Our Favorite Places

Sean
Our Favorite Places

Local Attractions

The Circle B Bar Reserve, on the northwest shore of Lake Hancock, is a former cattle ranch that today boasts a wide variety of plants and animals. You can see several distinct ecosystems in this reserve of only 1,267 acres. You're almost guaranteed to see alligators in Lake Hancock, often considered the headwaters of the Peace River, which flows more than 100 miles from Polk County southwest to the Gulf of Mexico. polknature.com/explore/circle-b-bar-reserve
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Circle B Bar Reserve
4399 Winter Lake Rd
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The Circle B Bar Reserve, on the northwest shore of Lake Hancock, is a former cattle ranch that today boasts a wide variety of plants and animals. You can see several distinct ecosystems in this reserve of only 1,267 acres. You're almost guaranteed to see alligators in Lake Hancock, often considered the headwaters of the Peace River, which flows more than 100 miles from Polk County southwest to the Gulf of Mexico. polknature.com/explore/circle-b-bar-reserve
One of Florida’s premier speedways featuring a multitude of racing events and special events and concerts. Mini Stock, Mod Mini, Street Stock, Mini Cup, All Girl, Scrambler, V8 Bomber, Monster Truck events and Drifting. www.auburndalespeedway.net
Auburndale Speedway
5640 E County Rd 542
One of Florida’s premier speedways featuring a multitude of racing events and special events and concerts. Mini Stock, Mod Mini, Street Stock, Mini Cup, All Girl, Scrambler, V8 Bomber, Monster Truck events and Drifting. www.auburndalespeedway.net
Bok Tower Gardens is a contemplative and informal woodland setting offering a series of romantic recesses and tranquil resting spots, picturesque vistas and breathtaking views. Acres of ferns, palms, oaks and pines fashion a lush backdrop for spectacular seasonal colors. It is located 17.4 miles from the Blue Ranch, in the nearby city of Lake Wales. boktowergardens.org
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Bok Tower Gardens
1151 Tower Blvd
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Bok Tower Gardens is a contemplative and informal woodland setting offering a series of romantic recesses and tranquil resting spots, picturesque vistas and breathtaking views. Acres of ferns, palms, oaks and pines fashion a lush backdrop for spectacular seasonal colors. It is located 17.4 miles from the Blue Ranch, in the nearby city of Lake Wales. boktowergardens.org
The Universal Orlando Resort consists of two parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios inspires its guests to “ride the movies”, and features numerous attractions and live shows, including many areas dedicated to the popular Harry Potter series of books and movies. www.universalorlando.com
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Universal Orlando Resort
6000 Universal Blvd
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The Universal Orlando Resort consists of two parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios inspires its guests to “ride the movies”, and features numerous attractions and live shows, including many areas dedicated to the popular Harry Potter series of books and movies. www.universalorlando.com
Welcome to the Greatest Space Adventure on Earth! Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the only place in the world where you can see the real space shuttle Atlantis, touch a moon rock, meet a veteran NASA astronaut, tour a NASA spaceflight facility and get an up-close view of a real Saturn V moon rocket all in the same day! Arrive early for this full-day experience to make the most of your visit. www.kennedyspacecenter.com
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NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Space Commerce Way
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Welcome to the Greatest Space Adventure on Earth! Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the only place in the world where you can see the real space shuttle Atlantis, touch a moon rock, meet a veteran NASA astronaut, tour a NASA spaceflight facility and get an up-close view of a real Saturn V moon rocket all in the same day! Arrive early for this full-day experience to make the most of your visit. www.kennedyspacecenter.com

