Waterfront Dining in Central Florida

By: Jessica Roberts

If you’re looking for waterfront dining in Central Florida, consider visiting Winter Haven. This “Chain of Lakes” city, has lakes spread across 4,000+ acres and many are connected through a canal system by what locals call “The Chain.” These lakes bring great outdoor fun for families and friends year-round and you can enjoy it all without ever leaving your boat. Along with great fun comes great restaurants.

Waterfront Dining in Central Florida

Here is our guide to awesome waterfront dining on Winter Haven’s Chain of Lakes. All but one of these restaurants are accessible by boat.

Harborside Restaurant



Located on Lake Shipp, Harborside is a local favorite. Offering many options from steak, seafood, and an awesome grilled chicken sandwich, there is definitely something for everyone. The atmosphere makes the dining experience even better. With a very nautical theme throughout, a beautiful closed in patio with a prime view of the sunset, and multiple dock areas to park your boat, Harborside is a must try while visiting Central Florida.

Tanner’s Lakeside Restaurant & Bar

Another restaurant accessible by boat (or car) is located on the shores of Lake May. Tanner’s Lakeside Restaurant & Bar offers indoor and outdoor seating as well as a tiki hut bar area. They offer live music on the weekends, a full liquor bar, and amazing shrimp and grits so we hear. Tanner’s also hosts fun events and activities like live professional wrestling and bounce house days. Check out Tanner’s Lakeside Restaurant & Bar for good food and a good time.

Old Man Franks

Located right across the street from Tanner’s, Old Man Franks is another great seafood bar. Established in 1954, they have served generations of Winter Haven locals and seasonal residents. Their claim to have “The Best Sunset in Town,” so try it out and let us know what you think.

Harry’s Old Place

The only restaurant on this list that is not located on the Chain of Lakes, still offers waterfront dining on Lake Ned and has seafood so good that it deserves to be highlighted. Harry’s Old Place has been serving the Winter Haven area since 1992 and lots of their history is shown throughout the restaurant. Daily fresh fish specials are displayed on their chalk-board walls and change daily, so you are bound to try something different and awesome every time! If you aren’t a seafood fanatic, but still want to enjoy the atmosphere, they also make a great burger, filet mignon, or rib-eye. Harry’s Old Place is just a few miles from LEGOLAND Florida Resort.

Twisted Prop Bar and Grille

Located on the opposite side of Lake May, Twisted Prop Bar and Grille, offers both boat and land parking. They have a nice patio to enjoy the summer weather and sports bar style menu items. From burgers and wings to wraps and salads, Twisted Prop takes on a unique style to waterfront dining.

Driving to Winter Haven for Lunch or Dinner

Winter Haven is in Polk County and getting here takes less than an hour if you’re driving from the Walt Disney World/Orlando area.

  • Davenport to Winter Haven –  30 minutes
  • Champions Gate to Winter Haven – 35 minutes
  • Kissimmee to Winter Haven – 55 minutes
  • Haines City to Winter Haven – 20 minutes
  • Lakeland to Winter Haven – 35 minutes

If you’re interested in waterfront dining in Central Florida, you may also be interested in our Spend a Weekend in Winter Haven blog post. Watch the video below for a glimpse of how much fun you’ll have during your stay!

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