel near camp, complements the mystique of Cassadaga with its inviting Italian cuisine and nightly entertainment.
The Gillespie Museum in DeLand
This often-overlooked museum on Stetson University’s campus is a treasure trove for geology and mineral enthusiasts. It houses one of the largest gem and mineral collections in the Southeast and offers an educational experience for visitors of all ages.
Blue Spring State Park in Orange City
While widely known for its manatee sightings in the winter, this park also offers beautiful, tranquil settings ideal for kayaking, hiking, and camping. It’s a fantastic launch for nature lovers looking to escape the hustle and bustle and for adventurers looking to explore the St. Johns River and its many tributaries.
Old Sugar Mill Restaurant at Deleon Springs State Park
While many flock to Deleon Springs for the crisp cooling waters, one of the big draws is the Culinary gem that is the Old Sugar Mill Restaurant. This historic eatery offers a classic Florida dining experience. Built inside a 100-year-old replica of an actual sugar mill, the restaurant is famous for its DIY pancake experience. Guests cook their own pancakes right at the table on built-in griddles, using homemade batter and a selection of fresh, local toppings. After enjoying their pancakes, visitors can explore the park’s stunning springs, where swimming, snorkeling, paddle boating and hiking are popular activities.
Lyonia Preserve in Deltona
Part of the larger Lyonia Environmental Center, this 360-acre preserve offers a view into Florida’s native ecosystems, making it ideal for wildlife enthusiasts. With well-maintained trails winding through Florida scrub habitat, it serves as both a home and sanctuary for the threatened Florida scrub jay. The preserve provides guided tours, interactive exhibits, and tranquil escapes from the bustling tourist spots.
Barberville Pioneer Settlement
This living history settlement is a hidden gem for history buffs. It offers a glimpse into 19th-century Florida life with its historic buildings, artifacts, and interactive demonstrations.
Lake Helen’s Historic District
Known for its charming Victorian architecture, Lake Helen provides a picturesque setting. A drive through its meandering streets and around the namesake lake offers a dreamy backdrop to your day. Dine at the local favorite Papa’s Pizza, a family-owned slice of Lake Helen’s small-town culture.