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Walking Club: Exploring South Lake Howard Nature Park in Winter Haven

Walking Club: Exploring South Lake Howard Nature Park in Winter Haven
Posted at 7:27 AM, Sep 01, 2021

Many of us are looking for ways to remain active while also staying a safe distance away from others. That's why Sarah Phinney started a ‘Walking Club’ to highlight some hidden, and some not so hidden, trails and parks across Tampa Bay.

Enjoy an urban escape with your family this weekend by visiting South Lake Howard Nature Park in Winter Haven. The paths are easy to follow and you’ll enjoy a nice mix of sun and shade.

Where is it?

South Lake Howard Nature Park can be found at:

1570 Lake Howard Dr SW
Winter Haven, FL 33880

The main parking lot is off of Lake Howard Dr SW. There is a second lot off of 21st St SW.

What’s there?

South Lake Howard Nature Park is 20 years old.

Andy Palmer, Winter Haven Parks Planning and Strategic Initiatives Manager, says the original purpose of the area was to treat the stormwater before it went into Lake Howard. It was later developed into a recreation area.

“This is one of our hidden gems,” said Palmer.

Visitors will find three paved loops, measuring a quarter-mile, half-mile and mile.

There’s a mix of sun and shade on the trails, making it an ideal place to visit all times of the year.

“You can get a nice stroll in while you’re here,” said Palmer.

Additionally, there are about 1,000 feet of boardwalk. Palmer says a recent $100,000 donation allowed for the boardwalks to be re-decked.

Be sure to look for wildlife, including marsh rabbits, alligators and a variety of birds.

The city recently purchased an adjacent property and now plans to expand the park to include additional wetland treatment areas in the coming years, as well as recreational amenities.

Dogs are allowed at the park but must be leashed and picked up after.

Senior Group Walks

The City of Winter Haven plans to soon once again offer a Walk with Ease program for seniors.

If you are interested in participating in group walks, call the Winter Winter Haven Senior Adult Center at 863-291-5870.

“With COVID, people sitting at home, getting lonely, depressed, it just helps get some energy out and it’s healthy for them,” said Jennifer Burke, Recreation Supervisor II at Senior Adult Center.

Join Walking Club!

Post photos of your adventures, ask questions and learn about upcoming Walking Club stories in Sarah’s Walking Club group on Facebook!

You can also keep up with Sarah on Instagram and Twitter