COMMUNITY PROFILES / ORANGE COUNTY

County Offices
201 South Rosalind
Orlando 407-836-3111
www.orangecountyfl.net

Chamber of Commerce
74 S. Ivanhoe Boulevard
Orlando 407-425-1234
https://orlando.org/

Anchored by the City of Orlando, Orange County is a vibrant region that features everything from the convenience of urban development and world-class tourist attractions to small-town charm and rural landscapes of open space or shimmering lakes. The spirit of welcome and the attitude of expansion that is the hallmark of Orange County is embodied in the miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty that graces downtown Orlando.

Orange County was nothing more than agricultural land with a few sleepy small towns until Walt Disney began purchasing thousands of acres of pine-clad woods and cattle ranches in the late 1960s. The entertainment mogul selected Orlando and
Orange County for an amusement park that would mirror Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Anaheim, California. Disney World was soon followed by other lavish entertainment centers. Today, nearly 40 million annual visitors make Orange County in Central Florida the number one tourist destination in the world.

Services
Anchored by the City of Orlando, Orange County is a vibrant region that offers everything from the glitter of urban development to mall-town charm and rural landscapes. As you might expect from a region that leads the world in tourism and hospitality, Orange County enjoys a robust economy. Thousands of people support major attractions like Disney World and Epcot, SeaWorld of Florida, and Universal Studios, Florida. Hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment centers, water parks, shopping centers and malls are all prolific in Orlando. Although the majority of county residents are employed in some aspect of the service industry, the number of people who work in high-tech environments is equally impressive and continues to grow. In recent decades, industries like aerospace, light manufacturing, retail, construction, computer support, and electronics have all flourished. The once-strong citrus industry has waned, although orchards still thrive in some rural areas.

With the rapid influx of newcomers, the Orange County Public Schools has grown into one of the Florida’s largest districts and one of the county’s largest employers. More than 150,000 students attend the district’s schools, while thousands of others prefer one of the area’s private schools, both parochial and independent. Education in Orange County is progressive and comprehensive, including facilities dedicated to alternative or exceptional programs, adult vocational and technical schools, and several community education centers. Welcoming approximately 5,000 new and transfer students each year, this growing area is constantly upgrading, expanding, and improving its resources

In addition to the University of Central Florida in Orlando, acclaimed for its academic excellence and research prowess, the county offers a number of private colleges and universities close to home. Florida Metropolitan University in Orlando is the state’s second largest private university. The University of Phoenix caters to working adults who are seeking first or second degrees including doctorates. Barry University offers graduate schools in law and education. Rollins College enjoys an exceptional ranking among southern universities, enriching the community of Winter Park culturally as well as educationally.

Orange County is a mecca of premier healthcare institutions, including some of the nation’s finest specialty institutions. Orlando’s two major hospitals — Florida Hospital and the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Women — maintain a strong focus on the care of patients under 18 years of age. U.S. News & World Report ranked Orlando Regional Medical Center as one of the nation’s top 100 hospitals in cardiology and cardiac care, pulmonary care, and gastroenterology. Large healthcare systems that managed several institutions in the region ensure a comprehensive, well-managed, state-of-the-art approach to meeting healthcare needs. Wellness programs are common, including fitness centers and community education.

Lifestyle
Changing its complexion in the face of phenomenal growth and expansion within a few short decades, Orange County is a diverse blend of urban cityscapes, cities, towns, rural communities, and sprawling enclaves. Many communities are still unincorporated but offer all the amenities and small-town spirit of a self-contained village. Winter Garden, Apopka, and Windermere are among the communities in the county’s western quadrant. Disney’s Lake Buena Vista lies in the southwest. Enjoying a centralized location within the county is Central Florida’s most famous city, Orlando, as well as the neighborhood of College Park and cities like Maitland or Winter Park. Many of these areas represent the fast-growing markets in residential and business sectors. The completion of the toll road known as the Central Florida Greeneway spurred growth in many outlying communities. Residents in the new developments near the University of Central Florida, for example, now enjoy a 20-minute commute to downtown Orlando. Other transportation improvements and road expansions have catalyzed massive subdivisions or planned communities and increased the census in existing towns.

