Lake Alfred

Mansion at Mackay Gardens & Lakeside Preserve.

Lake Alfred is small town of 4,000 people in north-central Polk County, Florida. The town lies along U.S. 17/92, which runs north/south through the center of town. Easily a drive-though community for motorists, it is worth a stop to hike through Mackay Gardens, browse the family-owned businesses along Haines St, or maybe even learn to water ski.



Lake Alfred was established in 1883 soon after the South Florida Railroad reached the area by settlers escaping the cold of Fargo, North Dakota. The town was initially called "Fargo", but the Post Office objected over confusion with Largo. The town then took on the name Chubb and later Bartow Junction because it lay at the junction of a road leading south into the county seat Bartow. In 1913, it was named Lake Alfred after the nearby lake which, in turn, had been named for Alfred Parslow, an early settler. The Mackay estate on the north shore of Lake Rochelle was built around 1920. It was purchased in 2004 by the city and is slowly being renovated to its original glory and will hopefully be placed on the National Register of Historic Places soon.


Lake Alfred's climate is much the same as the rest of Central Florida (except coasts). Winters are mild, with highs in the 70s (21-27°C) and lows in the 50s (10-15°C). Lows in the 30s (0-5°C) are common after cold fronts and there are usually a handful of lows below freezing each winter, although that requires clear skies, so it usually warms very rapidly after sunrise (30°F at 6AM, 55°F by noon is typical). Cold fronts occasionally pass by as squall lines, so tornadoes in December or January are not unusual. Snow is rare; the last measurable snowfall was in 1977, although sleet/wintry mix fell in an unusually cold January 2010. Summers are hot and humid, with highs around 90-95°F (33-35°C) and lows around 74-78°F (23-26°C). During the summer, onshore winds from both coasts travel inland, heat up, rise and build into thunderstorms, usually along a rough line. Lying in the center of the state, the line of storms (each called a "seabreeze") often collide and become severe, with tornadoes (small EF0-1s...not like the powerful tornadoes in the Plains states), 50+ mph winds, and hail possible. Strong storms are usually preceded by cooler winds caused by the rain-cooled air (cold air sinks) rapidly flowing away from the storm. The temperature after a strong thunderstorm passes can drop from 95°F (35°C) to 75°F (24°C) and since the storms can be fairly small, you can drive 5 miles and the temperature will drop/rise 20°F (10°C) between rain-cooled and surrounding areas.

Get in

By car

Lake Alfred is located along U.S. 17/92, just north of Winter Haven and east of Auburndale and a few miles west of Haines City. County Road 557 runs north from town to Interstate 4 (exit 48); a branch of it—C.R. 557A—connects to Polk City.

By bus

Winter Haven Area Transit (W.H.A.T.) operates one route through town, along U.S. 17/92. Route 15 () runs between the Winter Haven Terminal (north side of downtown) and downtown Haines City. Adult fare is $1.50/ride with no free transfers. A day pass for adults costs $3 and is good for 24 hours. Discounts are available for students & seniors.

By air

The nearest commercial airports are Orlando International Airport (IATA: MCO) and Tampa International Airport (IATA: TPA).

Winter Haven Municipal Airport (IATA: GIF) & Jack Brown's Seaplane Base (FAA LID: F57) are located just a couple miles west of Lake Alfred off U.S. 92. They serve general aviation, but not regularly-scheduled, commercial flights.

Get around

Map of Lake Alfred.

The only effective way to get around town is with a car or on foot. The town extends just a dozen or so blocks in all directions from the intersection of Haines St and northbound U.S. 17/92, so walking is a reasonable option. The nearest car rental agencies are in Winter Haven and Auburndale.

By bus

Public transportation consists of WHAT Route 15 () along U.S. 17/92. This will only get you a mile or two within town, so at $1.50/ride isn't a practical way to get around Lake Alfred.

By taxi



Lake Rochelle boat ramp.


Public boat ramps are accessible off U.S. 17/92 for Lake Rochelle & Lake Haines.



The Winter Haven Chain of Lakes Trail is a multipurpose paved trail leading from the split/merge of U.S. 17 & U.S. 92 on the south side of town south through the northern neighborhoods of Winter Haven, ending in Central Park.

Annual events





Lake Alfred's public library.

Stay safe

Polk County Sheriff: +1 863 533-0344 (Emergency? Dial: 911)


The nearest hospital and medical clinics are in Winter Haven.

Go next

Boaters and water skiers can head south to Winter Haven, where its Chain of Lakes offers plenty of space to roam. Much more in the way of nature parks and antiques shopping can be found throughout Polk County.

Routes through Lake Alfred

Orlando Haines City  N  S  Winter Haven Punta Gorda
Tampa Auburndale  W  E  Haines City Orlando

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 20, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.