Many times, when people set out to go boating, they plan a day off a bit far from home. We often head over to the Harris Chain of Lakes, which are about 30 minutes from home, or over to Lake Butler, a short, 20- to 25-minute drive.
As we get back in the routine of school, sports and autumn weekend events, many families just lose time for boating. We are privileged to live in a beautiful climate that offers an extended boating season. So, why not consider that smaller local lake for quick boating outings?
Our small gem of a lake is Starke Lake, in Ocoee. The city of Ocoee values the natural beauty of its small town and keeps this lakefront the hub for town gatherings. With painstaking diligence, they keep up the grounds, so the community can enjoy this beautiful spot. The shoreline has covered picnic pavilions, benches, grills, a fishing pier and generous parking. There is a public boat ramp and docks for loading boats and additional fishing. There’s a huge lawn for community gatherings that hosts festivals and monthly movie nights with food-truck vendors.
My church offers a beautiful sunrise Easter service there, and the city has graciously let us return yearly. This setting is also home to a lovely event building, which opened in the last year for weddings and special events and hosts a full catering kitchen. The cities of Ocoee and Winter Garden are steeped in family roots — they cherish family and community.
Starke Lake is five minutes from our home. It’s not a large lake, but it is a sweet spot for our family. A lot of people overlook these little lakes in their neighborhood because they feel they need to go somewhere bigger. My husband often brings the boat to pick up my son from school, and they head right over to Starke Lake all through September, October and November. They enjoy cool afternoon breezes and sometimes a little dip. As a family, we’ll sometimes head out for a sunset floating picnic.
In this stressed world we live in, what could be better than floating your cares away as you talk about the highlights of your day? Sweet memories are made for our family and lots of other families who live near and frequent this lovely hometown lake. It’s small but significant.
We love our community and boating and have merged the two to give back to our local schools. We are sponsoring a Back to School Poker Run benefiting a local school. Boaters will enjoy a course around the Harris Chain of Lakes collecting their hand and then meet up to enjoy lunch, prizes and meeting fellow boaters. Our last stop will be the drop-off site for the school supplies.
If you’re a boater and interested in joining us, you may contact [email protected] for more details. This event will take place Sept. 6, on the Harris Chain.
Remember, your next adventure in boating doesn’t require a lot of time or a far trip from home. Find your local gem, and let the memories begin.