Outdoor enjoyment and recreational amenities are part of the allure to Orange County, home to one of the state’s finest nature parks. Wekiva Springs State Park is situated just a few miles northwest of downtown Orlando, yet it boasts crystal clear spring waters, river canoeing or kayaking, nature trails, and full-service campsites. Close to home is one of the most popular places in the entire metropolitan area for walking, running, skating, or biking — the West Orange Trail that runs through Apopka. Between Orlando and Winter Park is the 3.5-mile Cady Way trail, attracting throngs of weekend bikers, hikers, and skaters.

Natural beauty is an Orange County legacy, encouraging the preservation of 12,000 scenic acres in over 35 parks. The City of Orlando alone boasts more than 83 lakes. In this region filled with rivers and lakes, water sports like jet skiing, boating, and even cave diving provide an endless array of adventures. Spectator sports can be equally exciting, from professional sports teams to collegiate competition and famous sporting events. Preseason games, amateur teams, professional training camps, and even high school games keep fans cheering all year long. Orange County is also home to legendary golf courses where you might catch a glimpse of world-class professional players.

Culturally rich, the region is enhanced by the Orlando inspiration of United Arts of Central Florida, a group that raised $7 million in its first year and continues to drive the arts community to new heights. The organization supports funding efforts for local theater groups, dance troupes, and musical ensembles. A symphony orchestra, dinner theaters, Broadway shows, performing halls, art galleries, and fine museums ensure a calendar filled with special events. A shining jewel in the crown of the cultural community is the Orange County Regional History Center, a state-of-the-art museum in downtown Orlando that emerged from a $35-million-dollar renovation. Over 67,000 square feet of exhibit space enjoys the backdrop of Neoclassical Revival architecture.

With its internationally famous entertainment industry, diverse economy, family friendly environment, and superb quality of life, Orange County is sure to maintain a leading position on every front as the new millennium unfolds. Everyone from young professionals and families with small children to retirees can find a community and housing selection tailored around their needs and lifestyle. The world’s most popular vacation destination is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s most enviable addresses.

Apopka
City Hall
407-703-1704
www.apopka.net

Chamber of Commerce
407-886-1441
www.apopkachamber.org

Known as the “indoor foliage capital of the world,” Apopka is a rapidly growing community that continues to attract beautiful new residential developments. This small city is credited with producing over 60 percent of the world’s foliage, utilizing over 30 million square feet of greenhouse space. With agricultural roots in the citrus industry, this city just 15 minutes from Orlando still claims significant revenue from surrounding orchards. Dynamic growth in every sector has also encouraged the expansion of commerce and business, diversifying the economy. The outstanding public school system combines with two private schools for exceptional educational opportunities. Homes range from modest bungalows to lovely new construction in welcoming subdivisions. Civic pride is evident at every turn, particularly in the renovated City Complex with its Georgia Colonial-style architecture. Visitors and residents alike enjoy the vast array of outdoor recreation available just minutes from home. In addition to enjoying some of the finest bass fishing in the world, newcomers can choose from activities like golfing, hunting, swimming, boating, and water-skiing.

Bithlo
County Offices
407-836-7396
www.orangecountyfl.net

Chamber of Commerce
407-425-1234
https://orlando.org/

Offering a small-town atmosphere and community pride in close proximity to major urban amenities, the unincorporated community of Bithlo is located 17 miles east of Orlando between Orlando and Titusville. Home to Orlando Speedworld, the area welcomes stock-car enthusiasts to continuing racing events around the calendar year. Residents of Bithlo enjoy the lush greenery and recreational facilities of a county-managed park as a frequent gathering place for families and friends. The park offers a covered basketball court, little league ball fields, and a community center. Major retail centers that are convenient to Bithlo residents include the Oviedo Marketplace and Waterford Lakes. Florida Hospitals in East Orlando and Winter Park combine with a medical center to provided advanced healthcare services. Close proximity to the University of Central Florida complements the quality education available in public and private schools.

