Shortly after exiting Lake Monroe in Sanford, the St. Johns bends to the right and returns to it's northerly path. In this region, the west side of the river is mostly preserved as either State or National Forest. If you're looking for a taste of Old Florida, in a laid-back atmosphere with tall oaks and Spanish moss, then the north-central region of the St. Johns has some locations you are sure to enjoy.
Swamphouse Grill... www.swamphousegrill.com/ 4380 Carraway Pl. Sanford FL 32771 (next to Highbanks Marina)
St. Johns River Grill... www.stjohnsmarinaresort.com/river-grille/ 2999 State Road 44 W DeLand, FL 32720 (next to St. John's Marina)
Just outside of Deland, the river and the Seminole State Forest provide a wonderful afternoon backdrop while relaxing on the upper deck.
Blackwater Inn & Williams Landing... www.blackwaterinn.com/ 55716 Front St. Astor FL 32102 (next to bridge)
An area icon and among our favorites, the Blackwater Inn in tiny Astor FL provides some of the best (inside, air conditioned) riverfront dining views, along with some fine food (try the lemon-pepper Canadian sea scallops). Upstairs is Williams Landing, a casual sports bar with both inside and outside seating.
Renegade's on the River... www.renegadesontheriver.com/ 1171 County Rd. 309, Crescent City FL 32112
Welaka Resort-Dockside Bar & Grill... www.welakalodge.com/boathouse-bar/ Welaka Lodge & Resort,1001 Front Street, Welaka, FL 32193 (Channel Marker 50)