Lake Alfred is a city of about 4,500 residents that’s located in central Florida’s Polk County.
The lake is relatively equidistant between Orlando to the northeast and Tampa to the southwest and sits just off Interstate 4, which is one of the state’s largest east-west highways.
The city was originally founded by snowbirds from the upper Midwest intent on spending their winters in the balmy Florida sun instead of ice and snow.
Visitors to the area have easy access to state and national parks, as well as historical, cultural, and outdoor recreation attractions.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Lake Alfred, Florida.
1. Willowbrook Golf Course
Located in nearby Winter Haven, Willowbrook Golf Course is one of the area’s most popular municipal courses.
In addition to being reasonably priced, it’s appropriate for players of most ages and levels of ability.
The course’s amenities include a driving range, putting green, and chipping areas for those who need a bit of warm-up before hitting the links.
There’s also a grill that serves tasty fare to players with empty stomachs.
The course’s 18-holes are spread over many natural environments, and the greens and fairways are consistently well-maintained.
Multi-tiered greens and water and sand hazards keep things interesting for experienced players.
2. The Barn Antiques
For more than a century, Florida has been like a giant magnet attracting Northeast and Midwest residents who’ve tired of cold, snowy winters in their hometowns.
Most of those people who decide to take up permanent residence in the Sunshine State bring their household items with them, many of which eventually end-up in area antique stores like The Barn Antiques on County Road 557 in Lake Alfred.
The Barn features a hodgepodge of items ranging from porcelain and artwork to antiques and vintage clothing.
There’s a nice little café on-site too that serves tasty and reasonably priced food and drinks.
3. Heavenly Honey Amish Warehouse
Located on South Lake Shore Way in Lake Alfred, Heavenly Honey Amish Warehouse is a unique area attraction that seems a bit out of place to many visitors, because Amish folk are generally more associated with rural Pennsylvania than rural Florida.
Selling tasty treats like homemade jams and locally produced honey, it’s the perfect place to stop to get out of the often-brutal Florida sun and purchase a keepsake or two.
They’re particularly well-known for their ornate Christmas decorations that generally make their appearance in late November.
Bring your camera, as you’ll probably want to snap a group photo or two in front of the traditional horse and buggy out front.
4. Lavender ‘n Lace Tea Room & Restaurant
Though it’s definitely not a good fit for traveling families toting around armfuls of rambunctious youngsters, the Lavender ‘n Lace Tea Room & Restaurant on North Lake Shore Way in Lake Alfred is the perfect stop for those in the mood for a little culture and refinement.
The restaurant is housed in a quaint, remodeled cottage that features fancy dishes and crisp, white tablecloths.
It serves a variety of unique dishes such as homemade butternut squash soup, curry, and aromatic teas from all over the world.
Though there’s technically no dress code, most visitors choose to err on the side of caution, so it’s best to leave those ratty flip-flops and cutoff jeans for another day.
5. Ephriam M. Baynard House
The historic town of Auburndale is an easy drive from Lake Alfred and is a popular destination for travelers looking to experience Florida’s old southern charm that seems to be disappearing a little more every day.
The Ephriam M. Baynard House is located on West Lake Avenue in town and sports impressive Victorian architecture that was common in the 18th and 19th centuries.
One of the most well-preserved homes of its kind in the area, it is full of authentic antiques, art, and housewares.
According to previous guests, visiting hours aren’t particularly well-defined, so call before making a special trip if you’d like a tour.
6. Auburndale Speedway
Historic homes can be interesting and educational attractions, but truth be told, most visitors find them a bit on the dull side.
There’s no better way to inject a little excitement into things than by spending a few hours at a race track.
Located on East County Road 542 in Winter Haven, the Auburndale Speedway features a calendar of events that’s chock-full of races, and it typically draws fans from all over the state.
The speedway features both professional races and those open to local up-and-comers interested in cutting their teeth in the cutthroat racing world.
In the off-season, the track hosts live entertainment as well.
7. Lake Blue Park
The area around Lake Alfred is peppered with ponds and lakes of all shapes and sizes.
Not surprisingly, they’re often social and outdoor recreation centers for locals and visitors alike.
Lake Blue Park is located just a few minutes to the southwest in Auburndale and features lots of amenities, activity options, and wide-open spaces that are great for kids who need to burn off excess energy.
