The City of Winter Haven, FL is the second-largest metropolitan area in Central Florida's Polk County, after only Lakeland. It has a great mix of shopping, dining, entertainment, recreation, professional services, and other amenities that make it an ideal spot for active-adult living in the region. 

It's a particularly appealing home if you're into water-based activities. Known as “The Chain of Lakes City,” Winter Haven offers premier boating, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, water skiing, fishing, and more. The two chains here consist of 25 lakes between them, and then there are additional 25 lakes within the city's borders. 

Living in Winter Haven also positions you roughly halfway between Orlando and the Tampa Bay area. That puts endless opportunities close at hand. Plus, there are beautiful beaches, amazing state parks, fantastic birding and camping opportunities, nature preserves and trails, and so much more of the great outdoors practically right outside your front door. 

Here's a little more information about Winter Haven to help you decide if it might be the right location for your new or second home in a Central Florida 55-plus community: 

  • Winter Haven is a little more than 25 square miles and home to about 36,000 residents
  • About half the population is age 45 and older
  • As of late summer 2016, the median home value in Winter Haven is $130,100; it's risen 7.9 percent over the past year
  • It takes a little under an hour to drive from Winter Haven to downtown Tampa, about an hour and a quarter to drive to downtown Orlando, and just over an hour and a half to The Villages
  • There are lots of cool cities nearby for day trips or weekend getaways, including (but certainly not limited to!) Lakeland, Clearwater, St. Pete, Sarasota, Winter Garden, Clermont, Tavares, Mount Dora, Winter Park, and Sanford
  • Winter Haven sits along the I4 corridor, the primary thoroughfare running through Central Florida, and other major roads are easily accessible
  • While the Orlando area is the most famous local spot for theme parks, Legoland and its resort are located in Winter Haven, and it's a unique, fun place to take grandchildren
  • The city played a significant part in the evolution of water skiing as a sport
  • This is a community-oriented home, with lots of festivals, gatherings, and events going on throughout the year
  • The restored historic downtown is an exciting city center with so much to do
  • The Ritz Theater hosts lots of amazing and diverse programming providing all sorts of entertainment
  • Theatre Winter Haven is one of the state's best community theaters—even one of the best in the country, according to much of its national acclaim

Feature Image Credits: Wikipedia CC