Hidden Orlando-area gem wins two News 6 Best of Summer categories

Wekiva Island wins 'Best Place to Stay Cool,' 'Best Summer Bar'

LONGWOOD, Fla. - It's a hidden gem in Central Florida located along the Wekiva river and just north of Orlando where people go to enjoy themselves.

"We have a regulation-size volleyball court. We have games ... We do offer live music Friday and Saturday nights. It's unique, there's nothing like it anywhere," Mary Sue Weinaug, co-owner of Wekiva Island, said.

Among the activities on the property, visitors can enjoy the outdoors in a cabana or chair on the boardwalk, or take a stroll down the river in a canoe, kayak or paddle board. With so much to do among the Florida vegetation and wildlife, it's no wonder Wekiva Island won two categories in the News 6 Best of Summer contest this year.

"We were hoping to win one. We were surprised to win two," Weinaug said about the recognition News 6 viewers gave the island.

The island won the titles of "Best Place to Stay Cool" and "Best Summer Bar." 

And for all the foodies? They've got you covered, too.

"(There's) about 40 menu items. One of his bigger dishes are his fish tacos, and he's got a fried lobster sandwich that is out of this world," Weinaug said.

[RELATED: Most scenic places to kayak, paddleboard in the Orlando area5 dog-friendly beaches in Central Florida]

The favorite local spot is nestled on 2,000 square feet of land, but it hasn't come without hardships. Four fires have devastated the property in the past.

Last year, it was flooded during Hurricane Irma, but with help from the community, the owners were able to rebuild.

"One of our boat stall renters and friends, Randy Sugs, came out here with a bulldozer and dumpsters and cleaned up after the fire," Weinaug said.

Among the owners' priorities is caring for the environment.

"We give everybody options for trash and recycle, and most people take the trash option, so we go through every trash bag and pull the recyclables out," Weinaug said.

The owners have also installed systems to collect rainwater and put it to good use.

"We claim all the rainwater and then we flush our toilets with the rainwater," Weinaug said. 

To see the complete list of News 6's Best Of Summer 2018 winners, visit ClickOrlando.com/BestOf

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