Photography by Dan Austin
Models: Chris Anderson & Aaron Anderson
It’s time to get outside and get moving. We compiled a list of the best local spots to suit any outdoor activity.
At the end of a long day or week, staying inside is easy, especially with the draw of technology, entertainment, or just simple inertia. But disconnecting ourselves from screens that often separate us and getting outside can help us reconnect with people and places that surround us.
With so many ways to enjoy the city’s outdoor spaces and a climate that accommodates them year round, the reasons we thought we had for staying indoors start to dwindle. You can quite literally participate in a different activity all across Lakeland every day of the week.
That’s why we’ve curated a list of all the ways and places you can be outdoors in our great city. It might not be quite an exhaustive guide, but it can get you thinking, planning, and even dreaming about spending some time enjoying the fresh (if quite warm!) air.
From virtually anywhere in the city, you can make a quick escape to recharge outdoors and get back to your schedule.
Perhaps the best part: you can invite all of your friends. Your house, apartment, or dorm room probably can’t accommodate everyone, but we’re willing to bet that the outside can! You don’t need any other reason than that to meet a group to grill or bring lunch to one of the city’s several park pavilions.
Or, consider getting some friends together for a round of golf at one of Lakeland’s many courses. Catch up on life while you laugh at how much each others’ short games haven’t improved. Maybe some fishing is more your speed. There’s no shortage of places in town to cast a line even for an hour or so.
And that might be the greatest revelation we had while creating this story: you don’t need to set aside a lot of time to enjoy Lakeland’s fresh air. In our busy, heavily scheduled lives, finding a day (or even half a day) to spend outdoors might be quite rare. That’s OK. From virtually anywhere in the city, you can make a quick escape to recharge outdoors and get back to your schedule. Take a walk through Lake Parker Park or around Lake Hollingsworth. Go for a quick swim at Kelly Rec Center, spin the pedals for 30 minutes on miles of bike paths, or play fetch with the pooch at Dog Leg Woods.
Be sure to check out local stores (like Road & Trail Bicycles) to gear up with the right cycling gear to get you a little bit faster and a lot more comfortable while out on the roads and trails.
BIKES & HELMETS FROM
Road & Trail Bicycles: 5113 U.S. Hwy. 98 S., Lakeland, FL 33812 | 863.937.8058 | roadandtrailbicycles.com
Then again, there are plenty of places to spend the whole day if you have the luxury of time. There are softball fields at Christina Park and Southwest Complex, to name just a couple. Check out some wildlife while walking through Circle B or Colt Creek. Or just get a lot of fresh air at Holloway Park or Lakeland Highlands Scrub.
But the true aim of all of this shouldn’t be missed: getting outside can facilitate the quality time we so often sacrifice to our calendars. Perhaps someone needs you to listen, a weight could be lifted by laughter, or you could just stand to goof off a little. Sometimes all it takes is some time well “wasted.”
Here Are Some Ideas to Get You There.
Lone Palm, Cleveland Heights, Sanlan, Big Cypress, Wedgewood, YMCA Par 3, Eaglebrook, Sandpiper, Shalamar Creek, Huntington Hills, Grasslands, Highland Fairways, Imperial Lakes, Cypresswood
Common Ground, Barnett Family Park, Hernando’s Landing, Lake Parker Park, Christina Park, Fletcher Park, Dobbins Park, Horney Park, Banana Lake Park
A LITTLE STROLL
Munn Park, Kryger Park, Lake Mirror Amphitheater, Hollis Garden, Veterans Memorial Park
PARKS WITH WILDLIFE
Circle B, Safari Wilderness, Colt Creek State Park, Saddle Creek Park, Tenoroc Fish Management, Loyce E. Harpe
A WALK, A JOG, A RUN
Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Morton, Lake Mirror, Fort Fraser, Lake Parker, Lake Bonny Park, Banana Lake Park, Loyce E. Harpe, Holloway Park
Fort Fraser, Lake Hollingsworth, Lake to Lake
Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Bonny, Colt Creek State Park
Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Gibson, Lake Cannon, Lake Shipp
FOR THE DOGS
Off leash at Loyce E. Harpe, Dog Leg Woods, Lake Crago
Kelly Recreation Center, Beerman Family Complex, Lake Parker Park, Woodlake Park
Lake Parker, Barnett Family Park, Christina Park, Common Ground, Peterson Park
Gandy Pool at Kelly Recreation Center, Simpson Pool
Hydration is so important when participating in outdoor activities. What better way than with a limited-edition Lakelander Corkcicle. Available for purchase at thelakelander.com.
Lakeland Highlands Scrub, Loyce E. Harpe, Se7en Wetlands, Holloway Park, Colt Creek
Saddle Creek, Tenoroc Fish Management Area, Lake Parker Park, Colt Creek State Park, Banana Lake, Loyce E. Harpe Park
Lake Parker Park
Lake Bonny Park, Cypress Youth Sports Complex, Southwest Complex, Walker Road Complex, Lake Parker Park, Loyce E. Harpe
Lake Bonny Park, Loyce E. Harpe
Christina Park, Westside Park, Walker Road Complex, Southwest Complex, Lake Bonny Park, Loyce E. Harpe
Lake Parker Park, Cypress Youth Sports Complex, Walker Road Complex, Loyce E. Harpe
Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Parker, Colt Creek, Lake Bonny