What’s It Like to Live in Winter Haven, Florida

This picturesque "Chain of Lakes City" in central Florida has a rich history and a features a wealth of natural resources.

By: Chris Kuhn

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Lake Maude Nature Park in Winter Haven, Fla.

Lake Maude Nature Park in Winter Haven, Fla.

Photo by: City of Winter Haven

City of Winter Haven

Looking at a map, one quickly sees that Winter Haven is truly at the heart of Florida. Centrally located between two metropolitan areas, Tampa and Orlando, the city is less than a 90-minute drive away from two international airports and can count on easy commuting for work or play with an interstate highway or expressway only a few miles away.

Historical records show settlers moved into what is now Winter Haven as early as the 1860s, though the city did not incorporate until 1911. Farming and citrus were early hotbed industries but Winter Haven went on to inspire many business “firsts” including site of the first store of the Publix supermarket chain in 1930 and home to the first theme park in Florida when Cypress Gardens opened its doors in 1936. Though the park has since closed, the gardens remain the property of the people of Polk County and are now maintained by its current leasee of the property, LEGOLAND® Florida.

And this picturesque town of rolling hills, a wealth of waterways and lush greenery so rich in history and natural resources has something to offer everybody. Whether you are a nature lover, sports aficionado, culture seeker or simply someone looking to plant roots and raise a family, Winter Haven is a bit of a paradox reflecting a charming small-town feel with its population of 35,000 yet also offering the same access as any metropolitan area to the culture, technology and modern amenities of contemporary living: And no matter how you choose to embark on life in Winter Haven, one common element weaves throughout: water.

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