Christmas
County Offices
407-836-7396
www.orangecountyfl.net

Chamber of Commerce
407-425-1234
https://orlando.org/

The small, unincorporated community in Orange County with the unusual name of “Christmas” enjoys a location near the cities of Oviedo and Titusville. Just off State Road 50, the community is 20 miles east of Orlando on the route toward Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and the Canaveral National Seashore in Titusville. Two of the regional Orlando highlights are located in Christmas. Jungle Adventures is one of the oldest, all-natural attractions in Florida, a 20-acre park and wildlife sanctuary is dedicated to eco-tourism and offers a close encounter with native animals. Fort Christmas Historical Park is another popular destination in this area, offering a glimpse of Florida’s past and excellent opportunities for recreation. In addition to the fort and museum, the park is ideal for basketball, volleyball, tennis, horseshoes, and picnicking. The Christmas area offers small-town intimacy and easy access to urban amenities as well as attractive residential developments.

 

Clarcona
County Offices
407-836-7396
www.orangecountyfl.net

Apopka Chamber
407-886-1441
www.apopkachamber.org

Named for a word that was derived from “Clark’s Corner,” the unincorporated community of Clarcona grew up around today’s intersection of Apopka-Vineland and Clarcona-Ocoee Road. “Clark” is actually the name of the original land owners and the family who built the first house. This area is home to Clarcona Horseman’s Park and offers an idyllic environment for those who are interested in equestrian activities or horse properties. Many new residential developments punctuate the region, offering a serene country lifestyle within a reasonable commute from many of Central Florida’s most popular amenities and attractions. Situated between the cities of Apopka and Ocoee, residents of Clarcona have easy access to expanded services and shopping. They can also enjoy some of the nation’s finest bass fishing as well as golfing, swimming, hunting, boating, and water-sports close to home.

 

Dr. Phillips Area, Bay Hill
County Offices
407-836-7396
www.orangecountyfl.net

Chamber of Commerce
407-656-1304

The area known as Dr. Phillips encompasses some of the county’s most prestigious homes. Exclusive homes line the fairways at the world-famous Bay Hill Club and Lodge, which is golf legend Arnold Palmer’s own recreational masterpiece and “home” turf. Claiming one of the world’s most celebrated golf courses, Bay Hill is a favored stop on the PGA Tour. Bay Hill is just one of many enclaves that are nestled within the Dr. Phillips area — a collection of villages and neighborhoods that range from gated communities to million-dollar mansions. A good selection of townhomes, condominiums, and single-family homes in a variety of price ranges combine with public schools that enjoy an excellent reputation. The Dr. Phillips area is located just 10 minutes from Disney World and other key attractions. Orlando International Airport is just a 20-minute drive from home. Although the area takes it name from Dr. Philip Phillips, a citrus industry pioneer who once owned thousands of acres of orange groves, it was defense and tourism industries that were responsible for most of the growth in recent decades. The entire area has preserved an exceptional quality of life through updating of infrastructure and controlled growth.

Eatonville Town
Town Hall
407-623-8900
www.townofeatonville.org

Chamber of Commerce
407-425-1234
https://orlando.org/

One of the Orlando area’s cultural and historic jewels, the tiny community of Eatonville is distinguished as the first incorporated black community in America. The community remains integrally tied to the African American traditional culture that has endured through the generations, highlighted by the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities. Revenues from this popular event bring as much as $3 million in tourist spending into Orange County each year. The small town is located several miles north of Orlando along Interstate 4. The festival honoring Hurst is a showcase of visual, performing, and folk arts that encourages interaction between emerging talents and legendary artists and scholars. Revitalization in the town includes wonderfully manicured cityscapes that create a pleasing backdrop for this historic village.

Goldenrod
Orange County Offices
407-836-7396
www.orangecountyfl.net

Chamber of Commerce
407-677-5980

The unincorporated community of Goldenrod offers a small but growing small town that straddles Orange and Seminole Counties. Placing approximately half of its population in each county, the strategically located Goldenrod is welcoming an extension of the popular Cady Way Trail into the community. Cady Way Trail forms a 3.7-mile greenway that joins the cities of Winter Park and Orlando to encourage biking, roller blading, jogging, and walking. Anticipating the increased traffic that the trail expansion will bring into the area, the chamber of commerce and local business leaders are preparing to play host to a growing number of visitors. Residents of Golden already enjoy gathering at the Civic Club complex, which will combine with a new community center and museum as a key attraction. The busting city of Winter Park and the bright lights of Orlando are easily accessible to Geneva, expanding the opportunities for expanded shopping, convenient services, and cultural attractions. The Winter Park chain of lakes adds to the excellent array of recreational opportunities.

