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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Winter Park, FL

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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Insurance Agency in Winter Park, FL You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Winter Park, FL

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Winter Park, FL

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

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Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Winter Park, FL

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Winter Park, FL

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Winter Park, FL

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
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 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Winter Park, FL

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

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 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Winter Park, FL

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Winter Park, FL phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Winter Park, FL phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Winter Park, FL phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Winter Park, FL that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Winter Park, FL

Latest News in Winter Park, FL

WINTER PARK SCENIC BOAT TOUR

312 East Morse BoulevardWinter Park, Florida 32789Tel: 407-644-4056The Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour is a one-hour tour you will enjoy whether it's your first time or hundredth time.The attraction began its operation in 1938. It's first trip was led by Captain Tom and dubbed the "Venice of America" tour....

312 East Morse BoulevardWinter Park, Florida 32789Tel: 407-644-4056

The Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour is a one-hour tour you will enjoy whether it's your first time or hundredth time.

The attraction began its operation in 1938. It's first trip was led by Captain Tom and dubbed the "Venice of America" tour.

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Today it is one of Florida's most interesting off-the-beaten-path experiences.

What makes it unique is the route the tour boats take through Lakes Osceola, Virginia, and Maitland.

Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour, early years

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Although its location in Winter Park is only ten minutes north of downtown Orlando in Central Florida, and a quick 5 minute walk from busy Park Avenue, the tour route feels like a completely different world.

It's one of the best ways to enjoy a taste of both worlds.

You will see tropical trees such as large palm and beautiful cypress trees, lush ferns, tropical flowers and many tropical birds along the route.

You will also see some of the most spectacular mansions in the state along the route.

Some of these mansions have been owned by movie stars or other famous people and the guide will point them out.

The Winter Park chain of lakes includes seven lakes, with the larger five being connected to each other by narrow beautiful canals.

These canals were built by lumber interests in the late 19th century to float logs harvested from the surrounding forests to the sawmill locations.

WINTER PARK SCENIC BOAT TOUR: CELEBRITY HOMES

The scenic boat tour begins at their headquarters in Winter Park at the end of Morse Boulevard on Lake Osceola.

The tour will have you relaxing in one of six 18-passenger pontoon boats. Your tour guide will begin by showing you some famous structures in Winter Park history along the lake shore.

You will leave the boat house on Lake Osceola and head south into Lake Virginia through a beautiful narrow canal canopied by ancient oaks, banana, cypress, and palm trees, ferns and just about anything else that grows in this part of Florida.

The northern shore of Lake Virginia is home to the picturesque campus of Rollins College.

After touring Lake Virginia, the boat heads back north through the same canal and into Lake Osceola for a leisurely cruise along the shoreline and a glimpse into the many historic mansions and exquisite estates.

Another beautiful winding canal takes you north into Lake Maitland where you will see Kraft Azalea Gardens and the breathtaking views of opulent private homes.

Many of the grand homes are on the Isle of Sicily, a man made peninsula that juts into the center of the lake.

The tour guides are locals who know the area well and make the one hour cruise interesting.

Along with the beautiful scenery, many times nature cooperates in the tour by showing you large cranes hunting for fish or a lazy alligator swimming along the shoreline.

WINTER PARK SCENIC BOAT TOURS FEES & HOURS

Tours leave every hour from 10 AM to 400 PM; current admission fees (2023) tax included are $16 for adults, $8 for children (ages 2 through 11) and kids under 2 ride free.

The tour is open for business every day of the year except Christmas.

Celebrate the Season with Holiday Events around Winter Park

Share This:The holiday season has begun and residents, visitors and businesses are gearing up for the citywide celebration. Beginning Thursday, Nov. 30, family friendly festivities will feature parades, concerts, and plenty of community spirit.Events are presented by several local organizations including the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, ...

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The holiday season has begun and residents, visitors and businesses are gearing up for the citywide celebration. Beginning Thursday, Nov. 30, family friendly festivities will feature parades, concerts, and plenty of community spirit.

Events are presented by several local organizations including the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, City of Winter Park, Rotary Club of Winter Park, Chabad of Greater Orlando, Equity Council Corp. and the Morse Museum. See the listings, below, for the full schedule and links to more information.

