15 Best Things To Do In The Villages, FL

things to do in the villages florida
Claire
Claire
Updated

Many visitors to Florida may flock to either Miami or Orlando. However, have you ever heard of The Villages? Unbeknownst to many, this great, quiet, safe town lies only an hour’s drive from Orlando and offers some relaxing recreation. It just so happens to be one of the fastest-growing US cities as well, so it’s beginning to lose its status as a best-kept secret. Book a stay in any of its best Vrbos and top vacation rentals, and take your time while visiting the area. Stroll through the state parks or beautiful town square, or take a night to visit a museum or playhouse!

Wondering what to do in The Villages? There are loads of activities here! Read on to check out the top things to do in The Villages, FL.

1. Walk through Lake Griffin State Park

Florida Lake Griffin State Park02
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ebyabe used under CC BY 2.5

Lake Griffin State Park offers 620 acres (250 hectares) of nature and space for wildlife; a great way to spend a day. Whether you’d like to be more active or not, the park offers hiking, fishing and a playground for kids as well as picnic areas, great spots to view wildlife, and even an amphitheater for various events. Lake Griffin itself is an impressive 9,400 acres (3,804 hectares), and visitors are able to rent canoes and kayaks to go out on the lake.

If one day isn’t enough for you, the park also has 40 campsites available with water and electricity, as well as showers, restrooms and laundry facilities. This park isn’t something to skip over, as it also is home to the second largest Live Oak tree in the state of Florida! You can find it at the end of the park’s nature trail, where it has become a special landmark within the park. Its age is estimated at an incredible 300 to 500 years old.

Lake Griffin State Park

Address: 3089 U.S. Highway 441-27, Fruitland Park, FL 34731

Website: Lake Griffin State Park

2. Learn about old-time farming at Paquette’s Historical Farmall Tractor Museum

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Whether you’re a farmer yourself or simply have a taste for some American farming history, the Paquette’s Historical Farmall Tractor Museum is a great spot to visit. The entire museum is dedicated to the preservation of international harvester equipment and hosts a variety of farming and construction equipment, including Farmall brand tractors. The museum itself is located on a beautiful farm near The Villages and provides a great scene of Florida separate from the typical sandy beaches most are used to.

The museum is open from 9 am to 4 pm Tuesday through Saturday, and admission is a suggested donation of 15 USD per person and is on par with some of the best The Villages activities for large groups, or families. Persons of 10 or more are able to enter the museum at a rate of 10 USD per person, and children under the age of 10 are free. If you’re lucky, you might also catch them during a time when one of their special events is happening, which includes tractor shows and other fun events.

Paquette’s Historical Farmall Tractor Museum

Address: 615 S Whitney Road, Leesburg, FL 34748

Website: Paquette’s Historical Farmall Tractor Museum

3. Spend a day at the Eisenhower Regional Recreation Center

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Eisenhower Regional Recreation Center is just one of the several recreational centers that The Villages have to offer, but it’s one of the biggest. At the center, you can choose to swim, indulge in some arts and crafts, play a variety of indoor and outdoor sports, dance and eat dinner in the restaurant lounge, or plan to attend one of the interest group meetings that occur often at the center. Admission and hours for the centers can vary, but The Villages’ entertainment schedule is available on their website.

Eisenhower Regional Recreation Center

Address: 3560 Buena Vista Blvd., The Villages, FL 32162

Website: Eisenhower Regional Recreation Center

4. Stroll along Spanish Springs Town Square

Abendkulisse in Spanish Springs, The Villages, Florida
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tetraeder used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Spanish Springs Town Square isn’t only a great spot to get in some walking and shopping - it also has a unique look and feel that’s different from many typical town squares. The Southwestern style might make you feel like you’re in a completely different state, but many of the local shops and stores are true to Florida. There is also a performing arts center and theater in the square that offer great shows, and the square itself hosts outdoor entertainment every day of the year.

Spanish Springs Town Square

Address: 1120 Main St, The Villages, FL 32159

Website: Spanish Springs Town Square

5. See a show at the Old Mill Playhouse

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Old Mill Playhouse may not be true to its name anymore, but viewing a movie there feels like taking a seat back in history. The old playhouse still has a unique architectural style, and may prove to be cozier than a modern-day movie theatre. You can catch the latest movies here for a relaxing night or date!

