Auburndale is a small city in Polk County in central Florida with about 13,000 residents at the last census.
It is located between Tampa in the southwest and Orlando in the northeast, and is relatively equidistant from the state’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
Known for its abundance of lakes, the mid-state surrounding Auburndale is close to many of Florida’s largest theme park attractions, state and national parks, and historic attractions.
Here are 15 things to do in and around Auburndale, Florida, that rank high on many travelers’ itineraries.
1. Bernard House Museum
The Bernard House Museum on Westlake Avenue in Auburndale has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for nearly a decade; it is one of the best-preserved historic sites of its kind in the area.
The house was once the home of Auburndale’s founders, and for first-time visitors, there’s no better place to gain insight into the area’s past, culture and development.
Families and museums can visit by appointment, and the facility hosts many special events throughout the year, so check online for their times and events calendar.
2. Auburndale Dongyuan Trail
Central Florida’s climate is absolutely perfect for the outdoors most of the year, and the Auburndale TECO trail is a handy one for those who want to enjoy nature and burn some calories without driving to far-flung parks choose.
The multi-use trail system stretches for nearly ten miles, with multiple entry points around town.
The trails are open to walkers, runners and cyclists, as long as the dog is on a leash and cleaned up, the dog is fine. The trails are open year-round and free to use, and there is ample parking near each trail.
3. International World Market
Located on U.S. Highway 92 in Auburndale, the International World Market is part farmers market, part flea market, part social and part retail.
In addition to prepared foods, books, tools, and vintage clothing, there’s plenty of fresh, seasonal Florida produce that’s truly unlike any other area attraction. Most tourists end up staying longer than they initially expected.
On weekends, the market hosts a variety of events, including live entertainment and even animal shows.
There’s ample free parking on-site, admission is free, and they’re also known for great coffee and fresh baked goods.
4. Peebles Bar-B-Que
Peebles Bar-B-Que has been an Auburndale institution for over seventy years. Although it has grown a lot from its humble beginnings, it stubbornly sticks to the principles that made it so popular in the first place.
Located on the Old Dixie Freeway, the restaurant offers a full range of traditional grilled items such as pulled pork, sausage, sliced beef and ribs.
Peebles is known for its reasonable prices and relaxed atmosphere. While it may not be for those worried about cholesterol and excess calories, there are few better options for hungry travelers looking for an authentic Old Southern flavor.
5. Auburndale City Park
Previous guests to Auburndale City Park have described it as clean, safe, manicured and a lot of fun.
Auburndale City Park is located on East Park Street just a few blocks south of the Bernard House Museum.
The park is a favorite place for those with children who need to get rid of their pent-up energy; in addition to a lot of spacious space, there is a playground with all kinds of equipment.
There are plenty of covered seating areas and many guests choose to bring some sandwiches and drinks for a picnic.
6. Auburndale Raceway
Auburndale Raceway is definitely not for the faint of heart.
It has a loud engine, screeching tires and squealing fans. While some guests insist earplugs are a necessity, for die-hard racing fans and casual observers alike, it’s one of the area’s most exhilarating attractions.
The Autobahn season usually runs from February to November and has a large number of different classes.
Freeway parking is free, and their deals offer tons of delicious food, similar to what you’ll find at a baseball stadium, just a lot cheaper.
The highway is located at East County Road 542 in nearby Winter Haven.
7. Myrtle Lake Sports Center
When it comes to the concentration of sports-related facilities, the Myrtle Lake Sports Center is unrivaled.
With nine baseball fields, eleven standard football fields, and a championship-style football field, there’s always something going on in this complex.
While these venues are usually reserved for organized leagues, many visitors choose to turn around and play games or games. The complex is also home to the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame, giving guests a unique insight into the region’s rich sports history.
There are a variety of food and beverage vendors on-site, as well as ample parking and restrooms.