Swimming, fishing, and sunbathing are popular park activities, and many families choose to bring a blanket and some grub and have a picnic in the shade of one of the park’s many trees.
8. Hollis Garden
Though it’s only slightly larger than an acre, Hollis Garden is conveniently located, full of natural beauty, and totally free to visit.
It’s found on East Orange Street in Lakeland and features an impressive neoclassical design that includes distinct cultivated areas, a promenade, fountains, and an Asian-inspired koi pond.
The gardens are home to thousands of species of plants, flowers, and trees; their vibrant colors are often perfectly reflected by the aptly named Mirror Lake that sits in the center of the park.
It’s a beautiful attraction year-round, but especially so during the spring bloom in April and May.
9. TECO Auburndale Trail
Stretching nearly seven miles through the scenic Florida countryside, the TECO Auburndale Trail is a must-visit attraction for those who value quality time in the great outdoors, away from the crowds at the area’s more commercial sites.
The multi-use trails are relatively flat, and appropriate for those of most ages; they’re open to bikers, runners, and walkers.
The trail is accessible from both the north and south ends and includes ample parking.
For much of its length, it follows the route of an old rail line from the now-defunct Seaboard Air Line Railroad.
It’s common to see lots of animals along the way too, especially in the morning and evening.
10. Joker Marchant Stadium
During the spring training season, Major League Baseball teams from all over the country descend on the Sunshine State to practice before the regular season starts.
Located on North Lake Avenue in Lakeland, Joker Marchant Stadium has been open since the mid-‘60s and is now the spring home of the Detroit Tigers.
The stadium has undergone several renovations over the years and now seats more than 8,000 spectators in comfort, matching most big-league parks.
Games with other MLB teams are played throughout the season when the weather is usually perfect.
Admission, a hot dog, and soda won’t require a maxed-out credit card as it will at larger venues.
11. The Polk Theater
In its heyday in the early and middle parts of the 19th century, the historic Polk Theater hosted nationally-known performers like Elvis and Glenn Miller.
Like many small-town theaters, it experienced dramatic boom and bust years, and in the ‘80s was purchased by a group of local citizens who were dedicated to returning it to its former glory.
The theater is located on South Florida Avenue in Lakeland and produces a number of annual performances, most of which are the fruit of enthusiastic volunteers and local actors.
The theater’s events range from dramatic plays to comedies, and they host film screenings and other performing arts events as well.
12. Bok Tower Gardens
Bok Tower Gardens are located in Lake Wales and open every day of the year from 8 AM until 6 PM.
In addition to their namesake gardens, the facility includes a visitor’s center, café, and gift shop, as well as the historic Pinewood Estate.
The grounds and gardens are the perfect place for lovers of natural beauty and history to spend a few relaxing afternoon hours, and most visitors end-up spending more time on-site than they’d originally planned.
The whole area has a particularly charming buzz during the Christmas season, and the holiday lights and decorations are things to behold.
13. The Polk Museum of Art
The Polk Museum of Art is located on the campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland and is a free attraction that many visitors agree is head-and-shoulders above the competition.
Featuring a permanent collection that includes works from titans of the art world like Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso, it’s the perfect destination for art lovers who find themselves in the area with a few free hours to kill.
The museum is one of only a few accredited institutions in the area and is an affiliate of the world-famous Smithsonian Institute.
Special events, educational opportunities, and some fairs are held on-site annually as well.
14. Lake Kissimmee State Park
Lake Kissimmee State Park is a regional favorite for its abundant activity options, serene natural setting, and relative proximity to many of central Florida’s small and mid-size towns and cities.
The park is especially popular with hikers and bikers, who come to take advantage of its network of trails that wind for nearly 20 miles through varied environments.
Camping is another park draw, especially during the cool fall, winter, and spring months when the Florida weather is conducive to being outdoors
Deer, fox, snakes, and turtles are commonly seen from trails and campsites, as are nearly 100 species of birds.
15. Sunshine Flea Market
In recent years, many so-called flea markets have become decidedly more like trendy vintage clothing and antique shops than true flea markets, but that’s not the case with Sunshine Flea Market.
It’s located on Highway 27 in Lake Wales.
Though some previous guests have stated that its vendors sell more junk than they do treasures, many patient shoppers have found good deals on rare gems that made their visits worthwhile.
There are both indoor and outdoor sections to the market, and the items you’re likely to find might include local produce, arts and crafts, costume jewelry, and gently used clothes and housewares.