Hotel at a Glance: The Nest on Lake Weir<p>
In the 1940s, a wealthy horse breeder built his “summer dream home” on Florida’s Lake Weir, incorporating cypress wood, lighting from a dismantled ship, and fireplaces made of native stone. Several decades and a few owners later, the estate—now a small inn made up of several cottages—still has a country charm to it. Cottage guest rooms have a shabby-chic aesthetic, with weathered-wood furnishings, frilly linens, and a shared lakefront deck. Guests spend their days swimming, kayaking, fishing, and boating, and at night, gather on the beach for cookouts and bonfires.<p>
- Boat party: This Getaway includes a 2-hour pontoon rental for up to 10 people
- What’s cookin’?: There’s a grilling area onsite, and some rooms feature kitchens with microwaves and refrigerators
- A private dock is onsite at the inn
- Enjoy a seafood feast at local joint Gator Joe’s, which has fried alligator tail and peel and eat shrimp
- Sand ‘n sun gear: beach chairs, umbrellas, and beach towels are all provided by the inn
- Horse country: The neighboring town of Ocala is known for its historical horse farms and international polo matches
Lake Weir, Florida: Residential Boating Town with Scenic Back Roads
Shady oak trees and Spanish moss line the city of Ocklawaha, a quiet boating community set on the banks of Lake Weir about 1.5 hours from Orlando. Residents and a handful of visitors flock to the 5,000-acre lake year-round to swim, sail, kayak, and fish. There’s beautiful scenery away from the water, too— people often take their motorcycles and vintage cars on a cruise through the scenic back roads, and or take their RVs to set up camp in the surrounding woodlands.
Twenty-five miles north in central Florida’s “Horse Country” is the Ocala National Forest, which encompasses 383,000 acres of lakes, rivers, and hiking trails. You’re also a short drive from Gainsville, home to the University of Florida Gators and its nearly 50,000 students.