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  • Serene lake surrounded by lush greenery at South Lake Howard Nature Park
  • Birdwatching in the natural habitats of South Lake Howard Nature Park
  • Gazebo in the park
  • Pier in the park
  • restrooms
  • bridge over a canal
  • park placard with information
  • Trail distances

South Lake Howard Nature Park: A Gem in Winter Haven

Planning a visit to South Lake Howard Nature Park? Nestled in Winter Haven, this accessible haven has no entry fee and presents an adventure for every visitor, from serene walks to wildlife encounters. This article guides you on what to expect, how to get there, and the best ways to enjoy everything the park serves up.

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South Lake Howard Takeaways

  • South Lake Howard Nature Park is a nature haven within Winter Haven offering trails, water activities, and a diverse array of wildlife, catering to all fitness levels.

  • The park is expanding with new land acquisition for additional recreational spaces and wetland treatment areas, and features a vibrant community with activities coordinated through Sarah’s Walking Club.

  • Accessing the park is easy with free admission, no entrance fee (but main parking lot renovations), and a Facebook page for community updates and interactions.

Exploring South Lake Howard Nature Park

South Lake Howard Nature Park isn’t just a park; it’s a sanctuary where nature and city blend harmoniously. Here, you can appreciate the park’s unique water features or seek out the various fauna, including the majestic White Ibis, the nimble Osprey, and the elusive marsh rabbits. The park is also a hiker’s paradise, boasting ¼, ½, and 1-mile loop trails that cater to different fitness levels. And after a long walk, you can unwind at the picnic areas or stroll along the serene boardwalks.

However, South Lake Howard Nature Park offers more than just its apparent beauty. Beyond the park’s boundaries lies a commitment to environmental conservation and community engagement, making it a symbol of Winter Haven’s dedication to preserving nature’s beauty.

The Beauty of Lake Howard

Lake Howard, the magnificent heart of South Lake Howard Nature Park, invites visitors to enjoy its natural splendor. The park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. An integral part of the Peace River Watershed, Lake Howard spans a vast 624-acre surface area and plunges to depths of 18.7 feet. Its shores are adorned with a mix of plants and trees typically found around freshwater lakes in Florida, adding to the lake’s scenic allure.

Lake Howard isn’t merely a feast for the eyes; it’s a bustling hub for water activities as well. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie eager to try water skiing and tubing, or a peace-seeker drawn to the tranquility of paddleboarding, Lake Howard offers experiences to suit everyone’s preferences. And with a public boat ramp available, embarking on your water adventure is a breeze.

Adjacent Property: What Lies Beyond?

The charm of the park reaches beyond its present confines. The city has recently acquired additional land adjacent to the park, with plans for expansion on the horizon. This expansion aims to enhance the park’s recreational offerings and introduce new wetland treatment areas that contribute to water conservation and management.

While the specifics of the recreational improvements are yet to be revealed, one thing is certain: the future of South Lake Howard Nature Park is promising. With an expanded area to explore and more amenities to enjoy, the park’s charm and appeal are only set to increase.

Sarah's Walking Club Newsletters: Staying Connected with Nature Lovers

The park’s vibrant community is a testament to its allure. Sarah’s Walking Club, spearheaded by Sarah, is a group of nature enthusiasts who frequent the park and other trails around the Tampa Bay area. The club regularly updates its members through newsletters, sharing news about hiking, kayaking, and other exciting activities. This platform also serves as a venue for organizing events such as scavenger hunts and challenges, fostering camaraderie among its members.

If the club piques your interest, subscribing to Sarah’s Walking Club newsletters is easy. Simply visit their website and subscribe to stay updated on club activities and the latest happenings in South Lake Howard Nature Park.

Trail Adventures at South Lake Howard Nature Park

Trail enthusiasts will find South Lake Howard Nature Park to be a treasure trove. With three paved loops of varying lengths, the park offers a range of trail options to suit every fitness level. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a casual walker, there’s a trail waiting for you to conquer.

From the scenic lake views to the diverse flora and fauna, each trail offers a unique adventure that allows you to experience the park’s beauty firsthand. And with the park’s commitment to expansion, you can look forward to even more trails to explore in the future.

Trailhead: Where It All Begins

The trailhead, serving as the gateway to the park’s picturesque trails, marks the beginning of your adventure. Located at 1570 Lake Howard Dr SW, the trailhead is equipped with:

  • Runners’ paths

  • Picnic tables

  • Benches

  • Restrooms

This ensures a comfortable start to your search journey, with a clear sign to guide you.

From here, you can choose from a selection of trails, including a 1/3 mile loop trail at Lake Hartridge Nature Park, 1.5 miles of trail on Lake Howard, and the 3.6 mile Chain of Lakes Trail. Each trail offers a unique experience, immersing you in the park’s diverse landscapes and wildlife.

