Winter Haven, Fla., is a unique community with a diverse economy and an abundance of recreational, social and special events. The area is the perfect place to raise a family, but it also an ideal location for retirees or young professionals seeking a laid-back atmosphere with the resources of a big metropolis. Centrally located between Tampa and Orlando, the city has the opportunities of two of the biggest tourism cities in the area for employment and weekend recreation. The Historic Bok Sanctuary and Fantasy of Flight Air Museum are both just minutes away from the city center. Boasting 50 beautiful lakes, 24 of which are connected by a canal system built in the 1920s, water activities are prominent in many residents' lives.
Winter Haven apartments for rent are surrounded by both historical and natural beauty. The gentle rolling hills of Polk County add to the tropical elegance of the community that attracts so many people to the region. Between 1990 and 2004, the population of Winter Haven remained fairly stable, but it experienced a big spike between 2004 and 2007, when the population jumped from 28,000 to 32,404. Since then, the population has been on a steady incline, and today more than 34,200 people live in the area, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.
After visiting the area and falling in love with the beautiful climate and landscape, veterans of the Indian War began relocating to the area now known as Winter Haven. One family, the Thornhills, arrived in the 1860s and several others followed shortly after. The fertile land of central Florida gave settlers the opportunity to grow strawberries, guavas, tomatoes, peaches, peppers and eggplant. In 1885, the first mercantile was built, and at the same time the railroad was being constructed.
By 1900, the population grew to 400, and citrus groves, a school, post office, real estate office, social club, church and more popped up to create a true sense of community. The area was named by one of the early settlers because of its ideal climate during the winter months, and Winter Haven was incorporated by 1911. During the Florida boom of the 1920s, a major influx of residents came to the area and the first Publix food store opened its doors in 1930. By 1936, tourism was a vital source for the economy as people were learning of the beauty in the area, especially Cypress Gardens.
In Winter Haven, the top industries are healthcare, technology, agribusiness, distribution and tourism. The economic development of Winter Haven continues each day. Some of the top employers include CSX Corporation, a leading transportation company; Hanson Pipe & Products, a manufacturing and distributing facility; and Winter Haven Hospital.
Students living in apartments in Winter Haven have plenty of opportunities for post-secondary education in and around the city. Polk State College, Barry University, Ridge College Career Center, Destiny Christian University, Southeastern University and University of South Florida are just a few of the options in the region.
Living in Winter Haven is affordable for many different budgets. According to Best Places, the overall cost of living is 15 points lower than the national average, food is 3 points higher and utilities are 6 points lower. The average cost of rentals in Winter Haven is just as affordable. According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average cost of an apartment is $772.
In Winter Haven, community events are planned for nearly every week of the year. From annual festivals like the Halloween Harvest Festival, Autumn Arts and Crafts Bazaar and Festivals of Speed to Fall Fun Day and Trunk Sale, Carols in the Park and downtown Lakeland ZombieFest, there is something for everyone.
The family friendly community has several festive events around the year including Santa Calling, Carols in the Park, Polk County Family Week and Ghouls' Night Out. One of the most beloved attractions in Winter Haven is Legoland Florida, which features more than 50 rides, shows and attractions.
If you are looking for an apartment for rent or a house rental in Winter Haven, Fla., search for rental properties at Rent.com®.