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Overview

In 1876, a wealthy New York businessman named Henry A. DeLand founded this city along the St. Johns River after a visit with family. He convinced fellow settlers to buy a share and start planting citrus and other warm-weather crops. To give his children a place for schooling, he established the DeLand Academy, now known as Stetson University, one of Florida’s top liberal arts schools. An early fire demolished downtown buildings made of wood. The brick buildings beneath the live oaks downtown replaced the original city, and still offer that turn-of-the-century feel. This is a wonderful city for strolling on foot, peeking into shops and ...

In 1876, a wealthy New York businessman named Henry A. DeLand founded this city along the St. Johns River after a visit with family. He convinced fellow settlers to buy a share and start planting citrus and other warm-weather crops. To give his children a place for schooling, he established the DeLand Academy, now known as Stetson University, one of Florida’s top liberal arts schools. An early fire demolished downtown buildings made of wood. The brick buildings beneath the live oaks downtown replaced the original city, and still offer that turn-of-the-century feel. This is a wonderful city for strolling on foot, peeking into shops and stopping in at bakeries and cafes, visiting galleries, museums, and antique stores. It’s surrounded by wilderness lands, including Tiger Bay State Forest to the east and several state parks and a National Wildlife Refuge bordering the river itself, providing places to paddle, hike, and go birding. These wilds were lauded by William Bartram in his Travels in 1773, and again by John J. Audubon in 1776, and can be visited on foot or along an interpretive river cruise.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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Climate

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