45th Annual Christmas in the Park: Thursday, Nov. 30, 6:15-8:30 p.m. in Central Park

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art continues its holiday tradition, started by museum benefactors Hugh and Jeannette McKean. Turn-of-the-century Tiffany windows are lighted as the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble performs on the new Central Park Main Stage. For more information, see the event page on the Morse Museum website.

The Morse Museum also hosts Holiday Friday Nights in November and Deceber. Guests can enjoy free museum admission from 4-8 p.m., and live music from 5-8 p.m. For more information, please access morsemuseum.org.

• Winter on the Avenue: Friday, Dec. 1, 5-9 p.m. at Central Park and Park Avenue

Presented by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the City of Winter Park, Park Avenue Merchants Association and Enzian Theater, the yearly event transforms downtown Winter Park into a winter wonderland. Enjoy the annual tree-lighting and a menorah-lighting ceremony, strolling carolers Popcorn Flicks in the Park and a visit from Santa. For additional information, please call 407-644-8281 or check winterpark.org.

71st Annual Winter Park Christmas Parade: Saturday, Dec. 2, 9 a.m.-noon on Park Avenue

Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas parade will usher in the season as it decks the halls – and the streets – for its 71st edition. The parade is the oldest continuous holiday parade in Central Florida and includes more than 80 organizations participating with marching bands, floats, and Santa Claus himself.

The parade is preceded by the 24th Annual Leadership Winter Park Pancake Breakfast from 7-10 a.m. by the Central Park Stage. Pancakes, sausage, and a toppings bar are included with a choice of beverage for $7 per person. Tickets are available on site or in advance at winterpark.org. Proceeds benefit adult and youth leadership development programs, and school supply donations. Click here for ticket purchases.

• Holiday Pops Concert: Sunday, Dec. 3, 5-7 p.m. at Central Park Main Stage

A program of holiday favorites will be presented at a free concert, presented by the Charlotte Julia Hollander Trust. Bring a blanket, pack a picnic, and get into the spirit while enjoying the December weather. For more information, please call 407-599-3342.

Light Up Hannibal Square: Friday, Dec. 8, 6-8 p.m. at Hannibal Square Heritage Center, 642 W New England Ave.

Head to Hannibal Square Heritage Center for the 4th installment of the popular community event. Santa Claus will be available for free photos, a Cupcake Challenge will be sponsored by Dress for Success Greater Orlando, a mini-market will offer holiday gifts by local artisans, and a holiday lights countdown will begin at 7 p.m. For more information, email bchandler@crealde.org.

• Winter Park Holiday Boat Parade: Saturday, Dec. 9, 6-8:30 p.m. on Lake Virginia

Presented by the Rotary Club of Winter Park, the yearly event showcases the creativity of the local boating community. Decorated vessels circle the shore to allow lakefront residents to watch from their backyards while spectators can catch everything from Dinky Dock Park. For more information, visit winterparkrotary.com or call 407-256-6369.

• Chanukah on the Park: Sunday, Dec. 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Central Park

Chabad of Greater Orlando will present an evening of celebration featuring live music, food, and a grand menorah lighting. Kids’ activities include face painting, crafts, and a gelt drop. For more information and event registration, please access chabadorlando.org.

Wreaths Across America: Saturday, Dec. 16, beginning at noon at Palm Cemetery, 1005 N New York Ave., and at Pineywood Cemetery, 1900 S Lakemont Ave.

Wreaths Across America will honor the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans by laying remembrance wreaths on the graves of the fallen. The public can participate in person or sponsor a wreath by Friday, Dec. 1. Click here to access volunteer and sponsorship information for Palm Cemetery, or here for Pineywood Cemetery.

Merry TubaChristmas: Saturday, Dec. 16, beginning at 1 p.m. at Central Park Main Stage

Baritone players of all ages will perform a free concert of holiday favorites in the impressive register of tubas, euphoniums, and sousaphones. Musician registration begins at 9 a.m., the fee per musician is $10 with rehearsal from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Performers must bring a folding chair and music stand. For more information, email jmiller@cityofwinterpark.org or call 407-599-3463.

