Winter Haven is, indeed, a haven, where camping options stretch well beyond the winter.
If Winter Haven’s name doesn’t reel you in, its campsites certainly will. Located in Central Florida, Winter Haven has Lakeland and Tampa to its west and Orlando and Kissimmee just northeast. For your next camping trip, however, you’ll want to start in the city. After you check-in to your tent site, explore Winter Haven’s canal-linked lakes, which provide ample opportunities to fish, boat, and unwind. If you’re planning a family-friendly getaway, opt instead for an RV camping resort and piece together your ultimate camping trip with a day at Legoland. Winter Haven strikes the perfect balance between Florida’s cultural thrills and natural landscapes.
Winter Haven contains a plethora of lakes, each of which has a distinct identity—and equally distinct campsites. The lakes are divided into Northern and Southern chains, so, for the full Winter Haven experience, drive north and work your way across the freshwater. Rent a cabin overlooking Lake Haines, and you’ll start your camping trip off on the right foot—or with the right paddle.
Keeping in theme, why not explore the area’s other lakes? Pick a lake, any lake, on the Southern Chain of Lakes. Before you park your RV, take it for a spin and enjoy a scenic drive past the likes of Lake Eloise, Lake Summit, and Lake Cannon. Across Polk County, campers will not only find stunning vistas, but also enough fish to fill any campsite grill.
If you’d rather explore Winter Haven’s green spaces, you’re in luck. Wildlife Areas come on all sides of the city, so Florida campers can embrace their inner birdwatchers, fishermen, and nature enthusiasts. Gopher tortoises, in particular, are known to frequent both the Hilochee Wildlife Management Area and the Crooked Lake Wildlife and Environmental Area. Keep your binoculars handy, and you’ll see all sides of Winter Haven.
Winter Haven is a year-round locale, though, like its name suggests, winter may actually be the best time for your next Florida camping trip. Hurricane season runs from late spring through early fall, so summer campers run the risk of storms. Of course, Florida has earned its “Sunshine State” alias, so you can certainly camp, hike, bike, and swim throughout the year. Just plan to maximize your time in the sun—and around the lakes.