Celebrate February Strawberries
Henry was a traveling man. Instead of going to Yale to become a preacher as his grandmother pleaded, he jumped on the rambling steamboats traveling from his Connecticut hometown to New York.
PRE FED-EX DAYS
Henry’s job as an express parcels man (think pre-FedEx) eventually led him to the railroads.
When he moved to the South for his wife’s health, he noticed the great potential for railroad building.
But tragedy struck in the form of the Civil War forcing Henry to escape overseas. Upon his return, he bought bankrupted railroad companies faster than a Monopoly real estate tycoon.
THE PLANT SYSTEM
Henry’s Plant System of trains and steamers opened the broken South to trade. Now the small Florida town of Ichepucksassa could ship its winter strawberries to Tampa where they traveled to the wintery North like heart-shaped tokens of unity.
Today, Plant City Florida, renamed after the man who opened its commerce gates, Henry Plant, is the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World!
Join the celebration of strawberries at Plant City’s annual Florida Strawberry Festival and keep reading to know what to do, where to stay, and what to eat.
Where to Stay, What to See, and Go to Eat near Plant City Florida
Spending time in Florida during February can be a sweet experience, especially as the rest of the country deals with harsh wintery conditions.
The Plant City Strawberry Festival starts the end of February through the first of March. Knowing where to stay, what to see, and where to eat makes your visit more comfortable and virtually stress-free.
Keep reading for premium, moderate, and low price options to fit your budget and style.
WHERE TO STAY
• Sanlan RV & Golf Resort ﹩﹩﹩
This gated RV Park is probably the most delightful RV Park in the Lakeland area. True to its name, Sanlan is a “real resort” next to a golf course with beautiful pools, gorgeous landscaping, large oak trees, and scenic waterways. Rent a golf cart or hike eight miles of trails through the Bird & Wildlife Sanctuary where you can’t miss the nesting Ospreys.
Only 10 minutes away from abundant shopping, restaurants (see below), and other amenities.
Website: Sanlan RV & Golf Resort
Address: 3929 US Hwy 98 S, Lakeland, FL 33812
Phone: (863) 665-1726
• Florida Strawberry Festival Seminole Lot ﹩﹩
You can’t get any closer to the celebration than staying at the fairgrounds RV lot. This little-known RV Park, only open during the festival, is a short walking distance to the Strawberry Festival midway. It accommodates full hookups, pull through sites, and big rigs.
Website: Seminole Lake RV Lot
Address: 303 Lemon St, Plant City, FL 33563
Phone: (813) 752-9194 ext. 233
• Alafia River State Park ﹩
This well maintained Florida State Park, famous for its extensive bike trails, has flat paved sites, water, and electric with a dump station on the property.
Formerly a phosphate mine named Lonesome Mine, the Alafia River State Park is full of history with thirteen known cultural sites inside the park. There is also an abandoned cemetery to explore if you’re brave enough to look for it.
Website: Alafia River State Park
Address: 14326 S CR 39 Lithia FL 33547
Phone: (813) 672-5320
WHat TO SEE
• Dinosaur World﹩﹩﹩
You may think it’s odd to visit Dinosaur World since dinosaurs never roamed in Florida, but this 12 acres park exhibiting over 150 lifelike dinosaurs tucked away in a prehistoric rain forest setting is fun, educational, and impressive. Wander through the park to learn accurate information about these fascinating creatures. Search through the Dino Gem Mine for hidden treasures, sift through sand for fossils, and ask a bonafide paleontologist a question. Have a picnic under the shadow of a T-Rex. There’s fun here for everyone, even your canine family member!
Website: Dinosaur World
Address: 5145 Harvey Tew Road, Plant City, FL 33565
Phone: (813) 717-9865
• Henry B. Plant Museum ﹩﹩
Drive west on I-4 about 45 minutes for a trip to the Henry B. Plant Museum at the University of Tampa. Mr. Plant opened the 511-room Gilded Age Tampa Bay Hotel in 1891 that became a museum in 1933. Stroll through the elaborate decorated halls and rooms with a self-guided audio tour hearing colorful stories of the past making you feel as if you stepped back into time. Learn the significance of Mr. Plant’s system and how it created the Florida you know today.
Website: Henry B. Plant Museum
Address: 401 W. Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33606
Phone: (813) 254-1981
• Parkesdale Farm Market﹩
Strawberries! Strawberries! Strawberries! As in strawberry shortcake, strawberry ice cream, strawberry bread, strawberry preserves, strawberry milkshake, strawberry cookies, and . . . strawberries!
Opened in 1969 as a small fruit stand, Parkesdale Farm Market is now the largest strawberry, citrus, and produce market in Florida! Visit during the festival to sit on the strawberry throne and claim your reign over all the strawberries throughout the land.
Website: Parkesdale Farm Market
Address: 3702 W. Baker St, Plant City, FL 33563
Phone: (813) 754-2704
WHERE TO eat
• Scarpa’s Italian Restaurant ﹩﹩﹩
If you’re in the mood for Italian and a relaxing, unpretentious ambiance, Scarpa’s is the place to dine. This little gem tucked away off the road is family owned where the food comes from scratch and the service attentive.
Be sure to order the chocolate dessert with meringue topped with, of course, fresh local strawberries!
Website: Scarpa’s Italian Restaurant
Address: 1831 East Edgewood Drive, Lakeland, FL 33803
Phone: (863) 937-8940
• Fred’s Market Restaurant ﹩﹩
Fred’s Market Restaurant, established in 1954 by Elton and Evelyn Johnson, is a Plant City tradition. Visit for the classic Southern-style comfort food. Stay for the down-home atmosphere. Choose the buffet or order off the menu. There’s something for everyone, and you won’t leave hungry.
Website: Fred’s Market Restaurant
Address: 1401 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Plant City, FL 33563
Phone: (813) 752-7763
• S & L Restaurant﹩
This quintessential American diner is perfect for a quick breakfast or lunch. The portions are generous; the prices are low, and the service is superb. Just a hop, skip and jump from the Sanlan Resort.
Website: S & L Restaurant
Address: 2915 S Combee Road, Eaton Park, FL 33840
Phone: (863) 665-0731
FEBRUARY IS FOR STRAWBERRIES
Being that February is Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month; celebrating the strawberry at the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World during Plant City’s annual Florida Strawberry Festival is a perfect winter destination for full time RVers.
No matter if you stay at an RV Resort, like Sanlan, or park in the festival’s parking lot; dine at a 4-star restaurant or have a picnic at Dinosaur World; visit Henry B. Plant Museum or go to the farmer’s market; there are many ways to celebrate the strawberry in February in Plant City, Florida!
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