Welcome to Central Florida’s Polk County
Smiling faces and warm sunshine embraces, fresh-from-the-oven treats and Southern cooking eats; these are just some of the reasons why Central Florida’s Polk County is known as “Florida’s Sweetest Spot.”
This is the place for family fun in the sun. No matter where you are, you’re just minutes from: a cruise on the historic Chain of Lakes; sampling the burgeoning food scenes in Winter Haven or Lakeland; catching a foul ball off the bat of a Detroit Tiger; the 205-foot-tall legend that is Bok Tower; or the largest collection of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s work on Florida Southern College’s campus.
And when it comes to theme parks, it’s also home to both the 150-acre interactive theme park LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and the only theme park devoted to everyone’s favourite pink pre-schooler, Peppa Pig Theme Park Florida in Winter Haven.
Your invitation to experience the best of Central Florida has arrived!
Our Central Florida Offers
Lakeland is a corner of classic old Florida about a half-hour drive east of Tampa. Head to Florida Southern College’s campus to admire Frank Lloyd Wright’s 13 structures in the ‘College of Tomorrow’ collection and Polk Museum of Art’s works by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Warhol. Aviation fans can check out Howard Hughes’ personal aviation collection and ultralights and war birds at Florida Air Museum.
Get up close to zebras, springboks, Cape buffalo, and llamas at the 260-acre Safari Wilderness ranch. Explore unique ecosystems and nine easy-to-moderate marked hiking trails at Circle B Bar Reserve. Watch the action as the Detroit Tigers swing for the fences to get ready for the season with a dozen exhibition games at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium each spring.
Pick up ready-to-eat treats, produce, artworks, jewellery, and plants at Saturday’s Downtown Farmers Curb Market. Revel in the region’s natural beauty with a hike through Colt Creek Park or a stroll through Hollis Garden’s 10,000 flowers, shrubs, and native trees. Watch Silvermoon Drive-in Theatre’s first-run films and Polk Theatre’s mix of classic films and live plays.
Follow the Lego Brick Road to Winter Haven’s LEGOLAND® Florida Resort – on the former Cypress Gardens site by Lake Eloise - ride a coaster past LEGO dinosaurs, take a motion simulation flight through LEGO film scenes, or build your own brick raft to float down a lazy river. The adjacent Peppa Pig Theme Park mixes interactive rides and themed playgrounds with character shows and an indoor cinema.
Winter Haven is also home to the famous Chain of Lakes linked by a series of century-old canals – perfect for fishing and also exploring by guided sunset cruises, paddleboard, catboat, or jet-ski. Get up close to Nubian and Alpine goats at Goat Life & Proctor’s Goat Farm. Visit Theatre Winter Haven to view live musicals and bands.
Davenport has a small-town vibe, nestled halfway between Lakeland and Orlando, and offers easy access to major attractions like Disney. Begin your stay with a bucket-list adventure – a private hot air balloon ride along a customised flight path. Browse the racks at Posner Park Shopping Mall and learn about the region’s popular sports at USA Water Ski and Wake Sports Foundation Hall of Fame Museum.
Stop in for fish and chips, steak and kidney pie, and other bites from across the pond at Proper Pie Company and tuck into burgers and fried mac and cheese at Adler’s. Visit Webb’s Candy Shop to pick up a box of hand-dipped chocolates, goat’s milk fudge, and tropical fruit candies. Spend the day picking blueberries and sipping home-made wine varieties at the family-owned True Blue Winery.
Lake Wales, near the very centre of the Florida peninsula, lets you experience the state’s history and natural splendour. Awaken your inner cowboy (or girl!) as you stay inside a kitted-out tepee, glamping tent, or covered wagon at the 1,700-acre Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo by the Kissimmee River - enjoy trail rides, pony rides, weekly rodeos, airboat rides, skeet shooting, and zip lining.
Find a sense of tranquillity at Bok Tower Gardens – a contemplative garden and bird sanctuary on Iron Mountain – with its 3.5-mile hiking trail, reflection pool, interactive Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden, and 205-foot-tall Singing Tower. Learn about Florida’s cattle-driving heritage at Lake Kissimmee State Park and hundreds of years of regional history at Lake Wales History Museum.
If you’re travelling with kids, worry not! Let them learn through play with Florida Children’s Museum’s adventures, whimsical orange grove, and space exhibits. Head to Family Fun Center’s 18-hole mini-golf course, laser tag, arcade games, and Funtasia indoor playground. Solve puzzles at Lakeland’s escape rooms - Escapology Escape Rooms, Lakeland Escape Room, and iPanic Escape Room.
Defy gravity at DEFY Lakeland; complete with obstacle courses, aerial silks, and foam pits. Indulge in a little friendly competition with bowling at Lakeland’s Orange Bowl Lanes and AMF Lakeland Lanes or at Winter Haven’s Cypress Lanes. Let the kids’ burn up some energy at Common Ground Playground, Lake Eva Community Park, Chain of Lakes Downtown Trailhead Park, and Bok Tower Gardens.
Food and Drink
Take your taste buds on a culinary adventure in Central Florida. Whether you fancy filling your plate with barbecued treats, feasting on classic high-end steakhouse fare, indulging in fine dining, or tucking into home-style grub; Central Florida’s food scene is sure to please everyone from the culinary curious to the chicken-nuggets-only crowd.
Relish lakeside dining at Winter Haven’s Harborside Restaurant or Lake Wales’ Cherry Pocket Steak & Seafood Shak. Fine dining awaits at Winter Haven’s Arabellas Ristorante and Nutwood and Lakeland’s Nineteen61 and Bay Street Bistro. Tempting local favourites are on the menu at Winter Haven’s Fire Restaurant and Lakeland’s Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille.
You can even fill your mind, your belly, and your heart on a Lakeland or Winter Haven Food Tour taking in popular local restaurants in the company of a local guide. Central Florida is also the world’s leading citrus fruit provider – making it perfect for citrus grove tours and to pick your own oranges, blueberries, peaches, and blackberries at one of the u-pick farms.
Artisanal bakeries are your pit stops for cookies, cakes, pies, and Cruffins. If you’re craving a gelato or an authentic Turkish coffee, you’re in luck. Enjoy the best craft brews or cups of Java at Grove Roots Brewing Co, Swan Brewing, Brew Hub, Concord Coffee, Haven Coffee Roasters, Black & Brew Coffee House & Bistro, and Ethos Roasters.
Art and Culture
Learn about the Native American and indigenous people and see historic images from the early railroad days at Lake Wales History Museum. Explore the Polk Museum of Art - an accredited fine art museum highlighting Central Floridian artists, affiliated with Florida Southern College to showcase art from around the globe, and the host of the Mayfaire-by-the-Lake event each Mother’s Day Weekend.
Enjoy a night at the theatre with plays, performances, and more – Lakeland Community Theatre has been staging family-friendly musicals and popular comedies such as Hairspray, Mary Poppins, and Mamma Mia alongside thrice-yearly contemporary plays produced by Edge Stage Read for adults and teens.
Theatre Winter Haven produces six main-stage shows and two productions for a younger audience each year starring local residents – including irreverent musicals such as Footloose, Kinky Boots, and Avenue Q. Winter Haven also offers a variety of theatre and dance classes for tots to teens and hosts outdoor concerts every Friday and Sunday at Chain of Lakes Stadium.