Orlando Big Band Christmas Concert: Saturday, Dec. 16, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Central Park Main Stage

Enjoy a free concert of seasonal standards when Orlando Big Band returns to Central Park for its second Christmas Favorites concert. More than 25 professional musicians and singers will present a showcase of holiday music from the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and the modern era. For more information, access orlandobigband.com, email kbaker@cityofwinterpark.org, or call 407-599-3342.

• Kwanzaa Celebration: Tuesday, Dec. 26, 5-9 p.m. at Winter Park Community Center, 721 W New England Ave.

Equity Council Corp., in cooperation with the Parks & Recreation Department, will present its annual Kwanzaa Celebration. The event will include food vendors, dance and musical performances. Attendees can support black-owned businesses by shopping the SOKO Marketplace. The celebration will commence with the lighting of the Black Candle and focus on the Kwanzaa principle of Umoja (Unity). For more information on tickets and upcoming special guest announcements, please access equitycouncilcorp.org.

• Pop-Tarts Bowl Parade of Bands: Thursday, Dec. 28, beginning 11 a.m. on Park Avenue

College bands will march through downtown and perform a game day preview concert in Central Park before the 5:45 p.m. debut of the Pop-Tarts Bowl at Camping World Stadium. Plan your visit by accessing the City of Winter Park parking page, and navigate event road closures on the closures & construction page. Check the City of Winter Park event page and poptartsbowl.com for information and updates.

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This story was written by the staff of the32789, a collection of writers covering news in Winter Park, Florida. Our staff writers can be reached at news@the32789.com.

This Charming Florida City Near Orlando Is the Perfect Break From the Theme Park Crowds

Even though Winter Park is near Orlando's theme parks, it feels leaps and bounds away.Cobblestone streets dotted with Michelin-recognized restaurants and locally owned shops, lakes with boat tours, and grassy areas for kids to play tag and fly kites: This is Winter Park, Florida. A hop, skip, and a jump from ...

Even though Winter Park is near Orlando's theme parks, it feels leaps and bounds away.

Cobblestone streets dotted with Michelin-recognized restaurants and locally owned shops, lakes with boat tours, and grassy areas for kids to play tag and fly kites: This is Winter Park, Florida. A hop, skip, and a jump from Orlando’s theme park scene, this town chartered in 1887 thrills in other ways. Its original purpose still holds true: New Englanders founded it as an escape from cold weather. But since that time, the 10-square-mile city has become a year-round destination. Orlando residents love the place, but they can’t keep it a secret anymore. No matter why you’re in the Orlando area, a few days in Winter Park would provide a welcome respite before heading home. In fact, the town has so much going for it, we’d argue that it merits a trip on its own.

Downtown, Park Avenue — where stand-out restaurants and local boutiques dot the brick streets — is the place to be. Just off Park Avenue, Rollins, a small liberal arts college founded 135 years ago, contributes to the town’s robust array of cultural activities. A short walk from downtown lies the waterfront, where six lakes are connected by navigable canals. Ready to plan a trip to this charming city? Here's what you need to know.

Related: The 12 Best Places to Visit in Florida

Best Things to Do in Winter Park

If you like culture, nature, and shopping, Winter Park will be a new favorite. With a rose garden and beautiful fountains, 11-acre Central Park on Park Avenue hosts many of the city’s festivals and events, including holiday festivities and the Olde Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration. It’s also the perfect place to take the kids to burn off steam in between visiting stores or before going back to the hotel.

More spectacular than you’d imagine, the Morse Museum, located on Park Avenue, features a large collection of Tiffany works as well as other American art. The stunning chapel, which was crafted for the Chicago World’s Fair, is a must-see.

When you’re ready for a break from walking, take the hour-long Scenic Boat Tour around Winter Park’s many lakes, where you'll spot beautiful homes while you learn more about the city's history. Kids of all ages are welcome (even encouraged) to join the fun on the 18-passenger pontoon boats. Water sports, like paddleboarding and kayaking, are also popular around the lakes.

