About This Episode
SunRail is a Central Florida passenger rail system serving the City of Orlando, Volusia, Seminole, Orange, and Osceola counties. Riders on the SunRail system use a stored-value card, in the form of a disposable ticket or a reloadable SunCard, to pay fares. The cost of SunRail tickets is based on the number of counties (zones) through which the rider will be traveling.
SunRail uses a “tap on/tap off” system for ticketing. Riders must “tap on” at a validator unit at the station prior to boarding the train by tapping their ticket on the screen and waiting for the beep. Riders must again “tap off” at a validator unit with their ticket after disembarking at their destination before exiting the station. Reduced fares are available for seniors, students, and disabled riders.
Get more information about riding SunRail and view the train schedules at SunRail.com.
On this program and over the next few episodes I am taking you on a trip here in Central Florida! Are you ready? Let’s go! I hope you love riding on a train, because I am going to show you lots of locations to see, things to do and places to eat at every station down the line. I am taking a Ride on the SunRail, coming up next!
The SunRail is Central Florida’s commuter rail system which began service on May 1st 2014. As of the production date of this episode, the system comprises 16 stations and runs just over 60 miles through Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties – from DeBary to Poinciana. Expansions north into DeLand and Daytona, south to Lakeland and spurs connecting to Orlando International Airport and Orlando Sanford International Airport are currently planned or under consideration. Getting your ticket to ride the SunRail could not be any easier. At each station you will find ticketing machines which accept debit and credit cards. Your fare is calculated by the number of counties or zones through which you will be traveling. After purchasing your ticket, a ticket validator activates your ticket by tapping on the screen when you embark and tapping off at your destination. Riding the SunRail is a fun way to travel through Orlando and Central Florida to visit many of the places I’m going to show you in this series of episodes.
Our ride on the SunRail begins north of Orlando at the DeBary station, the train is ready to go, but since we are already here, let me show some places you must explore in the city of DeBary before we embark on our journey.
A short 1.3-miles by taxi or Uber from the SunRail station will take you to one of Central Florida’s best kept secrets – Gemini Springs Park. The park comprises 212 acres of pristine Florida wetlands including hiking and biking trails, with approximately 6.5 million gallons of sparkling fresh water bubbling up from the two springs each day. Many types of wildlife and vegetation can be observed at Gemini Springs and the park allows fishing from the dock and campsites equipped with fire rings, picnic tables and lantern-hook poles all within walking distance of maintained restroom facilities. Call the park for camping reservations. Gemini Springs Park is a paradise close to the DeBary SunRail station, you simply cannot miss.
If traveling for you also means shopping, then head just two scant miles north from the DeBary SunRail station to find hidden treasures at Robin’s Nest Resale Gift Shop. This shop – run by Sheri and her husband Robin (the namesake of the Robin’s Nest) is overflowing with antiques, furniture and home décor you will not find anywhere else. The shop also serves as a hometown gallery for local artisans to showcase their works, and you are guaranteed to find many one-of-a-kind pieces that will make your treasure hunting utterly unique. The Robin’s Nest is the premiere shop in DeBary to find unique and distinctive gifts – only minutes from the SunRail Station.
It is finally time to board the SunRail train! Our next stop down the line is the Sanford Station. From the Sanford SunRail Station you can get to historic downtown Sanford aboard the free trolley service which starts at noon.
Our first stop in Sanford is Henry’s Depot located on the site of one of Florida’s first railroads run by Henry B. Plant in the late 1800’s – Henry’s Depot features a gourmet food hall, bar and large outdoor patio. Famous for its live entertainment and events nearly every weekend, the food hall is also the home to Oak Flame Pizza, Mahogany Coffee Shop and The Basin Bar. You will also find vegan, seafood, sandwiches and ice cream shops. Henry’s Depot is a foodie’s paradise – and a place you must visit in historic downtown Sanford.
Just steps from Henry’s Depot we will stop by a Sanford Institution. The Sanford Barber Shop. This landmark business has been cutting hair in Sanford since 1935 and inside you will find all the ambience of an old-fashioned barber shop from the early 20th century – complete with barber polls, checker table and a seating area where you just might hear all the town gossip – just like the old days. For a nostalgic trip to the past, stop by the Sanford Barber Shop.
For our last stop in Sanford before moving on down the track, I am taking you south on Park Avenue to an American treasure you will not find just anywhere. I am taking you to Dairy Queen. This location; however, is incredibly special. It is but one of a few original free-standing Dairy Queens left from the mid-20th Century, it is also the 3rd oldest location in Florida – still selling the original limited menu of shakes, floats, cones and sundaes. I’ll bet the newest item on the menu is the Blizzard which Dairy Queen introduced back in 1985.
After you enjoy your Mississippi Mud Pie or Georgia Mud Fudge it is time for us to move on. On the next episode of this series, we will travel down to Lake Mary and the Longwood Stations and explore what unique treasures we can find there. Thanks for joining me for this ride on the SunRail. See you next time.