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.
Dedicated 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.
Learn 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.
Horseback 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.
Golfers 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.
Feast 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.
Make 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.
Abundant 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.
For 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.
Located 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
Davidson 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.
23. BeFly Bike Tours
25. Creek Ranch
A 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.
For 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.
Back 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
Since 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.
Lakeland’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.
34. Hollis Garden
35. Spook Hill
Lake 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.
The 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.
Dixieland 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
40. Posner Park
The 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
44. Shooting ranges
Polk 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.
46. Food truck rally
Stop 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.
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.
Step 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.
This 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.
Established 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.