Recreation & Sports

Winter Haven Chain of Lakes

Lakes for fishing, paddling, boating and outdoor recreation are strewn together by an intricate canal system, which makes your day spent on the water just a bit more interesting.

Life on the Chain is Off the Chain

If you hadn’t guessed it from the name, the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes is essentially a group of lakes, connected by canals, that lies mostly within the city of Winter Haven. But they aren’t just any lakes, these mostly residential lakes provide a wide range of entertainment choices whether you are looking to land a feisty bass or two, enjoy some action-packed jet skiing or simply cruise around on a relaxing pontoon boat ride. The city maintains 21 boat ramps, 30 waterfront parks and 14 public docks, which makes the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes a water lover's paradise.

Wakeboarding in Central Florida
Wakeboarding in Central Florida

North and South

Actually, there are two Winter Haven Chain of Lakes: The Northern Chain, and the Southern Chain. Both chains are made up by a primary group of lakes, but the number of interconnected lakes fluctuates depending on water levels. At certain times of the year low water levels may inhibit you passing from one to another via canal.

Winter Haven Chain of Lakes
Winter Haven Chain of Lakes

The ten lakes, eight of which are interconnected, make up the Northern Chain include Lake Haines, Lake Rochelle, Lake Echo, Lake Conine, Lake Fannie, Lake Smart, Lake Henry, Lake Hamilton, Middle Lake Hamilton, and Little Lake Hamilton.

The Southern Chain is comprised of 18 lakes, 16 of which are interconnected, including Lake Howard, Lake Cannon, Lake Shipp, Lake Jessie, Lake Hartridge, Lake Lulu, Lake Roy, Lake Eloise, Little Lake Eloise, Lake Winterset, Little Lake Winterset, Lake May, Lake Mirror, Lake Idylwild, Spring Lake and Lake Summit.

Flyboarding with Absolute Aqua Sports
Flyboarding with Absolute Aqua Sports

This is How We do… A Day on the Chain, That is

Absolute Aqua Sports

How about strapping on a flyboard to soar above the water like an aquatic James Bond? If that sounds like fun, Absolute Aqua Sports can make that dream a reality with an adventure experience called flyboarding. Flyboarding is true personal flight, perfectly realized by harnessing the power of controlled water pressure. Certified instructors train you, and then direct your movement above the water.

Most first-timers are flying in 15 minutes with the throttle controlled by an instructor. You must be 18 or over to flyboard. Not ready to fly? Absolute Aqua Sports also provide water ski lessons, tube rides, disabled water ski boat rides and lessons, and hang gliding adventures. .

Winter Haven Chain of Lakes
Winter Haven Chain of Lakes

Jet Ski Thrills

Sure, you can troll, paddle or leisurely cruise the chain of lakes, but sometimes you just need a little adventure. Jet Skis are the motorcycle of the open water. They provide that same thrill and sense of freedom, and they’re a whole lot easier to get the hang of from the first time you jump on one.

Lucky for you, you don’t have to own one of these wildly fun watercraft to experience a good time on the chain – you can just rent one. One of our favorite rental spots is Wave-Breaker Watersports, because they’re friendly and affordable.

Paddleboard Winter Haven
Paddleboard Winter Haven

Paddleboard Winter Haven

The new, trendy way to enjoy the water is stand up paddle boarding (SUP) and we have a local company that offers tours, lessons and classes. Paddleboard Winter Haven owner Audrey Nettlow will meet you at the lake of your choice with boards, paddles, personal flotation devices, instruction, interesting information about the area, and BIG SMILES. It will be the most fun you have in Florida.

Pontoon Perfection

Looking to spend a relaxing day on the water? A day spent on a pontoon enjoying the company of your friends and taking in the views of nature, local wildlife and the beautiful homes that line the many lakes on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes may be more your speed.

You can rent an 8 -10 seat pontoon boat from Marine Supply for a half or a full day. Each boat includes life vests and gasoline, and will provide you with a laid back good time.

Freshwater Fishing
Freshwater Fishing

Bass Fishing

Those looking to land a trophy bass choose to travel to Central Florida to find out firsthand why we are the “Largemouth Bass Capital of the World.” It’s choosing which lake to fish that’s tough, with more than 550 lakes in Polk County.

What’s oh so nice about bass fishing on the Winter Haven Chain is that putting in on one lake grants you access to 10 times as many. You’ll be fishing for largemouth bass, sunshine bass, bluegill and crappie on some of the most prolific fishing lakes in the state.

Looking for fishing waters that have a bit less boating pressure? Lake Kissimmee and Tenoroc Fishing Management Area provide equally fruitful fishing, but with a more scenic backdrop.

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort’s Water Ski Show

No matter what part of Lake Eloise you happen to be fishing, skiing or paddling on it is tough to miss the sounds of laughter, fun and entertainment that drift across the water from those enjoying their day at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort. Sitting on what has to be one of the most exciting shorelines of Lake Eloise, LEGOLAND® Florida’s colorful waterslides, Island in the Sky ride and “pink knuckle” roller coasters easily distract the attention of those enjoying their day.

Want to join in the fun from the water? Paddle, ski or float over to LEGOLAND® Pirates' Cove and catch a glimpse of their 20-minute action packed water ski show. Three times each day (when the park is open) LEGOLAND’s Pirates' Cove Ski Adventure features pirates and imperial guards battling for bounty and the attentions of a beautiful maiden.

Harborside Restaurant
Harborside Restaurant

Dine in the Sunshine

There’s no better way to add to your enjoyment of your day on the water than being able to pull up your boat at the dock of one of Winter Haven Chain’s waterside restaurants for a bite to eat or a nice ice cold drink.

How convenient is it to tie off to the dock and step right into an air conditioned restaurant or enjoy the view from a lakeside deck while you enjoy a full-flavor meal “on the water.”

Harborside Restaurant

Sitting on the shores of Lake Shipp, local favorite Harborside Restaurant features an American fare menu of aged steaks, delivered-daily fresh seafood and a raw oyster bar. Take a break from your on-the-water fun and tie off on their dock, or beach your watercraft onshore, to enjoy the sweeping views while sipping on your favorite libation from their dockside deck. Step in the air conditioned restaurant to fully escape the mid-day sun or if your timing is right you can spend the afternoon kicking up your heels at one of Harborside’s many hosted events.

Tanner's Lakeside

Located on the canal that connects Lake May with Lake Howard, Tanner’s Lakeside serves up a plethora of tasty seafood, savory steaks and abundant appetizers to satisfy the hungriest of seafarers. Take a break from all of the water fun and pull up to Tanner’s dock and enjoy the cooling lake breezes from one of their two outdoor dining areas.

Idle Zone Bar and Grill

Idle Zone Bar and Grill on Lake May is the place to go if you’re feeling in the mood for game day fare like burgers, chicken tenders, or fish bites with fries. A small dock and an ample shoreline make it easy for boaters to set anchor and enjoy a meal in either their shaded outdoor area, screened-in patio or indoor dining room.

Address / Location


Winter Haven, FL
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Hours of Operation

Daily Dawn - Dusk
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