Things to Do Around Astor, Florida

by Nancy Hayden
Tours from Astor can allow visitors to see Florida wildlife such as manatees.

Tours from Astor can allow visitors to see Florida wildlife such as manatees.

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Astor is a small community along the St. Johns River in Central Florida's Lake County. It is a picturesque region that has a wide range of vacation rental homes. The area is an idyllic place for a quiet, relaxing visit, with many of the local activities taking place outdoors.

Blackwater Inn

Blackwater Inn (blackwaterinn.com) is one of the community's main eateries, in the heart of Astor along the banks of the river. The lower floor is the restaurant, which has a bar decor with walls covered with photos and old promotional signs. It serves a quality seafood menu of fresh oysters, catfish, Canadian sea scallops and frog's legs. Those looking for a more relaxed bar atmosphere can head upstairs to William's Landing, which also serves a basic bar menu.

St. Johns River Tours

Visitors to Astor can take a guided river cruise tour. St. Johns River Tours (stjohnsrivertours.com) runs daily seasonal boat trips from Astor, visiting various tributaries; wildlife tours offer the chance to see manatees, alligators and bald eagles. Other tour trips include visits to local scallop beds, where visitors can learn to dive for scallops.

Lake George State Forest

A short drive east over the river from Astor is Lake George State Forest. It is a 21,176-acre park filled with hiking and horse riding trails. Native wildlife include eagles, bobcats, white-tail deer and, in some areas, black bear. Bluffton recreation area, just across the river and a few miles south of Astor, offers camp sites, fishing areas and places to use canoes and john boats.

Alexander Springs Recreation Area

A short nine miles southwest of Astor is another wilderness area known as Alexander Springs. It is a 7,941-acre forest with few terrestrial trails. It is best explored by boat, following the spring runs to see wildlife such as alligators, otters, deer and native wading birds by kayak or canoe. The spring's recreation area centers around a natural pool with clean and clear spring water that remains naturally at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Some hiking, cycling and fishing areas are in the area.

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