Lake Whales, Haines City, and Winter Haven
Lake whales and Winter Haven sit on the southwest side of Orlando, off I-27. While one of the biggest expensive attractions here is Legoland ($$$) there are some nice places to visit for much less!
1. Davidson of Dundee Candy factory – FREE
This is such a cute little candy shop! They have free samples, all kinds of jelly and chocolate candies, and cute seasonal items. I know it’s just a candy store, but myself and the kids always have fun visiting small little mom and pop shops. If you catch them at the right time, you can see them making the candy! They are open 9-6 during November to April, and 9-5:30 May to October
2. Florida’s Natural Grove House Visitor’s Center – FREE (Unless Shopping)
Stop by the visitors center of this big citrus plant to taste free juice samples and learn above Florida orange groves! Open October through memorial day 10-5 Monday through Friday. Note: This is not an actual tour of the factory, but it does have videos, information, and samples.
3. Lake Eva Community Park and Aquatic Center – Park FREE, Aquatics $5 per person
Beautiful Shaded park with a lake and a dock. There are plenty of activities for kids of all ages. There is also a walking path and exercise stations for adults. During the summer months, they also open their pool and aquatic center. $5 a person, open weekends in April & May, and all week in June and July. The aquatic center also has a snack bar.
4. Lake Whales History Museum – FREE
This tiny history museum in Lake Whales is open year round, Tuesday through Saturday 9-5. They have permanent as well as rotating exhibits centered around Florida’s history, including the railroad. In the back they have three outbuildings, an old railroad caboose, a 1920’s bungalow, and the Seaboard airline railroad station.
5. Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve – Free
This is a huge preserve that is often used to host weddings and other speical events. The preserve holds masters garderner classes (not free), and also has plenty of walking and hiking trails and well as a playground and Canoe Launch. The preserve is also a beautiful scrub lupine planting site, a project started by nearby bok tower gardens.