Discover Central Florida’s Polk County for family adventures and chill holiday vibes

Last updated 12th April 2024

Central Florida’s Polk County is the secret to the sweetest Florida holidays 2024 for families. In fact, it’s known as ‘Florida’s sweetest spot’ and if you haven’t heard of it yet, you’re in for a treat.

You’ll find everything except crowds in Central Florida’s Polk County

If you’re looking for an affordable multi-activity destination full of natural beauty for your Florida holiday in 2024, Central Florida’s Polk County is where it’s at.

Another great draw is that the attractions aren’t overcrowded here, despite being the kind you usually have to fight the hordes for, so you can say goodbye to long queues and bored kids.

Also, you’ll have more space to explore the 390 miles of scenic hiking trails undisturbed. And you’ll effortlessly get a table at one of the cool downtown or stunning lakeside restaurants which reflect the region’s diverse culinary scene.


Powerboat cruise, Westgate River Ranch & Rodeo

A great location for a Florida holiday with epic outdoor adventures

Surrounded by lush citrus groves and dotted with quaint towns, Central Florida’s Polk County exudes a nostalgic charm to captivate visitors. Whether exploring state parks, wandering historic downtowns, enjoying the farm-to-fork restaurants or hiking along scenic trails, families will discover a sweetness everywhere.

From the thrill-filled wonderland of LEGOLAND® Resort to the tranquil beauty of Bok Tower Gardens this region enchants families. It’s a space for outdoor adventures on a grand scale, but also for unique experiences like Westgate River Ranch & Rodeo. This is the biggest dude ranch east of the Mississippi River, and where young cowboys and cowgirls can see rodeo in action, try line dancing and horse riding, or even hop on a powerboat ride into the wetlands.

Then, of course, there’s one of the most Florida experiences of all: visiting sweet-smelling citrus farms. You’ll find plenty of those thriving in Central Florida’s Polk County, and the scent of the fruit is nothing compared to delights like freshly squeezed orange juice or zesty citrus ice cream.


Polk’s Nature Discovery Centre, Central Florida’s Polk County

Park life, trail life, wetland life – live your best life on Florida holidays 2024

On holiday in Central Florida’s Polk County you can also explore no fewer than three State Parks, along with a State Forest, over 550 lakes, accessible wetlands and an astonishing 390 miles of hiking trails.

The region’s incredible biodiversity is clear across its 25,000 acres of protected land, reserved purely for outdoor activities. So you can enjoy adventures such as boating, fishing, hiking, and camping in stunning natural surroundings, and discover wildlife in peaceful spots like Lake Kissimmee State Park and Circle B Bar Reserve.

If you like water skiing, Winter Haven is the water ski capital of the world and where you can see Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team performing each month on Lake Silver.  And if you want to try yourself, you’ll find every kind of water sport on Lake Eloise at the heart of Winter Haven.


LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, Central Florida’s Polk County

Central Florida’s Polk County is home to LEGOLAND® Florida Resort

You won’t miss theme parks in Central Florida’s Polk County, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort makes sure of that.

Covering 150-acres this world famous interactive theme park features over 50 rides, shows and immersive experiences. It’s a familiar world of colourful bricks and exhilarating rides, but with Florida sunshine to add to the excitement of LEGO® NINJAGO World and THE LEGO MOVIE® Masters of Flight, as well as the splashy thrills of LEGOLAND® Water Park.

Plus, at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, you don’t have to go home after a day of fun, because there are three onsite hotels: LEGOLAND® Pirate Island Hotel, a world first for Central Florida’s Polk Country;  LEGOLAND® Hotel and LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat.


Peppa Pig Theme Park, Central Florida’s Polk County

Peppa Pig World is another thrill for Florida holidays 2024

The brand new Peppa Pig World is steps away from the entrance to LEGOLAND® Resort. If you have younger kids, they’ll love the six new rides, splash pads, play spaces, character meet n greets, and Daddy Pig Rollercoaster. And if you’re staying at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, it really couldn’t be easier to reach.


Serene nature at Bok Towers Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens, where peace reigns and towers sing

For a peaceful retreat, head to Bok Tower Gardens in the serene landscapes of Lake Wales. It’s a cultural and horticultural paradise, and home to the iconic Singing Tower: a masterpiece of craftsmanship with a 60-bell carillon which chimes across the gardens during daily concerts.

Then there are the botanical gardens themselves which span 250 acres and feature plant species from around the world. So you can wander along winding pathways, through lush landscaping and past tranquil ponds; discovering hidden nooks and scenic vistas along the way.

Let kids loose in Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden

Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden provides an interactive space for children to engage their senses, spark their imaginations, and connect with nature. Designed with kids in mind, the garden has a treehouse, splash pad, musical instruments, and themed play areas to inspire creativity and outdoors fun.

There are also educational activities designed for families such as guided tours, nature walks, workshops and storytelling sessions. And nature trails lead from the gardens into the beautiful surrounding  areas of pine forests, oak hammocks, and wetlands. All in all, it’s a great place for families to enjoy the serenity of the outdoors and breathe the fresh air.


Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, Florida Southern College © Danforth Nite

Discover Frank Lloyd Wright at Florida Southern College

Although The Singing Tower is far from the only architectural marvel in Central Florida’s Polk County. The Princeton Review dubbed Florida Southern College ‘The most beautiful campus in the nation’, mainly because it’s home to 13 Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, including the remarkable Annie Pfeiffer Chapel.


Downtown Lakeland, Central Florida’s Polk County

Great, and affordable, places to stay all over Central Florida’s Polk County.

Affordable accommodation is another great reason to choose Central Florida’s Polk County for Florida holidays 2024.

You’ll find resorts here ranging from luxurious and sporty to budget-friendly, theme-park focused and surrounded by unspoiled nature.

If you want more independence, there are exceptional holiday rentals all over Central Florida’s Polk County, so take your pick from bright family apartments and townhouses to villas with private pools.

Or for outdoorsy families there are plenty of pretty campsites and RV parks, including Lake Kissimmee State Park, Colt Creek State Park, and Lakeland RV Resort.


Tranquil Streamsong Resort, Central Florida’s Polk County

Streamsong Resort: the perfect retreat for Florida holidays 2024

For families seeking luxury and relaxation, Streamsong Resort is surrounded by pristine lakes and rolling hills.

Golf enthusiasts can tee off at its world-class courses, and nature lovers get to enjoy hiking trails and outdoor adventures like fishing and birdwatching. Alternatively you can simply relax and indulge in spa treatments.


Conestoga Wagons, Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo

Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo: camp out under starry skies

We already mentioned that Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo is the biggest dude ranch east of the Mississippi River, but it’s also home to incomparable starry skies, under which families can glamp, park up their RV or sleep in luxe tipis and Conestoga Wagons.

Between campfire cookouts, all the fun of the rodeo and an authentic Old West vibe, stays in Central Florida’s Polk County don’t get much more unforgettable than this.


Farm-to-fork and family friendly dining

Central Florida’s Polk County is the best place to eat too

The warm and welcoming atmosphere of Central Florida’s Polk County, combined with its tradition of farm-to-fork-freshness and friendly, family restaurants makes this a great place to eat.

It doesn’t matter if your family is partial to comfort food, fresh seafood, or international dining, you’ll find it all here, and more. Children’s menus and play areas, make family mealtimes more relaxed. And whether you’re dining lakeside, downtown or in one of the historic districts, locally-sourced ingredients and Southern charm are always on the table.

Now start planning your next Florida family holiday with Visit Central Florida