Gotha
County Offices
407-836-7396
www.orangecountyfl.net

Chamber of Commerce
407-656-1304
http://wochamber.com/

Nestled among the picturesque orange groves and mighty oak trees that dot western Orange County is the small, unincorporated community of Gotha. Founded in 1885 by Henry Hempel and named after his hometown in Germany, the community was officially registered in 1995 as an historical preservation district. Along the quaint Main Street district in Gotha are such treasures as the Palm Cottage Gardens, home to Henry Nehrling, and the Zion Lutheran Church that was founded in 1915. The historic Fishers Country Store now features a popular café. Even the current Gotha Community Center was originally a one-room schoolhouse. The center brings families and neighbors together frequently for classes and special programs as well as monthly covered-dish events and community celebrations. Those who are looking for a close-knit, friendly atmosphere in a hometown that is filled with old-fashioned charm and historic treasures will want to explore Gotha.

Lake Buena Vista
City Hall
407-828-2241

Chamber of Commerce
407-425-1234
www.orlando.org

Although the U.S. Census lists the population of Lake Buena Vista City at less than 25, this bustling area forms the very heart of the Orlando amusement mecca. Surrounded by residential neighborhoods, Lake Buena Vista hosts millions of annual visitors in scores of hotels, villas, and resorts. Walt Disney World is synonymous with Lake Buena Vista, covering 47 square miles with internationally famous theme parks, creative water parks, the nightspots of Pleasure Island, the restaurants along Disney’s BoardWalk, and the Factory Stores at Lake Buena Vista. More than 2,500 acres of the property are occupied by hotels and villa complexes, each with its own theme and recreational facilities. Epcot is the second largest theme park after Disney’s Magic Kingdom, blending a science exploratorium with a world’s fair. Disney-MGM Studios is devoted to the film business, while Animal Kingdom focuses on creatures. Universal has reinvented itself as a premier destination through a $3 billion addition of new resorts and parks.

Hunters Creek
County Offices
407-836-7396
www.orangecountyfl.net

Chamber of Commerce
407-425-1234
https://orlando.org/

Acclaimed as one of the most popular planned communities in the history of the Orlando area, Hunters Creek is a handsome community of premier residential developments, a lush golf course lined with beautiful homes, neighborhood schools, and a shopping village. Just minutes from home are the major attractions of Central Florida and the cultural jewels of Orlando. Award-winning home designs from respected builders make the housing selection particularly attractive. One of the development villages borders the 600-acre Shingle Creek conservation area, which adds a number of lakes to the community including the 35-acre Lake Gatlin. Several parks ensure first-rate facilities for sports and recreation, from tot lots to sports fields. The ideal location of Hunters Creek in close proximity to Orlando’s major employment centers has no doubt driven much of the community’s growth.

Maitland
City Hall
407-539-6200
https://www.itsmymaitland.org/

Chamber of Commerce
407-644-0741
www.maitlandchamber.com

Known for its natural beauty, crystal lakes, fine museums, art center, and civic center, the community of Maitland chose “Partners in Progress through Participation” for its motto. The town is justly proud of its recognition as one of the top neighborhoods in Central Florida. The city has welcomed a number of corporations and businesses as well as residential growth in recent decades. The handsome Maitland Center is now one of the largest office parks in the entire region, home to an impressive number of Fortune 500 companies. Civic pride and a commitment to preserving a high quality of life are evident throughout the community. The town is constantly investing in renovations that balance the preservation of historic sites with the creation of a progressive, modern atmosphere. Parks accented with brick sidewalks and streetscape beautification like decorative crosswalks abound. The local Cultural Corridor provides an array of events and performances. Many of the region’s most popular festivals occur at the local Enzian Theatre, a premier venue for independent and art films.

