Central Florida Lakes Guide – Winter Haven Chain of Lakes
Explain the Chain
Winter Haven and the chain of lakes are situated at the headwaters of the Peace River. There are two interconnected “chains” of lakes, the northern chain, and the southern chain.
The northern chain consists of ten lakes, connected by a series of canals, crossing three cities (Winter Haven, Lake Alfred, and Lake Hamilton). The ten lakes on the northern chain are Lake Haines, Lake Rochelle, Lake Echo, Lake Conine, Lake Fannie, Lake Smart, Lake Henry, Lake Hamilton, Middle Lake Hamilton, and Little Lake Hamilton.
The 18 lakes of the southern chain are mostly contained within Winter Haven. The principal 16 lakes on the southern chain are Lake Howard, Lake Cannon, Lake Shipp, Lake Jessie, Lake Hartridge, Lake Lulu, Lake Roy, Lake Eloise, Little Lake Eloise, Lake Winterset, Little Lake Winterset, Lake May, Lake Mirror, Lake Idylwild, Spring Lake and Lake Summit – with Lake Blue and Lake Marianna emerging when water levels increase.
The Chain of Lakes is the center of watersport activity in Polk County, with fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, flyboarding, and pontoon cruises being popular ways to spend a day on the chain. The city maintains 21 boat ramps, 30 waterfront parks, and 14 public docks, providing plenty of opportunities to venture out and discover Polk County’s most incredible natural resource.
How to Chain
There’s no wrong way to enjoy a day on the Chain, but if you’re looking to take on the water by vessel, you have many to choose from. Pick your adventure level, and you can find a local outfitter, guide, or instructor to take you there!
- Winter Haven Watersports is your headquarters for flyboarding experiences.
- Paddleboard Winter Haven offers stand-up paddleboarding tours, lessons, and classes.
- Off the Chain Kayak Company provides drop off and pick up kayak equipment rentals as well as guided kayak tours.
- Marine Supply rents 8 -10 seat pontoon boats for a half or a full day.
- TMC Guide Services are the pros in the know for a successful angling experience in the “Largemouth Bass Capital of the World”.
Chain Chow Down
How else would you cap off a day on the Chain than a meal with a view? Winter Haven is home to an assortment of lakeside restaurants serving up everything from snacks and drinks to elaborate meals. Whether arriving by car or by boat, you’ll appreciate the option of air-conditioned seating indoors or dining on the deck at the waterfront. Top local favorites include:
- Harborside Restaurant ($$) – Lake Shipp – Seafood
- Tanner’s Lakeside ($$) – Lake May/Lake Howard – American/Seafood
- Old Man Frank’s ($$) – Lake Howard – Oyster Bar
If you’re looking to keep the water in your reach (beyond your private pool, that is), be sure to ask us about our nearest available homes to the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes – or other popular waterways in the Central Florida area. Check back soon for area guides to more lakes and rivers that are easily accessible from our inventory of homes. We’re happy to work with you to find the perfect rental, near all of the activities that will make your dream getaway complete!