Winter Garden Florida seemed like just another town on our map.
Until recently, that is. In the three years since we transplanted to Central Florida we’ve done a lot of exploring. But it wasn’t until I had three friends (in so many weeks) RAVE to me about this “charming” little town they had discovered, that I decided to check out Historic Downtown Winter Garden.
But was it kid friendly?
I wasn’t sure. None of the people who recommended Winter Garden’s Historic Downtown to me had young kids, so I did a little research to make sure it wasn’t too fancy for our active girls. While there are some nice restaurants and shops, overall it seemed pretty relaxed and low key.
There’s also a popular Farmer’s Market every Saturday – and that (along with the enthusiastic recommendations of my friends) was enough to make us grab our day pack, load up the family, and head out for a day in Historic Downtown Winter Garden.
The Winter Garden Farmer’s Market is Awesome.
Located in the Downtown Pavilion, the market is spacious and welcoming. As you can see, it’s also kid and pet friendly. There’s wide paths between stalls, easy stroller access, and lots of places to rest in the shade. I was honestly surprised at how many families with young kids were there, until I discovered,
There’s also a FREE Splash Pad right next to the Market.
Our girls were totally thrilled about that! The splash area was a total surprise to us, so we hadn’t packed bathing suits. We did let them play for a bit – there was plenty of time to dry off in the sun while we wandered the market. Next time we’ll pack a lunch, and plan on some real soaking wet fun!
There are a ton of vendors with everything from fresh fruit and flowers, to gourmet treats and jewelry. Towards the back end of the farmer’s market, there’s a covered patio with a huge selection of fresh fruits and veggies — right next to this is the public bathrooms. (Always handy to know!) There was also some comfortable seating in the shade, right in the center of the market.
After the Farmer’s Market, we headed to Harry & Larry’s BBQ for lunch.
But we totally had to stop and check out this kid-friendly train display in a storefront on our way there.
As you can see, it was a hit for several of the kids passing by. There’s actually little buttons where the kids can turn the trains on themselves — and we stayed there for quite awhile just to watch the fun!
Harry & Larry’s BBQ is a true, hole-in-the-wall restaurant. We walked past the entrance twice, trying to find our way in! The relaxed atmosphere and kid friendly food options made it the perfect place for us to relax for a bit. It did take awhile for the food to get to our table, but it was worth the wait. We loved checking out the fun vintage style decor while we waited.
When our meal came, we dug in before I remembered to take pictures! The food was yummy though – you’ll just have to try it out for yourself.
The Centennial Plaza Fountain was actually our favorite part of Winter Garden’s Historic Downtown.
It’s circled by benches and swings, and is nicely shaded. Such a pretty spot! We actually spent quite a while there. The girls were happy to play around the fountain, and we were happy to sit and chat. When I looked over our pictures from the day, I could see the relaxation in our faces:
It’s hard not to be relaxed though, when you’re surrounded by this:
While we were hanging out by the fountain, we saw people walking by with these huge, delicious looking ice cream cones. When we were planning our day, the girls decided that finding an awesome ice cream shop was the one thing they really wanted to do on this particular day trip.
Scoops Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop totally fit the bill.
There were so many flavors of ice cream to choose from – and the cones were HUGE. Definitely more than we could eat! On our way into the store, I could hear people outside raving about how good the ice cream was. And it was totally delicious. And check out the old fashioned charm!
Scoops is located on the ground floor of the historic Edgewater Hotel, which now functions as a bed and breakfast. We accidentally exited out the back door of the ice cream shop and found ourselves in the old hotel lobby – it felt like we were transported back in time! I had to snap a few photos:
Historic Winter Garden Florida turned out to be a surprisingly relaxing and kid friendly destination for us.
We could have spent another hour at least at the splash pad, and barely scratched the surface of the Farmers Market. The Heritage Museum and the Central Florida Railroad Museum are both places we would have liked to explore, but our kiddos totally ran out of steam. We’ll have to hit them next time, I guess!
All in all, it was an awesome way to spend a Saturday in another one of our everyday adventures!
Jamie Siebens is a freelance writer and owner of Always-an-Adventure.com, a blog focused on living intentionally and finding beauty in the everyday adventures of life. When she’s not behind a computer screen, you can find her with her husband and two daughters enjoying their current adventure – turning a former 1890’s one room schoolhouse and town hall into their cozy family home.