Winter Haven, located in Central Florida’s Polk County, is known for its lakes, parks, and family-friendly attractions.
- Establishment: Winter Haven was established in 1911 and experienced rapid growth thanks to the railroad and citrus industries.
- History: Winter Haven’s history is tied to the citrus industry, which flourished in the area, and the development of the Chain of Lakes, which connected several lakes for transportation and recreational purposes. The city also has a history of water skiing and was once home to the world-famous Cypress Gardens, a former theme park that featured botanical gardens and water ski shows.
- Population: Winter Haven has a population of approximately 45,000 residents.
- LEGOLAND Florida: A popular family theme park with LEGO-themed rides, shows, and attractions, built on the site of the former Cypress Gardens.
- Bok Tower Gardens: A National Historic Landmark featuring a 205-foot tall carillon tower, beautiful gardens, and a visitor center.
- Chain of Lakes: A series of 24 lakes interconnected by canals, perfect for boating, fishing, and water sports.
- Theatre Winter Haven: A local community theater presenting plays, musicals, and other performances.
- Events & Festivals:
- Winter Haven’s Annual Carols in the Park: A holiday event with arts and crafts, live entertainment, and food vendors.
- Orange Blossom Revue: A barbecue and music festival held on the shores of Lake Wales.
- Smoke on the Water: An annual barbecue competition and festival featuring live music, food, and family-friendly activities.
- Accommodation Alternatives: Winter Haven offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, motels, and vacation rentals. Some options include the Hampton Inn Winter Haven, Holiday Inn Winter Haven, and various vacation rental properties.
- Food & Dining: Winter Haven has a diverse food scene, with options ranging from casual eateries to fine dining establishments. Local favorites include Harborside, a waterfront restaurant offering fresh seafood, and Tempo 1930, a restaurant with a speakeasy vibe and inventive menu.
- Fun Facts:
- Winter Haven was once known as the “Water Ski Capital of the World” due to the Cypress Gardens water ski shows and its lakes.
- The city is home to the world’s largest collection of vintage water skis, housed at the Florida Water Ski Hall of Fame.
- Winter Haven is also known as the “Chain of Lakes City” due to its unique system of interconnected lakes.
Winter Haven is a family-friendly city that offers a mix of outdoor recreation, cultural experiences, and popular attractions like LEGOLAND Florida. Its rich history and beautiful landscapes make it an enjoyable destination for visitors seeking a quieter alternative to the bustling theme parks of nearby Orlando.