Old Mill Playhouse

Address: 1000 Old Mill Run, The Villages, FL 32162

Website: Old Mill Playhouse

6. Shop on the lake at Lake Sumter Landing Market Square

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Lake Sumter Landing Market Square is another spot for shopping and eating that comes with a great atmosphere and unique style. Situated directly on the water, the cluster of restaurants and shops are reminiscent of a seaside village or fully lakefront town. Similar to Spanish Springs Town Square, Lake Sumter Landing also offers free nightly entertainment year-round.

Lake Sumter Landing Market Square

Address: 1000 Lake Sumter Landing, The Villages, FL 32162

Website: Lake Sumter Landing

7. Enjoy the serene Sharon Rose Wiechens Preserve

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Sharon Rose Wiechens Preserve was opened recently in 2015, and it is now The Villages’ largest nature preserve out of the 11 available. It encompasses 624 acres (252 hectares) and most notably includes a gopher tortoise preserve. It’s a great spot to see a very wide variety of Floridian plant species, as more than one million have been installed before its opening. The preserve is a great place for some peace and quiet if you want some contrast from all of the nightly entertainment happening at The Villages.

Sharon Rose Wiechens Preserve

Address: Moyer Loop, The Villages, FL 32163

Website: Sharon Rose Wiechens Preserve

8. Don't forget to visit Brownwood Paddock Square

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you’re ready for another themed night on the town, head to Brownwood Paddock Square. In contrast to the Spanish Springs and Lake Sumter squares, this area invokes a theme reminiscent of an early 19th-century Florida cattle town, which The Villages very well might have been back in the day. The log cabin-style stage in the middle of more restaurants, shops, and theaters houses even more nightly entertainment. You can even make a plan to hop around The Villages’ entertainment town squares in order to catch the best entertainment of the night.

Brownwood Paddock Square

Address: 2705 Brownwood Blvd, The Villages, FL 32163

Website: Brownwood Paddock Square

9. Watch an indie film at Barnstorm Theater

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Grab your popcorn and drinks and have a slow and relaxing day. Enjoy a movie date or night out with your loved ones and visit Barnstorm Theater. This one-of-a-kind theater mostly shows indie films and some old-time favorites. Take your family, friends, or significant other on a private premier, since the place can also be rented out for private events. What’s even better is that the place has an assistive moviegoing experience with devices for those who are hearing and visually impaired. So it truly is for everyone. Make sure to drop by Barnstorm Theater when in The Villages, Florida.

Barnstorm Theater

Address: 2720 Brownwood Blvd, The Villages, FL 32163, United States

Website: Barnstorm Theater

10. Celebrate sport and dig in for wings at Gator's Dockside - Brownwood

Hot Wings - The Session Room - Omaha, NE (In Explore 03/06/18)
Source: Photo by Flickr user Shelby L. Bell used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Have a grand time at Gator’s Dockside - Brownwood. Serving great food and drinks, the place is a local favorite. With amazing food promos for lunches, drinks, and even kid’s meals, this place is a must-visit in The Villages. They have “Happy Hours”, “Loyalty Lunches” and “Kid’s Night” where one kid can enjoy a meal for free for every paying adult. It gets even better since they also offer 75-cent wings. Every weekend, college football and NFL Sunday Ticket & Specials are available for sports enthusiasts. Gator’s Dockside is a fun place to dine for families, friends, and sports fans.

Gator's Dockside - Brownwood

Address: 3698 Meggison Rd, The Villages, FL 32163, United States

Website: Gator’s Dockside - Brownwood

Opening hours: 11am - 12pm (daily)

11. Create memories with a beer at World of Beer

Beer and burger #burger #beer
Source: Photo by Flickr user Earls37a used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

World of Beer is a vibrant and welcoming gastropub located in Brownwood Paddock Square, The Villages. Whether you are a fan of craft beer or looking for delicious pub food, this is the place to be to have a memorable evening with the gang. Crispy tater tots and mouth-watering pretzels are in high demand amongst the locals, as are the burgers off the grill and their high-quality beer - all served by exceptionally friendly and attentive staff. When you stop by The Villages, make sure you don’t miss World of Beer.

