You know how sometimes you just need to get away from it all? Well, Bartow Florida is the perfect place for that. It’s a small town with big-city amenities and plenty of things to do.
From restaurants and shopping to parks and museums, there’s something for everyone in this little slice of paradise.
If you’re interested in visiting this beautiful part of the country, keep reading our travel guide on what there is to do when you arrive! We’ll have all your questions answered about things like where to stay or what to do. So, let’s dive in!
About Bartow Florida
Bartow is a hidden gem, with plenty of family-owned antique shopping, historic buildings, and charm.
It’s also full of history, from museums to the embedded Polk County Museum of Art and Genealogical Library. The town is located in central Florida’s Polk County and it’s between the state’s Atlantic coast and Gulf coast.
Bartow was founded in the 1850s and it’s named after a Confederate Army officer who was one of the first southerners to die in the Civil War.
The city and surrounding area are home to plenty of historic buildings, quaint southern charm, and classic architecture.
What to Do in Bartow Florida
There are all sorts of things to do and places to go in Bartow, Florida. There are a variety of family-friendly activities like taking a stroll through the city park or biking along the Lake Hancock Canal Trail.
Other activities include going fishing at Lake Hancock, having fun at the local amusement parks, playing golf on one of Bartow’s beautiful golf courses, and attending a baseball game at the Historic Bartow Stadium.
Visit the Barto Flea Market
Like we said above, Bartow has plenty of family activities that you can enjoy. One of Bartow Florida’s most popular family-friendly activities is going to the Bartow flea market.
The flea market features some of the state’s best antiques, jewelry, and crafts. It’s a great place for bargain hunters to find hidden treasures.
Fishing at Lake Hancock
Lake Hancock is a man-made fishery that’s been in Bartow Florida since 1948. Lake Hancock is home to many species of fish, such as tilapia, largemouth bass, bream, crappie, rainbow trout, and more.
The lake also has a number of freshwater habitats that include submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), emergent vegetation, and floating plants.
Bike along the Lake Hancock Canal Trail
What makes Bartow so unique are the hidden gems, the small-town charm, and the southern hospitality. One of the town’s hidden gems is the Lake Hancock Canal Trail, a scenic biking trail that connects Bartow to Lake Wales.
The Bartow-Lake Wales section is 12 miles long and starts at Lake Hancock and continues through Polk County until it ends at Lake Wales. It’s a perfect way for bikers to enjoy the scenic views of this area of Florida!
Go Horseback Riding
There are plenty of horseback riding opportunities in Barto. Two Bartow Florida horseback riding spots are the Polo Ranch at Bartow and Lake Hancock Stables.
The Polo Ranch at Bartow is dedicated to giving its visitors an authentic polo experience. They offer hourly lessons, group rides, private instruction, as well as camps during the summer.
Lake Hancock Stables offers an abundance of horseback riding activities like trail rides, pony rides, playgrounds, and more!
Visit the Local Amusement Parks
There are a variety of amusement parks that you can visit in the area.
One of the Bartow Florida amusement parks is called Heritage Square, which is located at Vine Street and Highway 27.
Another amusement park is Bay County’s Adventure Island, which features three attractions: The Wet ‘N Wild Splash Park for younger kids, the Boomerang Safari for older kids, and the Wild River Ride for all ages.
Shop at Historic Downtown
The historic downtown offers plenty of small shops and also has a number of restaurants you can visit to enjoy an afternoon break with food and drinks.
You’ll find a wide variety of antique stores, boutiques, clothing stores, souvenir shops, bars, restaurants, and more!
Experience Heritage Square
Bartow’s Heritage Square is only two blocks south of Bartow’s Main Street entertainment district. The historic square is made up of brick buildings that feature classic architectural designs.
Some of the town’s most famous buildings are located in Heritage Square such as the old First National Bank of Bartow, which is currently a dance studio, and the Old Bartow Library-City Hall. The origins of Heritage Square go back to 1865 when Polk County was established.
If you’re looking for a fun way to spend the afternoon, you can head out to the green. One golf course that is set in the heart of Bartow’s historic city square is Bartow Golf Course.
Bartow Golf Course has a 9-hole par 3 course with high and low tees as well as a regulation length 18 hole course with mounds and sand traps.
The golf course features historic buildings such as the Polk County Courthouse and its original jail cell. It is a common scene to see Bartow golfers laying claim to their golf ball on top of the courthouse steps overlooking Bartow’s Historic Square.
Visit the Polk County Genealogical Library and Museum
One of Bartow’s hidden gems is the Polk County Genealogical Library and Museum, which was established in 1977. The museum contains information on historical photographs from Bartow’s past as well as historical documents that date back to Bartow’s 1844 incorporation.
The Bartow Florida museum also features genealogical information and operates a research library with more than 25,000 genealogy books. Visit Bartow’s historic Genealogical Library and Museum for a fun way to spend the afternoon and learn more about the town!
Go to a Baseball Game at Bartow Stadium
Bartow is home to Bartow Florida’s only professional sports team, Baseball. The baseball team has been playing in Bartow, Florida since 1920 and is now a member of the Southern League.
Bartow Stadium, which was built in 1952, currently seats 4,000 people and features an original field from the 1950s.
The Bartow Baseball team often plays at Bartow Stadium, but also plays select games in their spring training facilities in Kissimmee Florida.
How to get to Bartow, Florida
Bartow sits between Orlando and Tampa. If you’re coming from Orlando or Tampa, Bartow is about 70 minutes by car.
Best Time of Year to Visit Bartow Florida
The weather is best between November and March when Bartow has its lowest rainfall.
If you plan to visit in the winter, Bartow’s average temperatures are more tolerable than in the summer, and the town has its least amount of rainfall.
Bartow Florida is a hidden gem in the south that many people don’t know about. The small, quaint town features classic architecture and southern charm.
It’s also full of history with historic buildings to explore like the Polk County Museum of Art and Genealogical Library.
If you’re looking for an exciting new place to visit this year, you should visit Bartow, Florida! We hope you enjoyed our travel guide, happy travels!
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