It’s no wonder Central Florida has long been a haven for the weather weary. A mild, sunny climate allows year-round enjoyment of this lush region’s beauty and charm. Vibrant neighboring communities offer distinct personalities, all within a short drive to the added amenities of two metropolitan centers.
Polk County Municipalities
Part of the Lakeland-Winter Haven metro area, Auburndale is a small community in central Polk County with approximately 14,200 residents. Located right off of I-4, Auburndale offers its residents direct access to Tampa and Orlando without sacrificing the comforts of small-town living. Because of Auburndale’s strategic location, the area shines as a logistics and transportation hub and is home to several major citrus processing plants, including Coca Cola’s Simply Orange and Cutrale Citrus Juices.
Affectionately known as the “City of Oaks and Azaleas,” Bartow is the county seat and home to more than 17,000 residents. Positioned at the intersection of State Road 60 and U.S. Highway 98, Bartow is 40 miles east of Tampa and 60 miles southwest of Orlando. Formerly driven by phosphate, cattle and citrus, Bartow’s economy has expanded to include a number of high-tech businesses and light manufacturing. With the recent addition of Clear Springs, Bartow is poised to see a substantial rise in population and industry over the next decades.
Less than 20 miles from downtown Orlando, Davenport is strategically positioned alongside U.S. Highway 27, U.S. Highway 17 and the state’s main interstate, I-4. Although the town itself is small, the surrounding area is experiencing tremendous growth—especially in high-tech industries. Davenport has a population of approximately 3,000 residents—a number which grows during tourist season. Less than 10 miles southwest of Disney World, Davenport is a popular choice for visitors looking for a convenient, affordable lodging option for their Florida vacation.
Town of Dundee (4)
Located in US 27 corridor, Dundee’s nearly 4,000 residents enjoy scenic residential opportunities along the Lake Wales Ridge with access to larger metropolitan areas. Once a bustling citrus town, Dundee is now a bedroom community for larger surrounding cities.
Eagle Lake (5)
Home to approximately 3,000 residents, Eagle Lake is a small city located between Bartow and Winter Haven along U.S. Highway 17. Full of small-town charm, Eagle Lake also offers easy access to I-4, making it a great place to live for people who work in either Tampa or Orlando.
Fort Meade (6)
Situated in the southern part of the county, Fort Meade is Polk County’s oldest community. Home to a number of citrus and phosphate companies, Fort Meade excels in the agribusiness industry. Located near the intersection of U.S. Highway 98 and U.S. 17, Fort Meade’s more than 5,000 residents have easy access to the surrounding metro areas. The city is also the site of Florida’s newest premier golf resort, Streamsong, which was built by Mosaic on 10,000 acres of reclaimed phosphate lands.
Known as “The Friendly City,” Frostproof is nestled in the southeast corner of Polk County along U.S. Highway 17. Nearly 3,000 residents enjoy quick access to local attractions such as LEGOLAND as well as the amenities Tampa and Orlando offer. The town boasts rich citrus growth due to its frost-proof climate. An outdoorsman’s paradise, Frostproof also offers abundant nature trails, state parks and some of the best fishing lakes in the nation.
City of Haines City (8)
With more than 20,000 residents, Haines City is Polk County’s third-largest city. The city is positioned along U.S. Highway 17 between Lake Alfred and Davenport, and enjoys close proximity to Orlando. Haines City has experienced tremendous growth due to its central location in the sunshine state, including recent developments of residential areas and golf courses. Citrus growing and processing has long been the city’s leading industry.
Village of Highland Park (9)
This quaint community is just south of Lake Wales on U.S. Highway 17. The town of less than 300 people boasts a golf course on the Florida Historic Golf Trail and offers residents scenic views from the shores of Lake Easy.
Town of Hillcrest Heights (10)
One of the smallest towns in Florida, Hillcrest Heights is home to less than 300 residents. The community sits on the shores of Crooked Lake between Frostproof and Lake Wales. Its location along State Road 17 provides quick access to surrounding cities.
City of Lake Alfred (11)
Conveniently located along I-4 between Tampa and Orlando, Lake Alfred’s more than 5,000 residents enjoy the benefits of small-town living in addition to quick access to larger metro areas. The city’s proximity to the I-4 Corridor and the low cost of living attract businesses
Town of Lake Hamilton (12)
This small community is home to more than 1,000 people. Located south of Haines City on State Road 17, the Town of Lake Hamilton sits along one of the state’s most popular fishing lakes.
Located between Orlando and Tampa on I-4, Lakeland is Polk County’s largest city with more than 100,000 residents. Lakeland is a business-friendly environment and is home to Publix Super Markets, the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the nation. Lakeland hosts several popular seasonal attractions that bring visitors from around the globe to the area, including Spring Training and Sun ‘n Fun.
Lake Wales (14)
Home to the historic Bok Tower, Lake Wales sits among Central Florida’s rolling hills on the highest ground in peninsular Florida. Conveniently located at the intersection of State Road 60 and U.S. 27, more than 14,000 residents enjoy easy access to Tampa and Orlando. In addition to its history of prosperous citrus growth, Lake Wales has also attracted construction, light manufacturing and electronics firms.
Known as the phosphate capital of the world, Mulberry is home to nearly 4,000 people. Home to the Mulberry Phosphate Museum, this small town is conveniently located at the intersection of State Road 37 and State Road 60, just south of Lakeland. Reputable organizations including Mosaic and Badcock Home Furniture chose to run their operations in Mulberry’s convenient locale.
Polk City (16)
Nearly 2,000 people call Polk City home. Located in the southern part of the state’s Green Swamp, residents enjoy unique ecological surroundings and endangered wildlife. Polk City’s economy benefits from continued expansion in the commercial, housing and industrial markets. Residents take advantage of Polk City’s useful location on State Road 33, just north of I-4.
Winter Haven (17)
Known as the “Chain of Lakes City,” Winter Haven is Polk County’s second-largest city. Winter Haven is home to the world’s largest LEGOLAND theme park which includes the historic Cypress Gardens. The city enjoys success in the tourism, agribusiness, healthcare and distribution industries, and boasts a growing technology sector. Situated between U.S. Highway 27 and U.S. Highway 17, the greater Winter Haven area is home to nearly 35,000 residents that enjoy accessibility to nearby Orlando and Tampa.