If you crave adventure, there are plenty of things to do in Polk County, Florida. This county boasts wealth of family-friendly activities that include hiking trails, boat rides, gardens and orchards, theaters, and resorts. Whether you are visiting from another state or a true Floridian in need of a “staycation” at home, learn more in this guide to the best things to do in Polk county this summer.
1. Circle B Bar Reserve
With freshwater marshes, sparkling lakes and creeks, and lush oak canopies, the Circle B Bar Reserve is a must-see for anyone who loves nature. Comprising 1,267 acres near Lakeland, Florida, this protected reserve is a fun way to explore the natural habitat of the state’s stunning wildlife.
2. Bok Tower Gardens
Take a break from the ordinary with a visit to the majestic Bok Tower Gardens. As a contemplative garden and bird sanctuary situated in Lake Wales, Florida, this historical landmark offers a rich experience that keeps you engaged for hours. The acreage includes a historic mansion, carillon tower, flower gardens, and an outdoor kitchen for the whole family.
3. Spook Hill
If you are in the search for thrill, forget haunted houses. Spook Hill has achieved international fame as one of the eeriest attractions in the world. Visitors park their vehicles at the bottom of limestone hills to experience the “spooky” force that appears to pull their cars to the ridge’s peak.
4. Ridge Island Groves
At Ridge Island Groves, you will discover that the orange is Florida’s official state fruit for a reason. Explore fragrant orange groves in which you can pick fruit and stop for fresh-squeezed orange juice, organic marmalade, and orange-flavored ice cream.
5. Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo
Live like a cowboy at the Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo. This genuine dude ranch encompasses 1,700 acres and features horseback riding, trap and skeet shooting, and a weekly rodeo show located just on the edge of the Florida wilderness.
6. Colt Creek State Park
Dense subtropical forests meet pristine lakes in this gorgeous park and reserve. With trails that extend over a dozen miles, there is plenty of space for horseback riding, hiking, and cycling.
7. Paddleboard Winter Haven
Learn the basics of paddleboarding across Florida’s glistening blue lakes with this tour experience. This tour company offers paddleboard adventure trips as well as workout classes for every fitness level.
8. Polk County U-Pick Farms
Craving something other than oranges? Explore one of Polk County’s organic “u-pick” farms. Types of fresh produce available include peaches, muscadine grapes, tomatoes, sweet corn, and numerous berry varieties.
9. Winter Haven Water Sports
Central Florida’s abundance of freshwater means that there are plenty of water sports to enjoy. Sign up for water skiing and other boarding activities. You can also rent a kayak to enjoy rafting for a day.
10. Hollis Garden
Ensconced within the historic Lake Mirror Park, Hollis Garden is a formal garden featuring over 10,000 flowers, shady trees, neoclassical architecture, and plenty of play areas for children.
11. Bone Valley ATV Park
If you are into adrenaline and need a rugged ATV track, Bone Valley ATV Park is the perfect opportunity. Comprised of 15 trails across 200 acres, this ATV has routes for everyone from novice to professional.
12. Waldo Wright’s Flying Service
Sign up for a vintage biplane tour through this service. Featuring an open cockpit and impressive views, the tours are perfect for romantic trips or personal bucket lists.
13. Silver Moon Drive-In
Plan a vintage date night at the Silver Moon Drive-In. Built in the 1940s, this attraction is the last remaining drive-in movie theater in Polk County.
14. Polk County History Center
Take a crash course in regional history by visiting this landmark. Attractions include the old courthouse, artifacts, and county museum.
15. Mulberry Phosphate Museum
Situated within Polk County’s original railroad depot, the Mulberry Phosphate Museum is a true blast from the past. Exhibits include fossilized remains and the vintage locomotive from the 19th-century phosphate mining industry.
16. Homeland Heritage Park
This historic landmark includes family camping sites and tours of the area’s old parsonage, log cabins, and barns.
17. Mark’em All Paintball
Plan a paintball party for family and friends. This attraction has three separate fields for numerous game scenarios.
18. Lake Kissimmee State Park
Visit the western shore of Lake Kissimmee in Polk County. Rich in wildlife like bald eagles, bobcats, and ospreys, the location is also a prime spot for fishing.
19. Winter Haven Chain of Lakes
This water complex is a series of sparkling lakes that connect via canals. In addition to hiking, there is an excellent paved trail for hiking and biking.
20. Living Water Nature Cruise
As an alternative to renting a kayak yourself, sign up for the Living Water Boat Cruise for a picturesque tour of central Florida.
21. Imperial Symphony Orchestra
Enjoy a cultured performance of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra. Types of concerts include Gaelic symphonies and classical concertos that are music to your ears.
22. Preston Aviation Tailwheel Flight School
Take an unforgettable lesson in simplistic flight or aerial photography at this venerable flight academy.
23. Explorations V Children’s Museum
Children can learn everything from science experiments to Native American history in this action-packed museum.
24. LEGOLAND® Water Park
Consisting of over four million Lego bricks, this park has numerous rides for all age groups.
25. Safari Wilderness
Take a wild safari right on North American soil. This reserve consists of over 260 acres of marshes that house native wetland species.