Top 10 Things To Do In Polk County, Florida
By Allison Williams
When people think of Florida, oftentimes they think of Disney World, Universal, Miami, The Florida Keys, St Pete, etc. People might not think of Polk County right away when they are planning trips to Florida, but should they be? Who would have thought that in the middle of Central Florida, there are actually tons of fun things to do? Living in Polk County for several years, I experienced firsthand some great attractions right in the area. Though there are tons of things to do throughout the county, I will highlight my top 10.
A very popular and well-known attraction in Polk County is LEGOLAND Resort in Winter Haven. Having a young kid, LEGOLAND was a must. I have taken my daughter there many times and she just loves it. They actually now have three parks within. There is the LEGOLAND theme park, where you can find rides, shows, attractions. The kids can even get their “driver’s licenses” at the Ford Driving School!
We all know Florida can get hot, especially during summertime. Polk County might not be super close to the beach, but a having a water park right in Winter Haven sure sounds fun. The LEGOLAND water park has various amenities, including slides, wave pool, lazy river, water play structures, and more.
One of the newer additions to LEGOLAND is the World’s First Peppa Pig Theme Park. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the soft opening of Peppa Pig Theme Park with my daughter a couple years back, and she got to ride every single ride and watch the shows within the park. She loves Peppa Pig, so you can imagine how much fun she had.
LEGOLAND is located at:
One LEGOLAND Way
Winter Haven, FL 33884
Circle B Bar Reserve
For residents and even visitors of Florida, essentially everyone knows about the presence of alligators. With that being said, if you have not yet made a trip to Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, just outside of Winter Haven, you might be missing out. Circle B Bar Reserve is known for their alligators. It is a reserve of over 1,200 acres where you’ll find all sorts of plants and animals.
At Circle B, there are various walking trails and some trails will even take you to the lake, where odds are you’ll see a gator. There are many trails ranging from 0.2 miles up to 1.3 miles. Many photographers and even painters have been known to travel hear to take advantage of the opportunities to capture the beauty that this reserve offers, whether that is through a lens or on canvas.
In addition to alligators, in the reserve you might spot owls, eagles, hawks, sandhill cranes, otters, bobcats, foxes, and many more species.
Circle B Bar Reserve is located at:
4399 Winter Lake Rd
Lakeland, FL 33803.
Website: Circle B Bar Reserve
Bok Tower Gardens
If you love beautiful scenery, flowers, peaceful environments, then Bok Tower Gardens is a must-see. Located in Lake Wales, these gardens are open every day of the year. In addition to the breathtaking gardens, it also has its own visitor center, café and shop. Bok Tower offers various admission plans, from single day admission, to special event admission, to special member admission.
Bok Tower is located at:
1151 Tower Boulevard
Lake Wales, Florida 33853
Website: Bok Tower Gardens
Do you believe in spirits/ghosts? If you live in Polk County, you might have heard of Spook Hill, but have you actually ever been there to see if the rumors are true for yourself? Spook Hill is a “gravity hill” where if you follow its directions, cars appear to be rolling up the hill. Sounds interesting right? Whether you believe in spooky stuff or not, if you’re in the Lake Wales area, it might be fun to just try it for yourself.
The idea is to stop your car at the designated spot, put the car in neutral and feel the effects of driving uphill when the car is actually rolling downhill in neutral.
Spook Hill is located right at Spook Hill Elementary School:
321 Dr JA Wiltshire Ave
Lake Wales, FL 33853
Lakeland has its fair share of attractions, and one notable attraction, especially for those animal lovers, is Safari Wilderness. This wild animal safari is not a zoo and not a theme park. They are unique and refer to an experience here as an “adventure in nature.” Here you’ll find over 260 acres of wilderness.
Various tour options are offered. Tour by vehicle, tour by camelback, tour by ATV or even tour by kayak! Sounds fun.
Safari Wilderness is located at:
10850 Moore Rd
Lakeland, FL 33809
Website: Safari Wilderness
Bonnet Springs Park
Bonnet Springs Park is a large park located in Lakeland. There are over 160 acres for people to explore, and the best part is that it is a FREE park. A great benefit to this park is its close proximity to downtown Lakeland.
This park offers recreation, art and an escape. What I mean by that is the park allows people the opportunity to escape the busy world and slow down time and enjoy the moment. Exploring nature can have a way of calming people, and this park allows the opportunity.
Bonnet Springs Park is located at:
400 Bonnet Springs Boulevard
Lakeland, FL 33815
Website: Bonnet Springs Park
West Gate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo
Did you know that there is a resort in Lake Wales? Yes, that’s right. Lake Wales is home to Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo, a “luxury glamping ranch.” They even have teepees!
If you like relaxing in nature, then this is the place for you. The resort is about 1,700 acres big and is right at the Kissimmee River. Spend your day horseback riding and taking in all of your surroundings, then at night unwind by relaxing by the campfire.
Westgate River Ranch is located at:
3200 River Ranch Blvd
River Ranch, FL 33867
Website: Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo
Sun ‘N Fun Aerospace Expo
Those interested in aviation and are in the area during Spring may want to check out SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo. Located in Lakeland, this yearly event brings in people from all over to experience daily airshows, exhibitors, show planes, demo flights, workshops, movies and much more!
The next SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo will take place April 9-14, 2024. Tickets are currently on sale.
SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus is located at:
4075 James C. Ray Dr
Lakeland, FL 33811
Website: SUN ‘n FUN
Polk County is filled with u-pick farms. From strawberries, to oranges, to flowers, there are u-pick farms throughout the county that might be worth taking a trip to. My family loves strawberries, especially my young daughter, and when we found a local Polk County place to take her to in order to pick her very own, she was over the moon excited.
Our daughter got to experience picking her very own strawberries to wash and eat. The very best part – the ones she picked were amazing! So fresh and delicious. Though I will not highlight one specific u-pick farm, there are some located in Polk County and the surrounding areas, such as Plant City.
Polk County is full of lakes. Have you ever considered an airboat tour? Airboat tours can be a different and fun way to explore the lakes and wildlife of Polk County. One of the first events I covered for Daily Ridge when I started working for them was an airboat tour. I was new to Florida, and seeing alligators in the lake was truly a cool experience. I even got to hold a baby gator after the tour was complete.
If you live in Polk County or are planning a trip here, you might consider one of these top ten places.