Oakland
Town Hall
407-656-1117
http://oaklandfl.gov

Chamber of Commerce
407-656-1304
http://wochamber.com/

Ideally located along the shores of Lake Apopka and surrounded by enormous oak trees, the Town of Oakland was first incorporated as long ago as 1887. Oakland offers a quiet residential retreat and serene country atmosphere to a small population of less than 1,500 residents. At the same time, the area surrounding the community has experienced considerable growth and development, dotting the region with new subdivisions and beautiful homes. In fact, maintaining its traditional image of being “Nestled among the Oaks” has been one of the city’s greatest challenges in the face of the area’s rapid expansion. Oakland is the proud home of the West Orange Trailhead and the Oakland Nature Preserve, providing excellent opportunities for recreation. The trailhead attracts thousands of outdoor enthusiasts each year, while the Oakland Nature Preserve ensures a scenic retreat that showcases the splendor of native Florida plant and animal life. Residents and visitors alike appreciate Oakland as the epitome of yesterday’s small and charming Florida town.

Ocoee
City of Ocoee
407-905-3100
www.ocoee.org

Chamber of Commerce
407-656-1304
http://wochamber.com/

Proudly referring to its community the “Center of Good Living,” the City of Ocoee proves that historic preservation and progressive growth can be harmonized successfully. In addition to specific sites like the Ocoee Christian Church and the Withers-Maguire House and Museum, the city celebrates and observes yesterday in lovely parks, quaint brick roads, and vintage buildings. At the same time, the community is home to a growing number of thriving businesses from Health Central Hospital to West Oaks Mall. Although the folklore about the city’s name credit the word to a Native American term that means “no cold,” modern Ocoee is more aptly described by the phrase, “all roads lead here.” With the Florida Turnpike, the East West Expressway, State Road 50, and the new Western Beltway either leading to Ocoee or passing through the town, residents enjoy unparalleled transportation efficiencies. Downtown Orlando, the international airport, and major amusements are only a 20-minute drive from Ocoee.

Plymouth
County Offices
407-836-7396
www.orangecountyfl.net

Chamber of Commerce
407-886-1441
www.apopkachamber.org

Enjoying a prime location near the Errol Country Club and Apopka-Zellwood area, the small community of Plymouth is home to Orlando County Airport. In spite of the quiet, small-town atmosphere that characterizes Plymouth, the community’s residents are surrounded by world-class amenities and suburban advantages. This northwestern town is only minutes away from Orlando, Mount Dora, Altamonte Springs, and Maitland. Nearby Apopka is recognized as one of the fastest-growing cities in Central Florida in both residential and commercial sectors. In addition to vibrant new subdivisions and residential developments, Plymouth is surrounded by citrus groves and picturesque farms. Outdoor sports and adventure in this region are excellent, including some of the finest bass fishing in the world. Golfing, tennis, league sports, camping, hiking, biking, hunting, swimming, boating, and water sports are all available in recreation areas close to home.

South Chase
County Offices
407-836-7396
www.orangecountyfl.net

Chamber of Commerce
407-425-1234
https://orlando.org/

Located near the border of Orange County and Osceola County, the community of South Chase offers an attractive selection of residential villages. Residents enjoy a suburban lifestyle with neighborhood schools, expansive retail development, and convenient services in close proximity to metropolitan advantages. For expanded shopping, the Florida Mall is a short drive and provides over 200 department stores and specialty shops. Neighborhood Associations encourage a close-knit community atmosphere, enhanced by an attitude of support and involvement in school and civic activities. A number of organizations are available to those who want to volunteer their time or meet others who share their interests and hobbies. South Chase is ideally situated between Orlando and Kissimmee, providing easy access to the amenities of both.

Waterford Lakes
County Offices
407-836-7396
www.orangecountyfl.net

Chamber of Commerce
407-425-1234
https://orlando.org/

Those who prefer the suburban lifestyle of a modern master-planned community may want to consider Waterford Lakes. Since its inception in 1992, this community has enjoyed popularity with young professionals and families alike. An ideal location within the metropolitan region is part of the attraction. Valencia Community College and the campus for the University of Central Florida are easily accessible, providing a wealth of cultural amenities as well as educational opportunities. Although Orlando’s fine restaurants, pulsating nightlife, and expansive shopping districts are just minutes from home, Waterford Lakes offers residents a handsome town center mall that features popular retailers, restaurants, a cinema complex, and services. The housing selection includes a diversity of price ranges, and many of the villages within Waterford Lakes offer superb recreational amenities such as elegant clubhouses, Olympic-sized pools, racquetball and tennis courts, athletic fields, playgrounds, workout rooms, and fitness trails.

