50+ Ways to Experience Central Florida’s Polk County Like a Tourist

We have all heard of going where the locals go when traveling, but why not go where the visitors go when you’re not traveling? Have you ever discovered the fun that lies in your own backyard? Whether you are a resident of Polk County or a visitor, here are 53 places and activities that we think everyone should experience in Central Florida!

TRAVEL DEALS: Be sure to check out our Central Florida Travel Deals at VisitCentralFlorida.org/travel-deals where you will find discounts for many of the places below.

Click on each topic heading for more information.

1. Bok Tower Gardens

cfvcb2012_bok_0055Inspiring visitors with Olmsted gardens, a majestic bell tower, carillon concerts and the Pinewood Mansion. Café and gift shop onsite. Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark.

2 .LEGOLAND Florida

cfvcb2012_legoland_0095Dedicated to families with children ages 2 to 12, LEGOLAND® Florida is a 150-acre interactive theme park with more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, including spectacular LEGO® models and other interactive elements.

3. Polk Outpost 27- Central Florida’s Visitor Center

OP27_Family_infoLearn about all that Central Florida has to offer at Central Florida’s Visitor Center in Davenport, and allow our family-friendly staff to assist with lodging, attractions, tee times, restaurants, shopping and discounted attraction tickets.

4. Circle B Bar Reserve

Circle BarB_entrance_familiesCircle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland includes freshwater marshes, hardwood swamps, oak hammocks, creeks and lakes are found on this property, which is home to waterfowl, ospreys, eagles and alligators.

5. Frank Lloyd Wright architecture

FLW_2011_7The Florida Southern College campus located in Lakeland contains the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012.

6. Westgate River Ranch

RR Horseback 10Horseback riding, Saturday night rodeos, a trap and skeet shooting range, airboat rides, lodging – everything the family needs for some good old-fashioned cowboy fun at an authentic dude ranch located east of Lake Wales.

7. Golf

Streansong ResortGolfers of all abilities will have no problem finding course options to suit their game, as Polk County features 34 public-access courses offering a total of 648 holes of golf surrounded by natural scenery including the critically-acclaimed Streamsong Resort in Streamsong as well as The Club at Eaglebrooke in Lakeland, Highlands Reserve in Davenport and Southern Dunes in Haines City.

8. Dining

harrys-lakeland-frontFeast on slow-roasted barbecue at a restaurant decorated with antique farm tools, head to a rustic fish camp for an old-fashioned fish fry, indulge in a six-course meal served in a historic dining room or check out a local favorite.

9. Polk Museum of Art

PMOA_BigPictureDiscover one of Florida’s top ten art museums featuring a diverse exhibition schedule, dynamic event calendar, and comprehensive educational programming in Lakeland.

10. Ridge Island Groves

8738-ridge-island-groves-eating-areaEnjoy fresh juice, oranges, marmalades, orange ice cream, and a grove tour with “You Pick” citrus at the family-owned and operated Ridge Island Groves in Haines City.

11. Colt Creek State Park

Photo Feb 28, 11 14 47 AMThe Florida State Park in Lakeland offers over 12 miles of beautiful, multi-use trails which make for great horse-back riding, hiking and biking opportunities.

12. Safari Wilderness

Safari WildernessSafari Wilderness Ranch in Lakeland offers a stunning 260 acres of pristine wilderness filled with wetland exotic species.

13. Silver Moon Drive-In

Silver Moon signLakeland’s first drive-in theatre, and Polk County’s only remaining drive-in theatre, offers two screens with a double feature viewing seven nights a week.

14. The Barn and The Back Porch

TheBarnShop1Make a day out of your visit to The Barn in Lake Alfred, with shops that include The Barn Antiques, The Stable, The Seasons Gift Shop and The Back Yard Garden Shop, and enjoy a quaint lunch at The Back Porch Restaurant.

15. Fishing

CampMackFishing3Abundant sunshine and pleasant temperatures allow for fishing in Polk County year-round on the region’s more than 550 lakes that occupy over 135 square miles including Lake Kissimmee, the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes, Lake Walk-in-Water (Weohyakapka) and many more.

16. Theatre performances

Central FloridaFor great theatrical performances try Polk County community theatres such as the Ramon Theater in Frostproof, Lakeland Community Theatre in Lakeland, Polk Theatre in Lakeland, Lake Wales Little Theatre, Haines City Community Theatre and Theatre Winter Haven.

