Located in central Florida’s Highlands County, Sebring is a city of about 10,500 residents that was officially incorporated in 1913.
It’s most well-known for its world-famous race track that hosts one of the country’s most historic annual races.
Sebring is located in a particularly undeveloped portion of the state and is the perfect place for those wishing to escape the crowds associated with the state’s more commercial and touristy attractions.
It is, however, conveniently located between the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, giving visitors a number of beach options as well.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Sebring, Florida.
1. Sebring International Raceway
Sebring International Raceway is one of the country’s oldest race tracks, and it has been in continual use since 1950.
Unlike other popular raceways like Daytona International Speedway, Sebring is a challenging 3.7-mile circuit that’s full of tight turns and switchbacks.
The raceway’s namesake event takes place over the third week in March annually, when the whole town and region come alive with diehard race fans from all over the world.
The event includes live entertainment, family activities, and lots of great food and drink options as well.
Lodging can disappear well in advance of the race, so make reservations beforehand if you’d like to stay close by.
2. Highlands Hammock State Park
Highlands Hammock State Park is located just off U.S. Route 27 outside Sebring. It’s one of central Florida’s most pristine and preserved areas and includes a variety of diverse ecosystems that are home to a wide array of animals.
The park has been open to the public since 1931 and is comprised of more than 9,000 acres. It’s a particularly popular destination for hikers, bikers, bird-watchers, and amateur photographers.
Camping and fishing are favorite park activities, and for those interested in photographing wildlife, it’s common to see deer, bobcat, and gators, especially in the lowlight morning and afternoon hours.
3. Island View Lakefront Restaurant and Pub
From hole-in-the-wall barbecue joints to ritzy seafood restaurants at exclusive resorts, finding ways to fill your stomach while in Florida shouldn’t be a problem.
Island View Lakefront Restaurant and Pub features a menu chockfull of Fresh Florida ingredients, like seasonal produce and fantastic seafood. They’ve got a little bit of everything, from old classics to contemporary dishes with international influences.
The restaurant features indoor and outdoor seating, the latter of which is popular in the late afternoon hours as the sun sets.
The restaurant offers sunset specials from Sunday through Thursday until 5:30 PM for those looking to save a few bucks.
4. Archbold Biological Station
Florida is full of unique and diverse environments, and for those visiting the Sebring area, there’s no better place to explore many of them than the Archbold Biological Station.
The station’s land includes more than 5,000 acres around Sebring and nearby Lake Wales; most visitors choose to sign-up for one of the ranger-led tours that are offered regularly.
Tours involve some walking but are appropriate for those of most ages and levels of physical ability. Along the way, guests will learn about the area’s history, culture, and wildlife.
For interactive exhibits and an overview of the station’s amenities and activity options, stop into the learning and visitor center first.
5. Highlands Lakeside Theater
Florida’s community theaters are cultural gems that often get brushed aside by travelers more interested in beaches, alligators, and theme parks, but for those looking for unique and inexpensive recreation options, they’re great choices.
Highlands Lakeside Theater is located on West Center Avenue in Sebring; its productions and local talent have been described as amazing, top-notch and professional.
Throughout the year, the theater offers a wide variety of entertainment, ranging from traditional dramatic shows to more light and contemporary performances. For traveling theater bugs, it’s a must-visit attraction.
The theater is located in the historic downtown area and is staffed by talented and enthusiastic volunteers.
6. Military Sea Services Museum
Sebring’s Military Sea Service Museum is located on Roseland Avenue near downtown. Though it’s only been around since 1998, it’s one of the state’s most unique museums and is dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of the country’s maritime forces, including the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard.
The museum is free to visit, but most guests leave a few bucks to help with the facility’s upkeep. Though it’s a bit on the small side, it’s full of amazing artifacts and memorabilia, including weapons, equipment, uniforms, photographs, and first-hand accounts of soldiers and sailors.
Most of the museum’s docents are local veterans.
7. Highlands Museum of the Arts
In the mid and late ‘60s, a group of art-minded local citizens got together to form a unique museum in an area that was sorely lacking in art and culture.
Since then, the museum’s goal has been to shine a spotlight on the region’s art history while promoting the works of local and regional artists.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum hosts a variety of special programs aimed at artists, art lovers, and the community in general.
The museum is located on West Center Avenue in Sebring inside the Alan Altvater Culture Center. Its works include paintings, sculptures, photography, and contemporary multi-media creations.
8. Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
Though most visitors associate prairies with the wide-open Midwestern states like Kansas and Nebraska, Florida has historically been home to large and unique prairie areas that are sadly dwindling due to constant development and habitat destruction.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park lies at the headwaters of the Everglades and is the vastest area of its kind left in the state.
Park admission is based on a per-vehicle fee and is dirt-cheap, and for those arriving by foot, horse, or on a bicycle, it’s just a few bucks.
Camping is popular in the park, and there are a variety of campsite options. Seniors and children get discounts off the standard rates.
9. Avon Park Depot Museum
Located on North Museum Avenue in nearby Avon Park, Avon Park Depot Museum is a quaint museum that gives visitors unique insights into the past. Even those who’ve lived in the area their whole lives have walked away astounded at the things they never knew about their own back yard.
For much of its post-settlement existence, the central Florida region around Sebring and Avon Park were big commercial pineapple producers, and a network of railroads crossed the area to take the fruit out and bring in much-needed supplies.
The museum is free to visit, though it only has limited hours from Wednesday to Friday. Most guests end-up staying for about an hour.
10. Maxwell Groves
Maxwell Groves may be the Sebring area’s most quaint and unassuming attraction, and though it’s a modest establishment, it has been a local icon for generations.
An old-fashioned country store that’s mostly been forgotten by the hands of time, it’s located on East Circle Street in Avon Park, just a few minutes from the aforementioned museum.
Maxwell Groves’ even has rocking chairs on the front porch, reminding many visitors of The Andy Griffith Show. Inside, there are fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, prepared food items like local honey and fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice, and even soft-serve ice cream.
11. Spook Hill
For those who’ve tired of local museums and community playhouses and would rather delve into the macabre, hair-raising, and supernatural, there’s no better place to spend a few hours than Spook Hill in nearby Lake Wales.
Spook Hills is thought by many to be haunted, or at the very least, a place where the laws of physics and gravity don’t apply.
It’s a place where cars tend to roll uphill and items levitate.
Rumor has it that in the past, there was an epic battle of powerful spirits on the hill. Though some think it’s all nothing more than easily-explained optical illusions, there’s no disputing that it’s a mind-bending experience.
12. River Greens Golf Course
River Greens Golf Course has been open to the public since 1969, and since then has attracted a loyal group of players, who consider it one of the area’s most reasonably priced and well-kept golf secrets.
The 18-hole, par-72 course is located in nearby Avon Park and plays about 6,400 yards from the farthest tees.
The course features a variety of tee box options to accommodate women and seniors. It is appreciated for its well-maintained greens and fairways and its strategically placed hazards that keep things interesting, bringing careful, well-thought-out shot placement and strategy into play.
13. Bok Tower and Gardens
The Bok Tower and Gardens are a unique local sight that combines elements of the natural and humanmade worlds. The grounds include one of the highest points in the state at nearly 300 feet above sea-level.
The Tower sits atop the hill and is famous for its carillons – a complex musical instrument consisting of a variety of bells that create mesmerizing sounds that have been described as angelic and soothing.
The unique facility includes beautifully cultivated gardens connected by well-marked trails, a library, museum, and a variety of architectural features designed by world-famous names associated with iconic structures in Washington and New York.
14. LEGOLAND Florida Resort
Winter Haven’s LEGOLAND Florida Resort is a popular theme-park attraction that includes amusement park-style rides, a water park, live entertainment, a variety of lodging and dining options, and so many interactive kid’s activities that it’s often hard to fit them all in in a day.
For traveling families with multiple children, LEGOLAND is a great place to spend a few days; once on-site, you won’t need to leave, as everything you could possibly want or need is available in the resort.
Previous guests have noted that while definitely not cheap, they considered the cost of admission reasonable, and wait times for rides are generally short even during peak times.
15. Fantasy of Flight
Polk City’s Fantasy of Flight is an absolute must-visit attraction for military and aviation buffs.
Its fantastic collection of restored war-birds spans the pre-World War I era all the way through the Second World War, Vietnam, and the present.
It’s interesting to note that Fantasy of Flight has more working military aircraft in its fleet than the air forces of some well-known countries. Though they’re the stars of the show, most guests choose to start their exploration at the museum section of the facility first.
Their flight simulators and lifelike paratrooper jump-station are perennial favorites, and they host a number of special events – including airshows – throughout the year as well.