Local Dining

Here’s a list of some of our favorite nearby restaurants that you’ll only find here in Winter Haven, in case you’re looking for something to eat that isn’t from a chain restaurant.
Local mom & pop restaurant that serves American standards and Greek classics. Prices are good. Get the carrot soufflé if it’s on today’s specials.
Andrea's Family Restaurant
1498 Havendale Blvd NW
Local mom & pop restaurant that serves American standards and Greek classics. Prices are good. Get the carrot soufflé if it’s on today’s specials.
Andy’s is a staple here in Winter Haven, home to the best ice cream within reasonable driving distance. Their burger isn’t too bad either. Bring cash or check, they don’t accept cards (though they do have an ATM in the restaurant).
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Andy's Dine-In Restaurant
703 3rd St SW
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Andy’s is a staple here in Winter Haven, home to the best ice cream within reasonable driving distance. Their burger isn’t too bad either. Bring cash or check, they don’t accept cards (though they do have an ATM in the restaurant).
Fantastic Italian food in a fine dining atmosphere. One of the fancier places here in town, they also have a small cocktail bar and pizza bistro.
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Arabellas
346 W Central Ave
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Fantastic Italian food in a fine dining atmosphere. One of the fancier places here in town, they also have a small cocktail bar and pizza bistro.
This is a bit of a drive, but in addition to the restaurant they also have The Stable (home decor), The Seasons (Christmas year-round), The Back Yard (garden shop), and The Barn (antiques, open seasonally). It’s a great place to stop for lunch. Be sure to ask one of the people at the register how ordering works.
The Back Porch Restaurant
115 Co Rd 557A
This is a bit of a drive, but in addition to the restaurant they also have The Stable (home decor), The Seasons (Christmas year-round), The Back Yard (garden shop), and The Barn (antiques, open seasonally). It’s a great place to stop for lunch. Be sure to ask one of the people at the register how ordering works.
It may look a bit like a dive bar, but it’s the best place in town for Oysters. We recommend sitting at the bar and ordering them by the bucket.
Gary's Oyster Bar & Seafood House
660 E Alfred St
It may look a bit like a dive bar, but it’s the best place in town for Oysters. We recommend sitting at the bar and ordering them by the bucket.
Grove Roots Brewing Company is a “fiercely local craft brewery and taproom” located in downtown Winter Haven, Florida. They frequently have food trucks available outside, so you can have a bite to eat while enjoying one of their finely crafted beers.
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Grove Roots Brewing Company
302 3rd St SW
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Grove Roots Brewing Company is a “fiercely local craft brewery and taproom” located in downtown Winter Haven, Florida. They frequently have food trucks available outside, so you can have a bite to eat while enjoying one of their finely crafted beers.
Best seafood in town. Fresh fish, great steaks, unassuming atmosphere. We recommend the Onion Loaf appetizer.
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Harry's Old Place
3751 Cypress Gardens Rd
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Best seafood in town. Fresh fish, great steaks, unassuming atmosphere. We recommend the Onion Loaf appetizer.
Small café offering authentic Greek cuisine. They offer the best Greek food that you can get locally without driving out to Tarpon Springs.
Krazy Greek
6366 Cypress Gardens Blvd
Small café offering authentic Greek cuisine. They offer the best Greek food that you can get locally without driving out to Tarpon Springs.
Okay, this one is a chain, but it’s a local chain. In our opinion this is the best place in town for a steak. It’s a little (okay, a lot) kitschy inside. Unlimited bowl of salad with every meal, and free popcorn while you wait for your table.
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Manny's Chophouse- Winter Haven
1100 3rd Street Southwest
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Okay, this one is a chain, but it’s a local chain. In our opinion this is the best place in town for a steak. It’s a little (okay, a lot) kitschy inside. Unlimited bowl of salad with every meal, and free popcorn while you wait for your table.
If you’re in the mood for a fancy brunch, this is your place. They’re a bit spendy in our opinion, but the food is worth every cent.
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Nutwood
132 Ave B SW
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If you’re in the mood for a fancy brunch, this is your place. They’re a bit spendy in our opinion, but the food is worth every cent.
While we prefer Smokin’ Jim’s for ribs (they’re mentioned below), a lot of locals disagree. Peebles is only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and they close for two months every year for vacation (July and August). Anyone who can do that and stay in business for 70+ years is doing something right.
Peebles Bar-B-Q
441 Dixie Hwy
While we prefer Smokin’ Jim’s for ribs (they’re mentioned below), a lot of locals disagree. Peebles is only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and they close for two months every year for vacation (July and August). Anyone who can do that and stay in business for 70+ years is doing something right.
We drive past the other pizza places to visit Pizza Connection. Thin-crust pizza cut into tiny two-bite squares. The mushroom steak sandwich is a family favorite.
Pizza Connection
220 E Lake Ave
We drive past the other pizza places to visit Pizza Connection. Thin-crust pizza cut into tiny two-bite squares. The mushroom steak sandwich is a family favorite.
Vietnamese cuisine, and the best place in town to get a bowl of pho. Our son-in-law eats here so often that the staff just asks “P7?” when he sits down. The answer is always P7 (that’s the big bowl).
Saigon Garden
5937 Cypress Gardens Blvd
Vietnamese cuisine, and the best place in town to get a bowl of pho. Our son-in-law eats here so often that the staff just asks “P7?” when he sits down. The answer is always P7 (that’s the big bowl).
If ribs are your thing, this is the place to go. We recommend the “Dinner for Two”, which will feed three to four people. They also advertise the “Best Butt in Town”, and we concur.
Smokin’ Jim's House of Bar-B-Q
3615 Havendale Blvd
If ribs are your thing, this is the place to go. We recommend the “Dinner for Two”, which will feed three to four people. They also advertise the “Best Butt in Town”, and we concur.
Our family’s favorite breakfast place here in town, and it’s worth that drive “all the way across town”. Excellent food, huge portions, low prices.
Southeast Eatery
3378 Cypress Gardens Rd
Our family’s favorite breakfast place here in town, and it’s worth that drive “all the way across town”. Excellent food, huge portions, low prices.
If you’re in the mood for a brunch that requires you raise your pinky while eating, this is the place. We recommend the Swan tea. Get the potato leek soup.
The Twisted Teapot
200 1st St S
If you’re in the mood for a brunch that requires you raise your pinky while eating, this is the place. We recommend the Swan tea. Get the potato leek soup.