Winter Springs/Tuscawilla

Winter Springs living, especially that of its sprawling, green Tuscawilla planned community, is as suitable for growing families as would-be Florida transplants, looking for respite from colder clime. It’s right in the name, after all. The area holds wide appeal with safe and clean and good schools, ample parks, access to shopping and reasonable commutes.

Early life in the region that is now Winter Springs centered largely on activity and commerce on nearby Lake Jesup, where crops from nearby farming regions were sent north through Sanford and up the St. John’s River.

These days the lake sees more fisherman –and alligators– than anything else, but Winter Springs has grown by leaps and bounds and there are many houses for sale in nicely established communities.

Tuscawilla, with a full-service country club at its core, now has 28 different subdivisions, from townhome to sprawling lakefront manse. Started in 1969, Tuscawilla was the first planned community in Seminole County.

Development adjacent to Tuscawilla continues. The “small town” shopping complex of Winter Springs Town Center opened in 2002 and in the years since more retail and residential development has cropped up around it. But the city reserved ample green space nearby with its Central Winds Park. The beautifully landscaped park has baseball diamonds, soccer fields, a playground, pavilions and picnic grills, a dog park and a nature trail.

 Nestled between Oviedo and Casselberry, Winter Spring’s location is convenient to the University of Central Florida. The town also has easy access to State Road 417, connecting residents to downtown Orlando, or north to Stanford and Interstate 4 — or perhaps the beach.

 Winter Springs boasts a host of restaurants hidden in its shopping centers — Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria and Thai basil are fixtures at this point, with new sports Big Kahuna’s Island Style Bowls and Saint Anejos Mexican Kitchen & Tequileria making names for themselves.