Diverse Natural Communities
Polk County is larger than Rhode Island, which means we are large enough to have many different ecosystems and landscapes. Polk County is a place where in the span of only a few miles you can go from a freshwater marsh on the shores of a lake, to a desert-like scrub habitat complete with prickly pear cactus.
Some of the more distinct natural features to explore in Polk County include Lake Wales Ridge, Floodplain Swamps, Wet Prairie, and Scrubby Flatwoods.
State Parks in Central Florida
Follow blazed trails through our unique landscape at Colt Creek State Park, Lake Kissimmee State Park, or Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park. All together, these three state parks in Central Florida have over 31-miles of hiking and equestrian trails to explore. Arbuckle WMA and Walk-in-the-Water WMA in the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest has 12.2-miles of equestrian trails and more than 50-miles of hiking trails combined.
County Parks & Reserves
Whether you are interested in seeing ancient beach sand dunes, unique plants and animals, or looking to explore the Green Swamp with its majestic cypress domes, Polk County’s Environmental Lands Program offers visitors many ways to discover Florida’s true nature. The County’s nine parks and reserves include SUMICA, Lakeland Highlands Scrub and Crooked Lake Prairie.
Polk County’s most popular outdoor area is Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland. In 2011, USA Today named Circle B Bar Reserve on of “51 Great Places to See Wildlife.” Circle B, a 1,267-acre reserve, is popular for birding and alligator watching.