On Saturday mornings, dozens of vendors sell their produce, bread, sweets, and more at the Saturday Farmers’ Market. It's the perfect place to grab ingredients before heading to a park for a picnic lunch.

Save room in your suitcase to treat yourself to an item from one of the many one-of-a-kind shops in Winter Park. You’ll swoon over the stationary and artsy decorative items at Rifle Paper Co’s own store (the brand is based in Winter Park).

Local teens and college students shop at Avalon Exchange, a thrift shop that’s clean, organized, and budget friendly with a mix of retro and popular brands. Stop by Loving Thyself Rocks if for nothing else than to get a selfie sitting on the winged crystal chair at the entrance. Writer’s Block bookstore offers a well-curated selection for kids and adults (plus a fantastic name).

Winter Park Hotels

While visitors only have a handful of lodging options in Winter Park, the surrounding area opens up a multitude of possibilities.

Established more than 130 years ago, The Alfond Inn at Rollins is getting better with age. Sprinkled with incredible paintings from the Rollins Art Museum, the recently renovated lobby is a design masterpiece and fosters family togetherness thanks to a variety of seating arrangements and a corner chess set. An expansion, which will add a new spa and a wing to the inn’s current 112 guest rooms, is expected to wrap up by the end of the year. The location, just a few blocks from Park Avenue, is stellar.

With 28 guest rooms — some with original brick walls — the Park Plaza Hotel is the only place to stay on the city’s famed Park Avenue. There are balcony rooms and suites for people-watching.

About eight miles from Winter Park, Sonder Wellborn is located in the oldest house in the Orlando area. Suites are well priced and spacious, plus the property includes a Victorian garden.

If you’re combining a business trip to the Orlando Convention Center with a visit to Winter Park, the AC Hotel Marriott Downtown Orlando is a great choice. The eight-floor, 180-room property boasts a SkyBar Rooftop Terrace with incredible city views. It’s just eight miles from Winter Park.

Best Time to Visit Winter Park

While you’ll have fun no matter when you go to Winter Park, shifts in weather and special programming favor certain months.

Despite its name, the most comfortable season to visit Winter Park is spring — and the earlier, the better. March feels glorious with average high temperatures reaching about 76 degrees Fahrenheit and the lowest humidity of the year. It’s no coincidence that the organizers of the city’s annual Sidewalk Art Festival, which attracts 350,000 visitors, schedule it for March. It’s a little cooler in February and warmer in April, but still pleasant. You won’t find many April showers in Winter Park — April is the second-least rainy month.

The holidays usher in another magical time to explore Winter Park, especially if you’re bringing children. Two big events take place during the first weekend of December. On Friday, “Winter on the Avenue” transforms Central Park into a holiday wonderland, complete with snow slides, s’mores, and strolling carolers. Everyone gathers around for the lighting of the Christmas tree and menorah. The next day, music fills the streets for the Ye Olde Hometown Christmas Parade. A tradition for more than 70 years, the parade’s headliners include marching bands, fire trucks, and Santa Claus. Winter Park’s weather by far outshines the North Pole, with average December highs in the mid-70s.

Families who have to plan their vacations around school calendars and practice schedules may not be able to avoid a summertime visit. Although it’s typically hot, humid, and rainy, scheduling outdoor activities for the morning or evening will make it less likely that Florida’s temperamental summer weather will interfere with your fun.

Where to Eat and Drink

Orlando locals flock to Winter Park for memorable meals — whether they’re bringing the entire family or looking for a romantic table for two. Winter Park serves up a variety of cuisines and vibes at its top food establishments.

At Briarpatch, the most iconic eatery on Park Avenue, locals line up for mimosas and delicious brunch offerings (think: brown butter Belgian waffles and raspberry lemon cream pancakes.) The housemade cakes — carrot, chocolate layer, and red velvet — are as Instagrammable as they are tasty. You can dine al fresco on the outdoor tables overlooking Central Park or opt for the indoor seating; the dining room oozes Southern charm.

Fresh from earning a Michelin star, Soseki, a 10-seat Japanese restaurant, specializes in a divine multi-course dining experience based on the best ingredients that its farmers, fishermen, and cheese purveyors offer.