17. LEGOLAND Florida Water Park

Build-a-Raft River familyLEGOLAND® Water Park in Winter Haven features more than four million LEGO bricks while offering interactive water play fun for the entire family.

18. Polk County History Center

Polk County History CenterLocated inside Bartow’s historic Old Polk County Courthouse, the Polk Country History Center features the latest artifacts and historical information about Polk County as well as ever-growing collections, unique showcases, special events, educational opportunities, and volunteer programs.

19. Airboat tour

Airboat rides are an excellent way to stay cool while experiencing nature in Polk County with a number of different companies that offer airboat rides.

20. Explorations V Children’s Museum

Lakeland’s Explorations V Children’s Museum offers a fun-filled museum experience for the young with hands-on art and science exhibits and programs.

21. Davidson of Dundee

5986-centralfl-0715-webDavidson of Dundee makes 4,000 pounds of marmalade and 3,600 pounds of candies daily during the season. This candy shop/factory that has been featured on the Food Network as well as other national shows and offers free factory tours.

22. Shady Oak Farm U-Pick Blueberries

IMG_9673Primarily a blueberry farm with more than 26,000 blueberry bushes, Shady Oak Farm in Lakeland offers U-Pick and We-Pick blueberries June-March and grows vegetables of various types throughout year.

23. BeFly Bike Tours

beflySee all of the beauty, art, and culture that Lakeland has to offer with an experienced guide and custom-designed Lake Cruisers.

24. Local farmers markets

Farmers Curb MarketStop by a farmers market taking place throughout the county daily, weekly, monthly, and bi-monthly to stock up on the freshest fruits and vegetables.

25. Creek Ranch

Great Room at Creek RanchCreek Ranch, a privately-owned working ranch on the shores of Lake Hatchineha in Haines City, is an all-inclusive resort with lake, nature and ranch activities.

26. Lang’s Sun Country Groves and Taste of Florida Café

Lang's grapefruit pieA family business that first began as a Florida Grove retail shop and shipper in 1951 expanded to include a café 53 years later that values family traditions and is known for its award-winning grapefruit pie.

27. Florida’s Natural Growers Grove House

Fla Natural GROVE HOUSE Gift ShopFor a relaxing, educational and fun option, check out the Florida’s Natural Growers Grove House visitor center in Lake Wales October through May for a wonderful array of citrus-related gifts, food, books and more.

28. PicassoZ Art Café

4590_103223878448_4898185_nPicassoZ Art Café located at Lakeside Village in Lakeland is a casual do-it-yourself art studio where you can express your artistic side by painting pottery, making mosaics or creating a candle.

29. Lake Kissimmee Guided Segway Tour

SEGWAY Tours at Lk Kiss State Park 1Back Trail Adventures of Florida allows you to experience, first hand, a Segway x2 Personal Transporter, as you glide through the pristine Florida landscape of Lake Kissimmee State Park in Lake Wales.

30. Chalet Suzanne

chaletsuzanneSince 1931, the Hinshaw Family has continued to welcome guests to the 26 room inn and five-star restaurant in Lake Wales where guests can dine amidst antiques and artifacts, visit the gift shop, take a swim, tour the Soup Cannery, and visit the ceramic artist in the History House.

31. Paint Along Studios

Night_Life_at_Paint_Along_StudiosFollow along with artist instructor, David Collins’ step-by-step stroke demonstrations to create your very own painting you take home at Paint Along Studios located in Downtown Lakeland.

32. Lakeland Flying Tigers

Flying Tigers 2Lakeland’s Minor League Baseball team, the Lakeland Flying Tigers, play their home games at Joker Marchant Stadium April-August, which also doubles as the Detroit Tigers’ spring training home and have been the High-A affiliate of the Tigers since 1967, one of the two longest unbroken affiliate relationships currently existing.

33. Kayak and boat rentals

KAYAK_2Rent a boat and explore Polk County’s waterways or hop aboard a nature cruise and let the captain do the work for you.

34. Hollis Garden

hollis-garden-high-600x900Hollis Garden is home to more than 10,000 flowers and ornamental shrubs, shade trees , a Grand Staircase and Barnett Family Park, a kid-friendly play area, on the shores of Lake Mirror in Lakeland.

35. Spook Hill

3479-spookhillLake Wales’ Spook Hill has gained worldwide notoriety as one of the most potentially haunted locations in existence, and visitors come from around the world to park their cars at the bottom and experience the mysterious force that seems to defy gravity as it pushes their car to the top of the hill.

36. Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team Show

7376-cg-pyramidThe Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team was reestablished in 2012 by former theme park employees and has returned with a new home on Winter Haven’s Lake Silver and free shows monthly on the third Saturday.

37. Webb’s Candy Shop

4800-citrus-candyFrom their famous goat’s milk fudge to their unique citrus candies and factory tours, Webb’s Candy Shop in Davenport is a fascinating experience for children and adults alike.

38. Dixieland in Lakeland

360 Unlimited 7Dixieland is a historic district in Lakeland filled with a community of retail establishments such as Dixieland Relics, 360 Unlimited, Hattie’s Branches, and Raven’s Relics as well as restaurants like Fat Maggie’s, Butterfly Bistro, Patio850 and Reececliffe Family Diner.

39. Lakeside Village

Lakeside VillageLakeland’s open-air shopping center featuring shops such as Belk, Kohl’s, Coldwater Creek, Loft, Bed Bath & Beyond, boutiques, as well as a Cobb Theatre and many dining options.

40. Posner Park

6995-posner-park-sign-900x600Shop at Northeast Polk County’s open-air shopping center featuring stores such as Target, JCPenney, Dick’s Sports Goods, Michael’s, PetSmart and more located in Davenport.

41. The Lakeland Center Events

Lakeland CenterThe Lakeland Center is Central Florida’s premier entertainment, sports and convention complex with over 100,000 square feet of flexible space and hosts events of all kinds throughout the year. Find a complete list of upcoming events at: thelakelandcenter.com/TicketsEvents/UpcomingEvents.aspx

42. USA Water Ski Hall of Fame Museum

Water Ski Hall of FameThe Museum of the Water Ski Hall of Fame contains a wealth of sports memorabilia for water ski and boating enthusiasts of all ages and is located in Polk City along Interstate 4.

43. Off the Wall Adventures

off the wallThis sprawling athletic complex in Lakeland includes a heated swimming pool, paintball field, batting cages, and opportunities for scuba diving, kayaking and fishing excursions.

44. Shooting ranges

Police Combat League Tony Caruso Ron JohnsonPolk houses shooting and archery ranges throughout the county including one of the top shooting ranges in the U.S., the Universal Shooting Academy in Frostproof as well as other ranges as Tenoroc Shooting in Lakeland, Imperial Polk Gun Club in Winter Haven, Leadfeather Guns and Archery in Winter Haven and Shoot Straight in Lakeland.

45. Paddleboard Winter Haven

Paddleboard Winter Haven   DSCN0905    reduced resPaddleboard Winter Haven offers private paddleboard parties, corporate “board” meetings, paddleboard adventure trips, and Paddlefit workouts.

46. Food truck rally

7632-img9848Stop by a food truck rally recurring monthly in Polk County for a fun opportunity to try a wide variety of gourmet food such as the Downtown Lakeland Food Truck Rally and the Main Street Winter Haven Food Truck Rally.

47. Publix Apron’s Cooking School

apronsCredit: YLakeland
The home of Publix’s corporate headquarters, Lakeland’s central location offers easy access on all sides to world-famous chefs and out-of-this-world cuisine making it a perfect location for an Aprons Cooking School to showcase great food.

48. Absolute Aqua Sports

IMG_0409Whether you want to rocket 45 feet out of the water, swim like a dolphin, or surf the sky, riding a Flyboard, the hottest new extreme watersport, is an experience like none other.

49. Florida Air Museum

2970-10824o16576Step back in time with an extensive collection of Howard Hughes memorabilia including rare artifacts such as models of the “Spruce Goose” and some of Hughes’ personal flight suits, medals and trophies at the Florida Air Museum located at SUN ‘n FUN in Lakeland.

50. Imperial Symphony Orchestra concert

Lakeland Symphony on StageThis community orchestra is comprised of 80 volunteer musicians, who have made it their mission to entertain, educate and inspire audiences through enlightening performances of symphonic music held primarily at The Lakeland Center.

51. Preston Aviation, Biplane Rides and Instruction

4488-earlEstablished in 1994, Preston Aviation offers Biplane Rides and Tailwheel Instruction located at the Winter Haven Municipal Airport features biplane rides and instruction in a Boeing Stearman and Piper J3 Cub.

52. Action Paintball

action paintballPlay the nation’s fastest-growing extreme sport with open games, private groups or parties at Action Paintball in Winter Haven.

53. Skydive Lake Wales

skydiveSkydive Lake Wales offers tandem jump or freefall training – a great way to experience Central Florida from the air.


Five Star Family Growers Presents: U-Pick