8. Hollis Gardens
Although only a little over an acre, Hollis Gardens is one of the most beautiful sights in the area and is free to visit.
Located on East Orange Street near Lakeland, the land was leased to the city undeveloped by a local family.
The main attraction of the garden is its thousands of native and exotic plants, trees and flowers. The site includes fountains, a koi pond and a scenic lake, aptly named Mirror Lake, as its glass water perfectly reflects the bright colors of the garden.
9. Clown Marchant Stadium
Florida’s MLB spring training season is often referred to as the Grapefruit League, and after Florida’s citrus industry, Joker Marchant Stadium on North Lake Boulevard in Lakeland is the spring home of the Detroit Tigers.
Although it has been around since the 60s, the stadium has undergone many improvements and renovations over the years. It’s now a world-class facility and the perfect place to watch a game or two.
The stadium hosts teams from all over the country during spring games, and the prices for tickets, food and souvenirs are much cheaper than major league venues.
10. Lakeland Pig Festival
Lakeland Pigfest has been a popular attraction since 1997, combining great food, fun, and a family-friendly environment with a focus on providing financial assistance to local charities.
Pigfest is a barbecue competition with more than 140 teams from across the state and region, all held over a long weekend in January.
Teams compete in a variety of categories; in addition to the classic barbecue in dozens of different ways, the event includes live entertainment and a variety of children’s activities.
Pigfest is one of those events and is often one of the most memorable experiences of many tourist trips.
11. Hollingsworth Lake
Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland is one of the largest lakes in the region and is a premier recreation destination for locals and tourists who love the great outdoors.
A scenic walking trail winds around the lake’s perimeter, winding its way through the marina, university campus and various pristine natural habitats.
The lake’s park often hosts live events and festivals at different times of the year, and it also hosts a popular regatta each year.
The lake is also home to a variety of freshwater game fish, especially largemouth bass, which are known to thrive in the mild subtropical weather of the region.
12. Discovery V Children’s Museum
The Explorations V Children’s Museum has been around since 1991 and is Polk County’s most comprehensive interactive museum.
The museum’s interactive exhibits touch upon science, the natural world, history, art and technology. While this is a kid-focused attraction, parents usually have a lot of fun too.
The museum is spread over three floors, and most of the activities and exhibits are designed for children from toddlers to fifth grade.
Teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity are all encouraged, and with such an engaging and educational lineup, it’s no wonder the museum welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year.
13. LEGOLAND Florida
Legoland Florida in Winter Haven is a unique area attraction that is part amusement park, part museum, part factory. Here, kids create masterpieces using iconic LEGO bricks that have been around for years.
The park includes several on-site lodging and dining options, a live entertainment venue, and more events than almost anywhere else in the area. It’s all in a convenient location, an easy drive from Auburndale.
The park is set up to keep wait times at the rides to a minimum, and there are plenty of places for adults to sit, relax and enjoy a refreshing drink.
14. Colt Creek State Park
Colt Creek State Park has a variety of activity options and facilities that keep many types of outdoor activities coming back again and again.
The park’s extensive network of multi-use trails is open to walkers, runners, cyclists, and horseback riders, and there are many natural habitats that are home to a variety of animals.
It’s not uncommon to see deer, eagles, snakes and even bobcats from the trail, especially in the mornings and evenings when they are usually most active.
Primitive campsites are also available, and the park’s lakes have a variety of freshwater game fish.
15. The fantasy of flying
Located on Broadway Boulevard SE near the city of Polk, Fantasy of Flight is a unique aviation attraction. Its exhibits span the years leading up to World War I to the present.
The founder and owner’s collection of refurbished aircraft is world-class, many of which are still regularly flown at local and national airshows.
For aviation enthusiasts, there is no better place to spend a few hours. There are many interactive exhibits, including flight and paratrooper simulators, which are always a hit.
Fantasy of Flight is an attraction that attracts both young and old.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Auburndale, FL (FL)
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