Are you searching for outdoor activities to do with your family this summer? I know we are! It seems that most of the things we do in Summer 2020 will be outdoor activities for kids. Outside adventures are a great way to enjoy a change of scenery while staying safe.

We are still practicing social distancing and only choosing activities where we can stay a safe distance from other people. Check out these things to do outdoors in Lakeland where you can enjoy the fresh air and open spaces and let the kids have fun.

Outdoor Activities in Lakeland Canoe Kayak

1) Paddle the day away in a kayak or canoe

Floating down a river or exploring the coast of Florida in a kayak is the perfect way to spend a summer day. With plenty of lakes, rivers, coastlines, and springs only 1-2 hours from Lakeland, we found 15 amazing spots to rent a kayak or book a tour, including 3 right here in the Lakeland area.

2) Go for a Nature Hike – Free

Explore a new trail or visit your favorite shaded hiking spot. We’ve got a separate list of outdoor hiking trails in Lakeland including local favorites spots like Circle B, Holloway Park, Colt Creek State Park, and Lakeland Highlands Scrub.

3) Play a round of disc golf (Frisbee Golf) – Free

We recently discovered disc golf and LOVED it! We played at Hidden Oaks Disc Golf Course at Loyce E. Harpe Park.  Follow the road as far back as you can drive to find the course. Everyone who can throw a frisbee can play disc golf. I know there are official Frisbee Golf rules, but we did our own thing with the only object to get the frisbee to the end target. One important thing we learned the hard way is that everyone needs their own frisbee.

Outdoor Activities in Lakeland Frisbee Golf

4) Cool down at a Splash Pad – Free

The Winter Haven Splash Pad is currently open. Get updates on when Lakeland’s Splash Pad will reopen, as well as a list of other places to play in the water in the Tampa area, in our Splash Pad Guide.

5) Go Swimming

Pools in Lakeland, Winter Haven, and Lake Eva in Haines City are open for recreational swimming. Get the details in our Swimming Pools Guide.

6) Enjoy a round of mini-golf

Family Fun Center in Lakeland has an 18 hole outdoor miniature golf course with a lake and waterfall. Golfers of ALL ages will enjoy competing on each of the par 2 holes along the way.

Outdoor Activities in Lakeland Mini Golf

7) See an outdoor movie

Silvermoon Drive-In in Lakeland is running classic movies this summer until new releases resume. Take chairs or a blanket, or simply pop your back hatch, and enjoy a movie at the drive-in. Check their website for this week’s movie schedule.

8) Play on a shaded playground – Free

In the summer heat, we prefer to visit Lakeland’s Shaded Playgrounds.

9) Go on a Drive-Thru Safari

At Safari Wilderness in Lakeland, you can get up close and personal with llamas, zebras, watsui cattle, water buffalo, and more. For a limited time they are offering a guided drive-thru safari tour where you can see and feed exotic animals from the comfort of your own vehicle.

Outdoor Activities in Lakeland Safari Wilderness

10) Let your furry friend run free at a dog park – Free

Both you and your dog can enjoy fresh air at one of 6 local dog parks.

11) Go on a picnic – Free (except the food)

Looking for a place to have a picnic? Pick one from our list of 10 Places to Enjoy a Picnic in Lakeland.

12) Dig for shark teeth – Free

Visit the Mulberry Phosphate Museum to dig through the rock pile and look for shark’s teeth and fossils. Be sure to take a small shovel for digging, as well as a towel or something to sit/kneel on. It is not shaded, but you go early morning or later in the day, the dragline bucket does create some shady areas.

Outdoor Activities Mulberry Phosphate Museum

13) Try your hand at Geocaching – Free

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices (aka Smart Phones). Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Learn more on

14) Visit a Farmer’s Market – Free to browse

Find fresh produce and local goods at one of the weekly Farmers Markets in Polk County. Not just limited to food, many of them also have handmade items and other unique booths to browse. Learn more about the Lakeland Farmer’s Market in Downtown Lakeland or one of the other markets in Bartow, Winter Haven, and Lake Wales.

(Although the Farmer’s Market is outdoors, it may not always be possible to stay 6 feet apart, especially if you’re making a purchase.)

15) Explore Bok Tower Gardens and Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden

Bok Tower is one of the most beautiful places in Polk County. Kids can explore in Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden, then take a stroll to see the variety of flowers and vegitation, and be sure to get a photo in front of the Singing Tower.

Outdoor Activities in Lakeland Bok Tower

16) Fly a kite – Free

Use our list of Open Fields and Parks to find a large open field to fly a kite.

17) Learn to Paddleboard or go on a Paddleboard Tour

Paddleboard Winter Haven is ready to teach you how to use a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard). Lessons and tours are available on the Chain of Lakes in Winter Haven.

18) Learn to wakeboard or improve your shredding skills

Elite Cable Park is a wakeboarding and water sports park located in Auburndale. All activities are run on an overhead cable system {instead of behind a boat} and equipment is included in many of their packages. Their “Get Up Guarantee” includes one-on-one coaching AND a guarantee that you’ll be up and riding in no time. This package includes gear, a 15-minute lesson, up to 4 hours of riding time, and your visit free if you don’t get up. Perfect for first-timers or anyone who hasn’t been on the water in a few years.

Outdoor Activities in Lakeland Wakeboard Park

19) Play a game of football, soccer or throw a Frisbee in an open field – Free

Lakeland has plenty of Open Fields and Parks Where You Can Play Outdoors.

20) Have a family paintball war

See who can be the last man or woman standing on the paintball field. Local options include Central Florida Paintball, Off the Wall Adventures, and Mark ‘Em All Paintball.

21) Take an airboat tour

Just a short drive from Lakeland, you can see Old Florida on an airboat tour. Options include Captain Fred’s Airboat Tours, Alligator Cove Airboat Tours, and Alligator’s Unlimited Airboat Tours.

Outdoor Activities in Lakeland Lake Hollingsworth

22) Walk around Lake Morton – Free

A trip to Lake Morton will show you why the swan is Lakeland’s famous icon! Lake Morton is a great place to see a variety of birds, ducks, and graceful swans. At only 1 mile around with a wide grass bank, your entire family can enjoy a leisurely stroll.

23) Walk around Lake Hollingsworth – Free

Can your kids handle a longer distance? At 3 miles around, Lake Hollingsworth takes approximately 45 minutes to walk the full paved trail around the lake.

24) Play like a Pirate – Free

The Rotary Playground at Hernando’s Landing on Lake Parker has a huge pirate ship as the main play structure! Other themed playgrounds include Common Ground (Fire Truck / Fire Station) and Woodlake Park (Train).

Rotary Playground Lake Parker Lakeland Pirate Ship

25) Stop and smell the roses – Free

Stroll through Hollis Garden and learn about the variety of flowers and plants there. Opens at 10am, closed Mondays.

26) Walk the boardwalk – Free

Head to Peterson Park off Cleveland Heights for a short shaded boardwalk hike with views of the lake.

27) Explore a nearby park in Hillsborough County

I grew up going to Alderman’s Ford in Plant City and still remember walking the paved trail with views of the river. A short boardwalk is also available. Use the Hillsborough County website to see other local parks. Most have $2 admission per vehicle.

Happy Summer!

Lakeland Summer Activities for Kids

Be sure to check out our Summer Fun Guide for Summer Camps, Things to Do Around Lakeland, Things to Do at Home, Open Playgrounds, Places to Play Outdoors, FREE Bowling, Swim Lessons, 4th of July Events, Reading programs, Online Camps, and much more!