Winter Haven, Florida is nicknamed the "Chain of Lakes" city for a reason - it's home to over fifty lakes, as well as beautiful historic neighborhoods and gardens. With so many outdoor spaces, it's a great place to explore alongside your four-legged companion!
Looking for a dog park? Winter Haven's got you covered. The Simmers-Young Dog Park is a local favorite. Open daily from 6 am to 10 pm, this 200-acre park offers separate fenced-in areas for large and small dogs, as well as a lake and picnic area. Locals love the access to wildlife - in fact, if you get there early enough (around 7-9am) you can see eagles diving into the lake for fish.
If you're interested in hiking the area, try the Fort Fraser Trail. At almost eight miles long, this former railway line offers a paved trail and access to wooded areas. Want something a little longer? The General James A. Van Fleet State Trail is almost thirty miles long. Winding through swamps, citrus groves, and cattle land, this gentle loop is well worth the time. The Carter Road Trail offers less mileage but more elevation, making it a moderate route for the energetic pooch.
As far as fun, community favorite, events go, the Simmers-Young Dog Park is the best option. In February, there's a "Scales & Tails" Pet Festival featuring vendors and entertainment. In September, there's a Hispanic Heritage Festival which allows on-leash dogs.
Located about 12 miles southwest of Winter Haven is Bartow, and if you’re looking to have get in some exercise with your pup, this is the place to be. Bartow has an access point to Fort Fraser Trail, which is an old railway converted into a walking trail. Your dog is welcome to join you while you explore, so long as he’s wearing a leash. If you build up an appetite after all that walking, head over to Pizza Palace, where your dog can join you at their outdoor seating. You might even be tempted to share a slice!