Windermere
Town Hall
407-876-2563
www.town.windermere.fl.us

Chamber of Commerce
407-425-1234
https://orlando.org/

“Among the lakes” is the phrase that the town of Windermere has chosen for its description, and aptly so. Almost completely surrounded by water, Windermere is a lovely small town that will always be limited in population growth by available land. Lake Butler is the largest body of water in the region, which is often referred to as the “Butler chain of lakes.” Situated in southeast Orange County, the residential villages and homes throughout the lake area are as beautiful as the backdrop of scenery they enjoy. Some multi-million dollar lakefront mansions combine with more modest but often luxurious homes in a variety of architectural styles. The Islesworth Golf & Country Club in Windermere rivals the lush fairways of highly acclaimed Bay Hill for sheer bayside splendor. Also located in this small town is a fully accredited independent school for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade called Buena Vista Academy. While the residents of Windermere can enjoy the exclusive resort setting and serenity of their community, the first-rate cultural, educational, and healthcare advantages of Orlando remain close to home.

 

Winter Garden
City Hall
407-656-4111
www.cwgdn.com

Chamber of Commerce
407-656-1304
http://wochamber.com/

The balance between reverence for yesterday and vibrant growth is reflected in the Winter Garden slogan, “A City with a Future…Preserving Its Past.” Walking down historic Plant Street or catching a glimpse of landmark buildings like Tanner Hall immediately creates an image of small-town life at its finest in the heart of this quaint Main Street community. At the same time, redevelopment and growth are evident at every turn. Antique stores, ice cream shops, and charming cafés combine with dynamic new businesses and residential development. Covering approximately 17 square miles, Winter Garden offers access to the West Orange Trail for biking or jogging in a naturally beautiful setting. Other amenities include large parks, a public boat ramp on Lake Apopka, and recreational complexes for tennis, swimming, and sports play. This vast area once covered by citrus groves is rapidly transforming into a suburban environment that preserves the friendly, intimate spirit of yesterday. Residents enjoy easy access to Highway 50, the East West Expressway, and the Florida Turnpike.

Winter Park
City Hall
407-599-3399
https://cityofwinterpark.org

Chamber of Commerce
407-644-8281
www.winterpark.org

Long considered one of the most desirable addresses in Central Florida, Winter Park has been experiencing a wave of new construction along with revitalization of historic areas. In some instances, developers are choosing to raze older buildings and replace them with luxurious new homes — some that surpass the $1 million price range. Handsome new residential villages can include exceptional amenities like lakefront parks, pools, and nature preserves. Winter Park offers a number of amenities that are unusual for a smaller town, including the Rollins College. This highly respected, private, liberal arts college with its lush campus enriches the entire community educationally, culturally, and economically. However, the college is not the town’s only point of pride. One of the world’s most comprehensive collections of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany is permanently housed in the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Aficionados of shopping are drawn to Park Avenue, a quaint district where an oak-shaded park and bandstand are surrounded by art galleries, museums, clothing stores, retail outlets, and wonderful boutiques.

Zellwood
County Offices
407-836-7396
www.orangecountyfl.net/

Apopka Chamber
407-886-1441
www.apopkachamber.org

Neighboring the City of Apopka, the community of Zellwood was traditionally characterized as a rural area that supported agricultural activity. In recent decades, residential development has increased, adding beautiful new housing options to those who appreciate the country atmosphere. While commercial greenhouses and orange groves remain the mainstay of the Apopka-Zellwood regional economy, the phenomenal tourist traffic in northern Orange County is transforming this area with an influx of commercial and residential development. Newcomers will find a wonderful 18-hole championship golf course that has hosted a number of corporate tournaments and popular restaurants. Zellwood provides a quiet setting for a family-oriented lifestyle or a wonderful retirement haven in close proximity to the world-class amenities in Metropolitan Orlando.

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