Wildlife Encounters: Birds, Dogs, and More

The chance to encounter the park’s resident wildlife is one of the most thrilling aspects of exploring South Lake Howard Nature Park. Birdwatchers will delight in spotting species such as the White Ibis, Osprey, and American Kestrel, among others. And if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the park’s marsh rabbits or the alligators that have been spotted up to 12 times.

We mustn’t overlook our furry companions! Given the park’s popularity among dog owners and residents, encountering a few friendly canines during your visit shouldn’t be surprising.

Amenities Along the Way

By offering a range of amenities, South Lake Howard Nature Park assures a comfortable and delightful experience for every visitor. Along the trails, you’ll find convenient restrooms and picnic areas where you can take a break and soak in the park’s tranquil ambiance.

Additionally, the park features a pool and playground located right by the lake, providing a fun-filled day for families. With these amenities, South Lake Howard Nature Park ensures that every visit is a memorable one.

Jennifer Burke: A Passionate Advocate for South Lake Howard Nature Park

Jennifer Burke is one individual who has significantly contributed to the maintenance and enhancement of South Lake Howard Nature Park. As the Recreation Supervisor II at the Senior Adult Center and the Project Director - Stewardship and Restoration at The Nature Conservancy, Jennifer’s passion for nature preservation is evident.

Through initiatives such as the South Lake Howard Trail Nature Park Enhancement Project, Jennifer has worked tirelessly to protect and enhance the park’s natural beauty. Her dedication serves as an inspiration to all who appreciate the park and its mission. For inquiries about the park, you can reach out to Jennifer via email or contact the Parks, Recreation & Culture Department.

Social Media Highlights: South Lake Howard Nature Park on Facebook

With the park’s lively Facebook community, maintaining a connection with South Lake Howard Nature Park is as simple as clicking a button. The park’s official Facebook page is a hub for:

  • updates

  • photos

  • stories

  • interactions among park enthusiasts

Whether you want to share your park adventures, participate in discussions, or simply stay updated on park news and events, the park’s Facebook page is your go-to platform. So, why not give the page a like and join the conversations?.

Planning Your Visit: Essential Information

Before embarking on your adventure to South Lake Howard Nature Park, ensure you have planned your visit thoroughly. Here are some important details to keep in mind:

  • The park is open from Tuesday to Saturday, between 7 AM and 8 PM.

  • There’s no entrance fee.

  • However, please note that the main parking lots at the park are currently closed for renovations.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular, having the right information at your fingertips ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience at the park site.

Location and Directions

You can find South Lake Howard Nature Park at 1570 S Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven, FL 33881, United States. Getting there is straightforward: simply take the main roads like S Lake Howard Dr and Lake Howard Dr SW.

If you’re relying on public transportation, you’ll be pleased to know that the park is accessible by bus. The fare is approximately $2.00, making it a budget-friendly option. As for parking, despite the main parking lots’ renovation, there are other parking options off Lake Howard Dr SW and 21st St SW.

Additional Information: What to Know Before You Go

The year-round accessibility is one of the standout features of South Lake Howard Nature Park. Regardless of the season, the park is always ready to welcome visitors with its serene landscapes and diverse trails.

For dog owners, the park is a great place to enjoy a walk with your furry friend. However, remember to keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone.

Summary

To sum up, South Lake Howard Nature Park is more than just a park; it’s a sanctuary where city life and nature beautifully coexist. With its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, engaging activities, and dedicated advocates like Jennifer Burke, the park offers a unique urban getaway. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, a birdwatcher, a dog lover, or simply someone seeking a peaceful escape, South Lake Howard Nature Park has something for everyone. So why wait? Plan your visit today and discover this gem in Winter Haven!

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of animals can I see at South Lake Howard Nature Park?

At South Lake Howard Nature Park, you can see a variety of birds like White Ibis and Osprey, as well as marsh rabbits and occasional alligators. Enjoy spotting these animals on your visit!

What activities can I do at Lake Howard?

At Lake Howard, you can enjoy water skiing, tubing, paddleboarding, and even rent pontoon boats. Additionally, there's a public boat ramp for easy water access. Enjoy your time!

How can I stay updated on events and activities at the park?

You can stay updated on events and activities at the park by subscribing to Sarah's Walking Club newsletters or following the park's official Facebook page. Enjoy exploring the park!

How do I get to South Lake Howard Nature Park?

You can reach South Lake Howard Nature Park at 1570 S Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven, FL 33881, United States by car or public transportation. Enjoy your visit!

Can I bring my dog to South Lake Howard Nature Park?

Yes, you can bring your dog to South Lake Howard Nature Park as long as you keep them on a leash and clean up after them.




All listing information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified through personal inspection by appropriate professionals. Listings displayed on this website may be subject to prior sale or removal from sale; availability of any listing should always be independent verified. Listing information is provided for consumer personal, non-commercial use, solely to identify potential properties for potential purchase; all other use is strictly prohibited and may violate relevant federal and state law. The source of the listing data is as follows: Stellar MLS (updated 3/1/24 11:59 PM) |

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