Winter Haven Florida

Winter Haven Florida is a town that lives up to its name. Free from the grasp of Jack Frost, Winter Haven is a fantastic place to visit in any season. Perhaps best known as the home of the now-closed Cypress Gardens, Winter Haven is undergoing a renaissance. With the opening of the first Legoland Park in Florida added to its lovely chain of lakes and established tourism infrastructure, Winter Haven is entering a new phase on the occasion of its centennial. Located less than hour's drive south of Orlando and 45 minutes from Tampa, Winter Haven is home to a full slate of exciting things to do and places to stay.

Winter Haven Theme Parks

Winter Haven Theme Parks
Winter Haven Theme Parks

When Cypress Gardens opened in 1936, it was decades before Disney World made its debut. The first theme park in Florida had its start as a botanical garden but quickly grew into something much more. Generations came to the park to experience the water skiing shows, the warm Florida weather, and the other fun. The park changed ownership several times as crowds declined and times changed. A grassroots effort saved the parks from closing in 2003, but it only lasted until 2009 when Cypress Gardens faded into memory.

However, the end of this chapter was the beginning of another. Merlin Entertainments, one of the largest operators of theme parks in the world, purchased the former Cypress Gardens and spent two years turning it into Florida’s first Legoland Park. Opened in October 2011, the park offers 150 acres of fun, especially geared towards kids from age 2 to 12—though visitors of all ages are bound to have fun. Once you arrive, you’ll find more than 50 rides, 4-D theater shows, and play areas all along the shores of Lake Eloise in Winter Haven Florida. Great care has been taken to preserve the botanical gardens, including the signature banyan tree that was first planted in 1939, keeping the memory of Cypress Gardens alive while making the site even bigger and better.

Winter Haven Florida Hotels

Winter Haven Florida Hotels
Winter Haven Florida Hotels

While many visitors make a day trip from Tampa or Orlando, it’s no problem to make Winter Haven Florida as a base for your vacation. With a diverse collection of overnight accommodations, it’s a snap to find the perfect place to stay, whether you’re looking for a family-friendly hotel with a big pool or a cozy bed and breakfast. The options for Winter Haven Florida hotels include many familiar-name properties—such as Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, Days Inn, and Howard Johnson—as well as the one-of-a-kind Chalet Suzanne Restaurant and Inn. A Florida tradition for more than 70 years, the resort is home to 26 guestrooms and a distinctive restaurant on 100 acres.

Winter Haven Florida Condos

Winter Haven Florida Condos
Winter Haven Florida Condos

The choices for places to stay also include condos and other vacation rentals. These well-equipped places to stay offer kitchens and plenty of room to stretch out—all close to the area’s favorite things to do. With the Fantasy of Flight and Bok Tower Gardens and the collection of sixteen lakes, all close to Legoland Florida, you’ll appreciate a place to relax after experiencing Winter Haven’s best. Many of the condos are right along one of Winter Haven’s lakes, offering easy access to all the swimming, water skiing and kayaking you want to add to your Winter Haven vacation.

Winter Haven Florida Map

The lakes, condos, hotels, and Legoland Florida are located in Polk County, in the center of Florida. Lakeland is 30 minutes to the west, and Orlando is a quick trip north on U.S. Highway 17 to Interstate 4 east. If you follow I-4 west, you’ll be in downtown Tampa in less than hour. Kissimmee and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes are located due east, about an hour's drive away as well.

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