But today Haines City is more than citrus. It’s home to IRONMAN 70.3 Florida, Southern Dunes Golf and Country Club, Thunder on the Ridge Fourth of July firework celebration (Polk County’s largest celebration), and it’s located just 20 minutes from Orlando’s major theme parks.
Early settlers of Haines City, Florida planted citrus groves, and citrus is still part of the city today. Drive through groves on the Ridge Scenic Highway, pick an orange at Ridge Island Groves, and enjoy a slice of grapefruit pie from The Taste of Florida Café at Lang Sun Country Groves.
Our 15 Favorite Things To Do in Haines City
- You MUST take a grove tour and pick an orange or peach at Ridge Island Groves. Ridge Island is one of our favorite places in Central Florida and is incredibly popular with out-of-towners. In high season, out of state license plates will greatly outnumber Florida plates. Go see what all the fuss is about.
- Have breakfast for lunch at Nikko’s Egg City.
- Attend one of our largest barbecue festivals, Ribs on the Ridge. Every February, thousands flock to Lake Eva Park for barbeque, beer and live music during this two-day event.
- Take a hike at Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park if you’re willing to tackle one of Central Florida’s most challenging trails. Located along the beautiful Lake Wales Ridge, Catfish Creek’s landscape is unlike any other with tall, steep ridges of sugar sand, and ascents and descents so steep you’d think you were traversing ski slopes.
- Stay in a super cute, lakeside tiny house cabin at Oak Harbor Lodging and RV Park. You can even rent one of their boats when you’re ready to go fishing.
- Fill your belly with huge portions of delicious steak, barbeque ribs or seafood at Manny’s Original Chophouse on Highway 27. Wondering if their food’s really that good? Check out their 1,480+ reviews on TripAdvisor.
- If your kids aren’t already exhausted from an airboat ride, fishing and long days at our theme parks, head to Lake Eva Park. It’s got two huge playgrounds for different age groups with swings, slides, and a climbing obstacle course. Lake Eva Park also has picnic areas, tennis and basketball courts, and a walking trail. Lake Eva plays host to IRONMAN Florida 70.3 each April.
- Eat a 24” New York style pizza at Big Tony’s Pizza.
- See if you’re tough enough to register for an IRONMAN 70.3 race by taking a test ride or run on the IRONMAN Florida 70.3 route. Both routes begin at Lake Eva Park.
- Have a slice of grapefruit pie, and then have a few more. The Taste of Florida Café at Lang Sun Country Groves is known for its award-winning grapefruit pie, which was featured on the Food Network show Epicurious.
- Witness Polk County’s largest fireworks display every July 4th at Thunder on the Ridge at Lake Eva Park. This Independence Day celebration includes live music, food vendors and a beer garden.
- If you’re like us and search out locally owned Mexican food restaurants in each town you visit, plan to have lunch or dinner at La Fiesta Mexicana Restaurant in downtown Haines City. We highly recommend the Chiles Rellenos and Camarones a la Mexicana.
- Book a tee time at Southern Dunes Golf and Country Club. This course is consistently recognized as one of the Orlando area’s finest golf courses. The dramatic hillside layout stretches to over 7,200-yards and features 100-feet of elevation change. Yes, it’s in Haines City, FLORIDA.
- Take a drive. The Ridge Scenic Highway, part of Florida’s Scenic Highway system, extends 38-miles along the Lake Wales Ridge from Haines City to Frostproof. The drive will introduce you to the historic communities and rural agriculture Central Florida is famous for.
- If Catfish Creek sounded a little too tough, you can still enjoy the outdoors at Lake Marion Creek Horseshoe Scrub Tract. This 8,083-acre tract contains pine flatwoods, cypress swamps, hardwood swamps, oak hammock, scrubs and freshwater marshes with at least 14 species of rare plants, as well as wildlife ranging from deer, turkey and scrub jays.
The Haines City Chamber of Commerce can provide additional information about the area.