Here’s an idea: How about using SunRail as an inexpensive way to entertain out-of-town guests who are visiting you for the Thanksgiving holiday?
You already know that SunRail isn’t running on Thanksgiving Day. But it is running on the Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving.
Put your guests on SunRail -- or be their SunRail guide. Riding SunRail and checking out points of interest along the way will easily eat up much of the day. It will be fun, too!
It’s our bet is that Sand Lake Road will be one of the busiest SunRail stations because it’s a little more than a mile from fabulous Florida Mall – considered one of the most robust shopping malls in the nation. Riders can get a free transfer from SunRail to a Lynx bus that will take them to the mall.
At Sand Lake Road, riders can also transfer to the Lynx bus that will take them to Orlando International Airport – about a 10-minute ride. (This could spare you from having to drive a departing guest all the way to OIA and put up with the insane traffic.
Here’s a cheat sheet for points of interest near many of the SunRail stations.
· DeBary – Gemini Springs Park is a leisurely bike ride from the SunRail station. You’ll need to bring your bikes with you on the train.
· Sanford – At the train station there’s a free trolley that takes riders to downtown Sanford, which is filled with restaurants, craft breweries and a variety of shops. Sanford is situated on the St. Johns River and has a beautiful waterfront. This city also hosts the southern end of the Amtrak Auto Train service. People waiting for the train to leave can ride a free trolley from the Amtrak station to downtown Sanford.
· Lake Mary – A restaurant and dining district is barely 2 blocks from the SunRail station. The town square at City Hall frequently hosts special public events.
· Winter Park – This is Central Florida’s best-known boutique district. It’s filled with a wide variety of shops, restaurants and museums. Winter Park also hosts a golf course, several museums, tourist attractions, Rollins College and an Amtrak station. SunRail and Amtrak stop in the heart of Winter Park.
· Advent Health/Florida Hospital – This station is down the street from Loch Haven Park, which is the home of the Orlando Science Center, the Mennello Museum of Folk Art; the Orlando Reparatory Theater; the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and the Orlando Museum of Art.
· Orlando – Downtown Orlando hosts the downtown campus for the University of Central Florida and Valencia College; the FAMU law school; the Orange County History Center; the Orange County Main Library; the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts; Amway Center, the Orlando City Soccer stadium; and a wide variety of shops and restaurants. There are 2 stations in downtown Orlando – Lynx Central and Church Street. The Church Street stop is close to the entertainment venues.
· Orlando Health – This station is around the corner from ORMC – Central Florida’s largest hospital. It is also an easy walk to the Pulse memorial on Orange Avenue.
· Kissimmee – Once the capital of Florida’s booming cattle industry, you can still find frontier flourishes in Historic Downtown Kissimmee, which features shops and Central Florida’s largest district of independent restaurants offering everything from barbecue to Mediterranean fare. The train stops a half block from the Broadway business district. The train station is also only one block from Lake Toho (Tohopekaliga), one of the nation’s best-known largemouth bass lakes.
· Poinciana – This is the southern end of SunRail service. There is a Home Depot (more Christmas shopping) and a really cool ice cream shop within a block of the station.
Happy Thanksgiving. See you on The Rail.