Polk County in Central Florida is known as ‘Florida’s sweetest spot’ and families love it for laid-back holidays that are low on crowds but packed with everything from thrilling theme parks to some of the freshest outdoor adventures in the entire state.
Central Florida’s Polk County sits between Orlando and Tampa, so it’s perfect for Gulf and Atlantic coast beaches, as well as Orlando’s world famous theme parks. But families who know Central Florida don’t ever think of it as just a convenient holiday base. If you want theme parks, you don’t need to travel out of Polk County. It’s also the area for no less than three State Parks and a State Forest, as well as hundreds of accessible lakes and wetlands; historic landmarks; gorgeous gardens and acre after acre of citrus groves. The biggest dude ranch east of the Mississippi is in Polk County too, as well as no fewer than 13 Frank Lloyd Wright designs.
With over 390 miles of scenic hiking trails, you can understand why outdoor adventures are big in Central Florida. There’s also an exciting food scene and fresh and local ingredients feature high in family-friendly restaurants all over the area, from lively downtown districts to lakeside on some Florida’s loveliest stretches of water. And as far as family holiday accommodation goes, Polk County is not only home to North America’s first ever LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel, it also offers families 1000s of great value holiday homes to choose from. It’s probably already clear why Polk County in Central Florida is known as ‘Florida’s Sweetest Spot’, but here are a few more reasons to plan a family holiday here as soon as you can.
Family holidays in Central Florida are naturally great fun
Warm and sunny Polk County actively encourages you to make the most of the weather on family holidays in Central Florida. The great outdoors doesn’t come much greater than it does here – an astonishing 25,000 acres of Polk County are protected and preserved just for adventuring around.
If you want to get out on the water, you’ve a pick of more than 550 freshwater lakes and not just for admiring: you can do just about anything on these waters from air boating and kayaking to world-class fishing. Polk County also contains three state parks and each is a true individual – proof, if you need it, that you’re on holiday in one of Florida’s most environmentally diverse areas.
Lake Wales Ridge State Forest is another local hiking legend and part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. And speaking of wildlife, Polk County is also home to Circle B Bar Reserve which USA Today named as one of the country’s ’51 Great Places to See Wildlife’.
Why families love Central Florida’s great outdoors
- Freedom to explore three state parks and Lake Wales Ridge State Forest plus several lovely county parks and reserves.
- More than 550 freshwater lakes for water sports, fishing or sailing – the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes pontoon cruise is an unmissable adventure for kids.
- Fun tours of family-run U-Pick Farms to learn about Florida’s famous citrus fruits; harvest your own oranges, peaches and blueberries, and drink the freshest fresh-orange-juice ever.
- Hiring kayaks at Lake Kissimmee to explore the Buster Island Paddling Trail – another Central Florida wildlife wonder.
- The wilderness experience of 4013 acre SUMICA – keen-eyed kids might spot Florida wild turkeys.
Check out sensational theme parks, and so much more
Polk County’s LEGOLAND Florida Resort covers a mammoth 150 acres in Winter Haven with more than 50 rides and attractions, an amazingly colourful waterpark and all those irresistible kids-and-bricks experiences that make LEGO the globally recognised symbol of fun.
This is also the very first LEGOLAND resort in North America with a LEGO Pirate Island Hotel. So if a day out isn’t quite exciting enough for kids, you can book a night (or more) in five storeys worth of thrills ranging from character meet-n-greets to in-room treasure hunts, a LEGO-centric swimming pool, family entertainment, themed bedrooms and LEGO play areas. And not content with the first LEGO Pirate Island Hotel in North America, LEGOLAND Florida Resort is going for a world first with its brand new Peppa Pig theme park, set to open in 2022.
More fun things to see and do
- Bok Tower Gardens is where to see the soaring 205-foot tall Bok Tower. This impressive Art Deco tower isn’t just stunning to look at, it also contains a carillon which serenades visitors with enchanting bell music as they stroll around the pretty gardens.
- Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo in Central Florida is the largest ‘dude ranch’ east of the Mississippi and couldn’t be more family-friendly. Kids can try horse riding, swimming and hiking, sailing or fishing here – in the company of real cowboys. And the Saturday rodeo is an only-in-Central-Florida experience not to be missed.
- Spook Hill in Lake Wales is one of the oldest known ‘magnetic’ hills in the US. Expect kids to be amazed by the gravity-defying phenomenon of cars rolling uphill and by the legends that surround this most mysterious of places.
- Head to Safari Wilderness Ranch and take a guided game drive (or camel safari) through 260 acres of untamed landscape populated by free-roaming herds of African and Asian wildlife.
- Central Florida is home to no less than 13 Frank Lloyd Wright designs and you can see them all – including the architect’s largest water feature – at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.
Find more Polk County family attractions in Central Florida
1000s of holiday homes make Central Florida great value for families
LEGOLAND Hotel is an unforgettable experience for kids and it’s just one of many excellent, family-friendly hotels in Central Florida. But this area’s also the heartland of affordable holiday homes with around 7000 rental properties available across Polk County, ranging from cute cottages to enormous six-bedroom villas. The quality of accommodation is exceptionally high. All holiday homes are fully furnished with well-equipped kitchens, spacious living rooms and laundry facilities. Towels and bedlinen are normally included as standard, plus many homes have private swimming pools – a few even have private cinemas. And you can expect every single holiday rental to be in a great location: not just for Central Florida, but also for Orlando’s theme parks and stunning beaches on both the Gulf and Atlantic coast.
Find out more about Polk County family holiday accommodation in Central Florida
Book Central Florida family holidays for February 2022 and save £210pp
Central Florida 7-night family holiday only £699pp
Including UK flights and Orlando Experiences
Return flights with British Airways from London Gatwick to Orlando International.
7-night stay at Solterra Resort 5-bedroom family villa in Central Florida.
Free Ocean Explorer package worth $440, includes 4 Orlando Experiences.
All for just £699pp (based on a family of four)
Travel dates: February 2022 (other dates available)