As Polk County keeps adding to its array of natural lands and bike paths, recreation opportunities are on the rise throughout the region. Lakeland is a hub for recreation along the central Lake Wales Ridge and into the Green Swamp as well as along the nearby Hillsborough and Alafia Rivers.
Historic parks and loop trails around its major lakes provide green space in the urban downtown as well as family destinations like the splash pad at Barnett Family Park and the garden rooms at Hollis Garden, both along Lake Mirror. And, of course, Lakeland would not be what it is without its swans, which have a direct connection to the royal family in England. They are primarily seen along Lake Morton.
Bike paths connect both communities and parks and natural lands in the region. Stretching from the county seat of Bartow to Lakeland, the Fort Fraser Trail provides access to one of Florida’s best wildlife watching destinations, Circle B Bar Reserve.
Trails and Parks Near Lakeland
Best Trails and Parks Around Lakeland
Circle B Bar Reserve
For fabulous birding and more alligators than you can count, roam the marshy edge of Lake Hancock on miles of causeways through Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland
Van Fleet Trail
Cruise up a wooded corridor through the Green Swamp along 29.2 miles of paved trail on an old rail corridor optimized for a long ride through the heart of rural Central Florida
Colt Creek State Park
Camping beneath the twinkling stars at Colt Creek State Park, enjoy a getaway from the busy bustle of the Interstate 4 corridor between Lakeland and Tampa
Lakeland Highlands Scrub
On more than 3 miles of trails, Lakeland Highlands Scrub offers a close-up look at the Lakeland Ridge, an ancient island when Florida was beneath the seas: parts of this 551-acre preserve are at 230 feet elevation.