pros and cons of living in winter haven fl

Located in central Florida, Winter Haven has approximately 68,000 acres and is on Lake Istokpoga. The city is also close to popular fishing spots, including the Lake Range and Lake Daughtrey.

If you’re not a fishing enthusiast, don’t worry. Winter Haven in Florida has plenty to offer its residents and newcomers. The city has a layered history, and it’s ideally located for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

Like any other city in the US, there are pros and cons to living in each Florida city. You’ll be able to read about the pros and cons of living in Winter Haven, Florida.

Quick Pros

  • Small Town Vibes
  • Excellent location
  • Excellent for nature lovers
  • Low cost of living
  • Bright future
  • Rich heritage
  • Close to the Gulf Coast

Quick Cons

  • Very little entertainment
  • Lack of Technology Opportunities
  • Limited Transportation
  • High crime rates
  • High Property Taxes

Pros of living in Winter Haven, FL.

Winter Haven, Florida, is a city that has a rich history that can still be seen in the city’s downtown area. The city’s heritage is one of the many positives about living in Winter Haven.

Small Town Vibes

With more than 41 000 people living in Winter Haven, you’d be surprised to know that this city has a small-town feel to it. The town consists of 40 square miles with plenty of quiet neighborhoods. The city has been known for its relaxed environment.

Approximately 20 years ago, the city’s downtown area was considered a ghost town. However, the area hosts thriving shops and restaurants.

Today, Winter Haven’s tiny downtown area has some walkable streets and charming two-story buildings that make you feel like you’re strolling down a traditional main street.

Excellent location

Another excellent reason to move to Winter Haven, FL, is its perfect location. Winter Haven is an hour away from Walt Disney World. This short drive means that you and your family can take a day trip and have some fun.

The city is approximately 1.5 hours away from the city of Orlando. This means that you can take a quick drive for a day or weekend trip to the town. Other attractions nearby include: Ponce De Leon Spring and Bok Tower Gardens.

With Winter Haven located on Interstate-275, many of the city’s employment opportunities are in high demand. The city’s location is also excellent for workers. Historically, the city’s residents have been able to find work, even during tough times like the Great Recession.

Excellent for nature lovers

Whether you’re a rugged outdoorsman (or outdoors-person) or if you just enjoy relaxing near a lake, then Winter Haven is perfect for you. The city is renowned for the 50 lakes scattered throughout New Haven.

Because of the many lakes, there are plenty of restaurants right on the lake, boat docks, and waterslides. All of these give the city a picturesque boating town vibe.

If you enjoy hiking and cycling, the city has plenty of trails that you can explore. Iron Mountain isn’t far from Winter Haven, one of Florida’s highest peaks. There are also the Cypress Gardens in Legoland and Bok Tower Gardens.

Low cost of living

Not only is Winter Haven close to unique locations, but also it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to live there. The city’s total living costs for Winter Haven are 12% lower than the rest of the country. This figure includes housing costs which are approximately 30% lower than the US.

According to, the average home listing price is approximately $290 000. This is while the average selling price is roughly $275 000. The average price listing per square foot is roughly $167 per square foot.

Bright future

According to Strategistico, the city of Winter Haven was ranked as number ten for the top ten “fastest-growing cities in Florida.” Since 2010, the city’s population has grown by 30%.

The city’s growth means more chances of more money being invested in Winter Haven. The new investment will most likely attract new services and businesses to the town, resulting in new employment opportunities.

Rich heritage

Not only does the city have a bright future, but Winter Haven has a rich history that stretches back to the 19th century. The city’s history can be seen in Winter Haven’s downtown area with its classical vibe, where you can spend an afternoon shopping with friends.

Close to the Gulf Coast

If you enjoy the beach, don’t worry! The Gulf Coast is only one hour away. There are also plenty of lakes around Winter Haven where you can spend days fishing and boating. This city is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to spend time on the water or just enjoy the tranquil landscape.

Cons of living in Winter Haven, FL.

Sadly, when moving to a new city, you can’t just focus on the positives. To make an informed decision, you need to know about the cons of living in Winter Haven, listed below.

Very little entertainment

One of the big negatives about living in Winter Haven, FL, is that the city doesn’t offer much entertainment, such as festivals, restaurants, or anything similar. The city has a more “low-key” feel, which might not suit everyone.

So if you’re looking for a new, warm city where you can retire, then Winter Haven could be the city for you. But if you’re looking for a city with a fast-paced lifestyle, then this city might not be for you.

Lack of Technology Opportunities

The COVID-19 forced many companies and workers to change the way they work. As a result of this change, many people work from home. If you’re one of the many people working from home, then Winter Haven might not be the city for you.