With husband-and-wife, James Beard-nominated chefs in the kitchen, The Ravenous Pig hits the spot with a variety of apps, hand-helds, innovative cocktails, and other gastropub fare.

If the kids want pizza, Prato is the place for your family. Request a table on the patio (isn’t there something about eating outside that makes kids less wiggly?) and order them a margarita pie to share while you pick one of the other modern Italian dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.

Getting There

Winter Park is easily accessible by car and airplane. You probably won’t use your car much once you’re in town.

If you’re coming from one of Orlando’s theme parks, the ride will be relatively short. Winter Park is about 30 miles north of Disney’s Magic Kingdom and 15 miles north of Universal Florida on I-4. Tampa, Jacksonville, and Melbourne, Florida are all within two hours or so.

The closest airport is Orlando International Airport, which is about a 30-minute drive to Winter Park. Later in 2023, the Brightline Train’s airport station will connect the city with Miami, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. If you can fly into the smaller (and far less crowded) Orlando Sanford International Airport, you’d still only have about a half-hour drive.

School in Winter Park among those in Florida to lose state funding

WINTER PARK, Fla. —A Winter Park school is one of several in Florida losing funding from the state. The funds are subsidies for school choice scholarships.Gov. Ron DeSantis says it’s because the schools have ties to China’s Communist Party, or CCP.The State Department of Education is acting against the Park Maitland School and several others in the state because of the claims of the schools’ affiliations.“We have two children here at the school, one in kindergarten, o...

WINTER PARK, Fla. —

A Winter Park school is one of several in Florida losing funding from the state. The funds are subsidies for school choice scholarships.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says it’s because the schools have ties to China’s Communist Party, or CCP.

The State Department of Education is acting against the Park Maitland School and several others in the state because of the claims of the schools’ affiliations.

“We have two children here at the school, one in kindergarten, one in second grade,” said Joslyn Bear.

Joslyn and her husband David Bear are not only parents, but they also attended the school years ago.

Now, the future of the school, and who could afford to attend, is in limbo.

“We feel extremely upset, not only for our own children but all the families that are affected,” said Joslyn Bear.

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Park Maitland is one of several schools in the state now with suspended eligibility for that important school choice scholarship funding.

David said without the school’s funding, parents are blindsided with hundreds or thousands of dollars they suddenly must come up with. They said it could ultimately lead to their kids’ friends, or even teachers, leaving.

“I really find it abhorrent that a political PR move would be done at the expense of children and the children’s educational and social experiences,” David Bear said.

According to Park Maitland’s website, the school is run by Spring Education Group.

Spring Education Group itself is owned by a Chinese-based investment group, Primavera Capital Group.

“There’s has never been any sort of teaching of communism or Chinese ideology. It’s the furthest thing from our mind,” Joslyn Bear said.

DeSantis, Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., and Park Maitland all issued statements on the matter.

“The Chinese Communist Party is not welcome in the state of Florida,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “We will not put up with any attempt to influence students with a communist ideology or allow Floridians’ tax dollars to go to schools that are connected to our foreign adversaries.”

“The Chinese Communist Party has no place in our schools,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. “I am grateful for Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for their work to keep students and our communities safe from foreign countries of concern.”

Park Maitland School released a statement, saying:

“We have received notice from the State that our eligibility for Florida Choice school funds has been suspended. We were not contacted in advance and are seeking more information regarding the basis for this decision. In the meantime, we will be working directly with our families to ensure they can remain enrolled in our school," Park Maitland said in a statement.

"We are regularly acknowledged as one of the best private schools in our area and have a track record of delivering outstanding educational outcomes, which is why parents choose us. Our schools are locally run, abide by local, state, and federal laws, and do not have ties to any government or political party, either foreign or domestic. Our curriculum is accredited, standards-based, and academically rigorous," Park Maitland said in a statement.

Cailey Myers, a Communications Director for the Florida Department of Education sent WESH this statement.

