Copyright 2000-2014 by Thomas Zinneman.  All rights reserved.

Polk County

Lakeland area (Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Hunter, Lake Morton)

To travel to Lakeland from Punta Gorda, take US 17 north.  From Port Charlotte, one can take Kings Highway northeast to route 72; turn right (east) on 72 and follow it to route 70; then continue east on route 70 into Arcadia.; turn north on US 17. Take US 17 north into Bartow. In Bartow, turn left and follow US 98 into Lakeland. About a mile north of the Polk Parkway, turn left unto Edgewood.  Follow Edgewood to Cleveland Heights Blvd and turn right (north).  This Blvd ends at Lake Hollingsworth Drive.  The Yacht Club is directly across the road on the south side of the lake.  Turn right onto Lake Hollingsworth Drive, then left into the Yacht Club Parking lot.  One can walk completely around the lake on a paved path, which is approximately 3-4 miles in circumference.  

Lake Morton is about one mile north of Lake Hollingsworth and Lake Hunter is about a mile north west.  There are no direct routes.  One must use several side streets, so refer to a Lakeland map to travel to these lakes.  There is a paved path (about 1 mile in circumference) encircling Lake Morton.  At Lake Hunter, park along the eastern side, along Lake Hunter Drive.  Note:  There are no rest room facilities around these lakes.  Suggest using fast food facilities, such as McDonalds.  Bartow is a good place to stop.  Restaurants, such as Arbys, Burger King, McDonalds, and Taco Bell are located along US 98.  It is about 95 miles to Lake Hollingsworth; allow about 2 hours driving each way. 

Circle B Bar Reserve

Polk County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District purchased this 1,267-acre property in December 2000.  The primary purposes of the acquisition were to protect the valuable water and wildlife resources on the site and to restore the Banana Creek marsh system.  Formerly a cattle ranch, the Reserve is on the northwest shore of Lake Hancock.

The Circle B Bar Reserve is free to visitors and open every day from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm.  There are nine trails, ranging in length from 0.2 mile to 1.3 miles available for walking.  The Polk Nature Discovery Center is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  More information can be found by calling (863) 534-7377 or by visiting the Polk County web site at

Directions to Circle B Bar Reserve (4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland) from Charlotte County are as follows:

Travel north on US 17 to Bartow; US 98 joins up with US 17 as you approach Bartow.  In Bartow, follow US 98 to Lakeland.  Turn left off of US 17 onto Van Fleet, which is also US 98.  Follow US 98, turning right on Bartow Road, which heads north into Lakeland.  Turn right on 540 (Winter Lake Road), which is right before the 570 toll road.  Proceed east on 540 for about two miles until you see a small brown sign designating the Circle B Bar Reserve on the right.  Turn into the Reserve and follow the paved road until you reach the parking area.