World of Beer

Address: 2751 W Torch Lake Dr, The Villages, FL 32163, United States

Opening hours: 11am - 9pm (daily)

12. Take a jog at Lake Miona Fitness Trail

Jogger
Source: Photo by Flickr user Aarni Heiskanen used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Need a place to lightly jog or work up a sweat while in The Villages? Lake Miona is simply stunning, and so are the views as you walk or jog around it. Fresh green grass, serene trees, and flowers dot the path around the picturesque lake, and there are comfortable benches to rest on. There is even outdoor fitness equipment that anyone can use. Whether looking to get in shape or just enjoy the views on a contemplative stroll, Lake Miona Fitness Trail has what you need.

Lake Miona Fitness Trail

Address: Buena Vista Blvd, The Villages, FL 32162, United States

13. Splurge on unique gifts at The Rustic Rose

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If souvenirs are what you need, look no further than The Rustic Rose. This quirky gift shop has a cornucopia of intricate trinkets, statues, carvings, and stunning artworks. Garden decorations, candles, mantelpiece adornments, and even mesmerizing jewelry can be found here. Although some of these items come at a steep price, you can rest easy that you are getting premium craftsmanship. With so much to choose from, you are sure to find something unique to bring back for your loved ones.

The Rustic Rose

Address: 3646 Kiessel Rd, Wildwood, FL 34785, United States

Website: The Rustic Rose

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat: 10am - 4pm; Sun: 12pm - 4pm

14. Say your prayers at Hope Lutheran Church

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Hope Lutheran Church is an impressive house of worship located at 250 Avenida Los Angelos, right in The Villages. Large and with plenty of space, the entire facility is one of the centers of community life – especially around the holidays. Outside of church services, Hope Lutheran Church uses its many rooms to host a plethora of classes and some are also used as banquet halls. They run a number of local events and activities, much to the delight of the locals. Whether you want to pop in for a religious sermon, or just want to meet the community, this gorgeous church is worth a visit.

Hope Lutheran Church

Address: 250 Avenida Los Angelos, The Villages, FL 32162, United States

Website: Hope Lutheran Church

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 8am - 4:30pm; Fri: 8am - 4pm; Sat: 4pm - 5pm, 6pm - 7pm; Sun: 8am - 9am, 9:45am - 10:45am, 11:30am - 12:30pm

15. Enjoy a picnic with a lake view at Schwartz Park

Roath Park 051120 2417
Source: Photo by Flickr user Richard Szwejkowski used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Looking for the perfect picnic spot while in The Villages? Schwartz Park has just what you need. Vibrant green grass is surrounded by gorgeous trees and picturesque homes, while in the middle sits a serene lake. Several wooden decks with gazebo roofs dot the shores, each with ample seating for family picnics or private contemplation. Take advantage of this stunning lakeside park in the historic part of The Villages to spend some quality time with friends and family.

Relax and unwind both day and night

The Villages encompass a unique Florida vacation where you can get all the sun and relaxation you need while never stepping foot on a beach. The town will also ensure you’re never bored, with so much to do both day and night.

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Best Things To Do In The Villages, Florida
Source: Trip101

Frequently asked questions about the best things to do in The Villages, FL

1. What are the best attractions to visit in The Villages?

The best attractions to visit in The Villages include Lake Griffin State Park, Eisenhower Regional Recreation Center, and Spanish Springs Town Square. Make sure you stop by these places while on vacation in The Villages.

2. What are the best outdoor activities in The Villages?

Some of the best outdoor activities in The Villages include strolling and walking around Lake Griffin State Park and Eisenhower Regional Recreation Center, as well as watching some outdoor entertainment in Spanish Springs Town Square.

3. What are the most popular things to do in The Villages with kids and family?

Some of the most popular things to do with kids and families in The Villages include catching a show in Old Mill Playhouse, shopping around Lake Sumter Landing Market Square, and enjoying a hearty meal at Gator’s Dockside - Brownwood.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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