Mark J. Barrett / Alamy

A rider’s paradise in Central Florida.

Travel + Leisure
February 21, 2012

This area has a southern vibe, thanks to its undulating hills, cow pastures, expansive national forest (home to 600 lakes), and—most notably—horse farms. That’s right: Thoroughbred horses are born and trained at the stud farms in and around the city. Beeline to the ones that offer rides for an idyllic country-inspired escape.

Young's Paso Fino Ranch

Not all the stud farms allow riding, but this one does. Ninety-minute rides are preceded by a full instruction run-through; the smart, docile horses amble calmly along the marked trails.

Richard's Place

Come in for hearty American diner breakfasts.

Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille

Order the toothsome gumbo at this branch of the New Orleans–themed Floridian chainlet on the central square.

Seven Sisters Inn

Splurge for the night in downtown’s historic district. The wacky but endearing B&B hidden in an 1888 Queen Anne Victorian has 13 antique-filled rooms, five with destination themes, including chinoiserie for China, a bijoux floral Paris apartment, and horse-inspired décor for Argentina.

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