Limited Transportation

Winter Haven’s public transport system leaves a lot to be desired. The lack of public transport in the city means that if you don’t have a car, you will have difficulty getting to work or just anywhere in the city.

High crime rates

Even though Winter Haven is a safe city, crime still rears its ugly head. Winter Haven isn’t unique when it comes to having a crime problem. But the city does have a higher crime rate than most cities in Florida.

According to Macrotrends, the crime rate in Winter Haven in 2018 increased by 15.91% in one year. If you don’t invest in a home security system or take precautions, Winter Haven can be an unsafe place to live.

High Property Taxes

Sadly, despite the low cost of living in Winter Haven, the city has high property taxes. The high taxes will make a living in Winter Haven a bit more expensive than you might expect.

Who lives in Winter Haven, FL?

In Winter Haven, there are plenty of young couples who want to start a family. There are also young adults who are looking to start their lives in a new city.

The average age of residents in Winter Haven is approximately 44 years old. The typical family in Winter Haven usually includes three to four people in a family. The average income per household is roughly $46 669 per year.

According to Data USA, Winter Haven had a population of just 41 000 people in 2019. The population increased by 4.125 between 2018 and 2019. The average household income increased from $44 397 to $46 669 per year.

The city’s average property value in Winter Haven, FL, was approximately $154 100 with a homeownership rate of 59.4%. The average commute to work for residents was about 26 minutes.

More than 90% of Winter Haven residents are US citizens. The five most significant ethnic groups in Winter Haven include the following:

  • 54.6% White (Non-Hispanic)
  • 24.9% African American or Black (Non-Hispanic)
  • 13.3% White (Hispanic)
  • 1.79% Asian

For prospective university students, the two largest universities in the city are Ridge Technical College with 325 degrees and Polk State College with 2619 college degrees.

FAQ about Winter Haven, FL.

There are plenty looking to move to Winter Haven, and they’ve probably asked the same questions you’re asking about the city. Below, we’ve answered some of these questions.

What is the average rent cost in Winter Haven, Florida?

Compared to other cities, the cost of rent in Winter Haven is low. So you’re looking to rent a house or an apartment, Winter Haven might be the city for you.

What is the biggest expense of living in Winter Haven, Florida?

The most considerable expense for living in Winter Haven is the property taxes. The property taxes will increase the generation cost of living in this city. So you should include this in your budget when considering living in Winter Haven.

Where is the best place to live in Winter Haven, FL?

There are different opinions on the “best” place to live in Winter Haven. So the “best” place to live in Winter Haven would be based on your personal needs and what you need to settle down.

What are some safety precautions I should take before moving to Winter Haven?

To protect yourself against crime, you need to take some precautions. You can participate in a local workshop that teaches residents how to defend themselves. Also, be sure to invest in a secure home security system. Another precaution you should take is ensuring that you have insurance coverage and fire extinguishers.

How safe is it in Winter Haven?

Even though Winter Haven has a high crime rate, the city’s crime rate is still low compared to some other small towns. However, it would be best to take some proper precautions to ensure your safety.

What are the best schools in Winter Haven, FL?

Winter Haven doesn’t have plenty of options for private or public schools in the city. The college closest to the town is Polk State College. The college has plenty of campuses throughout the city.

Where can I find the best restaurants and entertainment in Winter Haven?

Winter Haven doesn’t have much nightlife and entertainment for its residents and visitors. However, there are a few things and places that locals can enjoy. The city has some theaters and performance venues.

Is there any public transport in Winter Haven?

The city of Winter Haven doesn’t have an excellent public transport system. So if you don’t have your own car or access to someone else’s car, you could be stuck.

Where is the nearest airport in Winter Haven?

The nearest major airports to Winter Haven are Tampa or Orlando. Both of these airports are an hour away from the city. This location might make traveling to and from the town a bit challenging.

How hot does it get in Winter Haven?

The summer season in Winter Haven can be a scorcher! The average temperature in the city is approximately 90 degrees. However, the city doesn’t get too humid because there is very little rainfall.

How cold does it get in Winter Haven?

Despite the winters being relatively mild in Winter Haven, most nights can still be cold. In some cases, temperatures can drop below freezing, leading to ice forming on the roads.

Final thoughts about living in Winter Haven?

Winter Haven is a unique city that combines affordability with a charming, small-town feel. But just like any other city, Winter Haven does have its problems. These issues include a lack of public transport, high property taxes, and a high crime rate, among others.

If you’re considering moving to Winter Haven or if you know someone who wants to live in Winter Haven, it’s best to weigh your options.

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Filip Poutintsev, the Chief Editor of Honest Pros and Cons, is a long term business writer, who has been featured in various online publications such as Forbes, CoinTelegraph and HackerNoon. Now he writes exclusively for Honest Pros and Cons.