"The Department investigated these four schools that have ties to the CCP and China and verified their connections. As you can see, the four schools in the press release (all owned by the same company) have the following statement on their websites confirming their affiliation with Spring Education Group and Primavera Holdings:

'Spring Education Group is controlled by Primavera Holdings Limited, an investment firm (together with its affiliates) principally based in Hong Kong with operations in China, Singapore, and the United States, that is itself owned by Chinese persons residing in Hong Kong.'

On September 22, the Department of Education sent letters to the schools notifying them of their immediate suspension from the school choice scholarship program, and they have 15 calendar days to appeal the decision."

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Commentary: Public power was a win-win for my city, and scary ads proved untrue

I was asked my opinion on the efforts in Maine to break away from the current investor-owned utilities and form a publicly owned utility. My answer was, “I don’t know if it’s right for Maine, but I will share Winter Park’s story. It’s a great story.”There are not a lot of similarities between Maine and the city of Winter Park, Florida. The size, climate, environment, governance structure and accents are quite different. However, the pros and cons of community-owned power are likely the same. To me, ...

I was asked my opinion on the efforts in Maine to break away from the current investor-owned utilities and form a publicly owned utility. My answer was, “I don’t know if it’s right for Maine, but I will share Winter Park’s story. It’s a great story.”

There are not a lot of similarities between Maine and the city of Winter Park, Florida. The size, climate, environment, governance structure and accents are quite different. However, the pros and cons of community-owned power are likely the same. To me, the most important question is, “Why do this?” What community benefit is not currently being provided by the investor-owned utility? Communities all over the county have asked themselves that question, and the answers vary. The most common reasons I have seen are rates, reliability, aesthetics, climate change, accountability, or to simply control how and where the profits are invested.

Randy Knight serves as city manager of Winter Park, Fla., appointed by the City Commission. Before becoming city manager in 2007, Knight served as Winter Park’s assistant city manager for 13 years and finance director for three years. He oversaw the city’s 2005 transition from Progress Energy to a municipal utility, Winter Park Electric.

For Winter Park, it was mostly about reliability and aesthetics. Our city is very proud and protective of its tree canopy. Trees and power lines are not a good combination for reliable power. The investor-owned utility would excessively trim the trees to improve reliability, and our residents would complain about the butchering. As a result, the reliability in Winter Park was some of the worst in Florida. We tried to work with the investor-owned utility to put the power lines underground, but they would do so only if the city paid for it. Not an unreasonable response, since they answered to their shareholders and the Public Service Commission, not the residents of Winter Park. There were other factors, such as the investor-owned utility charging Winter Park some of the highest rates in the state and wanting us to sign a new 30-year franchise with no right to purchase and no out clause for poor performance. However, reliability and aesthetics were the main reasons.

After a protracted legal battle over our right to purchase, and after two feasibility studies and arbitration to set the purchase price, the matter was set for a voter referendum. According to their finance filings, the investor-owned utility spent $523,750 on the campaign against the purchase. As you would expect, and have probably already seen in your state, the campaign was filled with strong predictions of failure and potential bankruptcy. The investor-owned utility claimed rates would go up, reliability would go down, there would be slow response to outages, no one would come help after a hurricane, and that we didn’t know anything about an electric utility. The proponents of the purchase simply promised to take the profits that were going to taxes, high corporate salaries and out-of-state shareholders and reinvest them back into to the community.

The referendum was held, and 69% voted in favor of the purchase. Since the purchase, our rates have consistently been lower than those of the predecessor investor-owned utility. Currently, our rates are 35.6% lower than average investor-owned utility rates in our state. We have run over 70% of the system underground and expect to be 100% complete by 2030. Our reliability numbers are 75% better than when we took over, and the need for drastic tree trimming has been eliminated. Our hurricane response has been some of the best in the region. We recently received an upgrade to AA- from Fitch Ratings. Overall, a huge success.

More recently, we have begun investing in renewable energy. We have committed to 20 megawatts of large-scale solar that will come online in the next three years, built several small solar projects on city facilities and recently adopted a Sustainability Action Plan with a goal of 80% renewable energy by 2042.

Winter Park’s success does not guarantee it is right for Maine. My message is simply this: Don’t let the investor-owned utility scare tactics be a deciding factor. Look at your “Why?” and decide if it is worth it. Best wishes!

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