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Florida is home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes and vibrant communities in the United States. Offering a unique blend of tranquility and activity, one county stands out as a haven for various walks of life—Hardee County. From sun-drenched landscapes to a rich cultural tapestry, it’s an under-the-radar gem that deserves more recognition.

If you are contemplating a move, searching for your next vacation spot, or just looking to expand your knowledge of Florida, Hardee County is worth a closer look. Here are the top 10 cities within this dynamic county and what makes each one a special address waiting for you to explore.

Best Cities In and Near Hardee County, Florida

Bowling Green

Nuzzled in the heart of Hardee County, Bowling Green is a community known for its picturesque countryside and small-town charm. With a rich history and well-preserved Southern architecture, it’s the quintessential definition of ‘Old Florida’.

Attractions and Amenities

  • Paynes Creek Historic State Park: A must-see for history buffs, the park includes a visitor center, picnic area, and two walking trails where you can immerse in Florida’s past.
  • Streamsong Resort: Golf aficionados rejoice at one of the country’s most celebrated golf destinations with three unique courses designed by some of the biggest names in golf.
  • Oak Heights School: A historic schoolhouse turned community center is the hub of local activities, from seasonal festivals to farmers’ markets.

Ideal for…

Families and retirees who long for peaceful surroundings. The city’s lush outdoors and community spirit make it a perfect retreat for nature lovers and anyone seeking a simpler way of life.


Wauchula dares you to wander off the beaten path and into its warm, welcoming streets. It’s endearing and approachable, yet filled with the exciting air of discovery around every corner.

Attractions and Amenities

  • Hardee County Wildlife Management Area: For nature connoisseurs, it’s a sprawling wildlife refuge offering primitive camping, hunting, and birdwatching.
  • Wauchula Municipal Golf Course: Designed by the legendary Donald Ross, this 18-hole public golf course is an oasis for golfers of all levels.
  • Devil’s Garden Mud Club: An off-road paradise for ATV enthusiasts, it’s the playground for those seeking some adrenaline-powered adventure.

Ideal for…

Outdoor enthusiasts and sporty types who appreciate the rugged beauty of nature. Wauchula gleams with opportunities for off-road escapades, sporting competitions, and wildlife sightings.

Zolfo Springs

Zolfo Springs is a town where peace has found a permanent home. Its idyllic pace of life and pastoral scenery have made it a sanctuary for those seeking solace and natural beauty.

Attractions and Amenities

  • Cracker Trail Museum: Immerse yourself in the region’s rich pioneer history through a fascinating collection of artifacts and exhibits.
  • Pioneer Park: A tranquil oasis where locals come to walk, picnic, and enjoy its well-kept playgrounds, ensuring the small-town vibe prevails.
  • Parrott Avenue Diner: No small town is complete without its local diner, and this one serves up the kind of comfort food that feels like a warm hug.

Ideal for…

Those who value unhurried living without compromising the richness of community and a serene environment, making it an ideal haven for artists, writers, and retirees.

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Ona may be one of the lesser-known cities in Hardee County, but it packs a punch despite its small size. It’s the epitome of rural charm, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere that invites all.

Attractions and Amenities

  • Jim’s Bicycle Shop: The best spot to rent or fix your bicycle for a leisurely ride across the vast, flat landscape of Ona, popular for its cyclist-friendly roads.
  • Ona Speedway: For the adrenaline junkies, this speedway promises an exciting schedule of racing events that’ll get your heart pounding.
  • Ona Post Office: One of the oldest in the country, this post office is an attraction in itself, serving as a historical reminder of the nation’s postal heritage.

Ideal for…

Cyclists, outdoorsy types, and anyone who treasures a tight-knit community setting and an unfiltered connection to the rich Florida countryside.

Fort Green

Prepare to be charmed by Fort Green’s rich history and the sense of community that’s woven tightly into its fabric. With its friendly locals and verdant surroundings, it’s a haven for escapists.

Attractions and Amenities

  • Peace River Campground: An ideal spot for camping, it provides access to canoeing, fossil hunting, and stargazing opportunities that keep the adventurous occupied.
  • Fort Green Grocery: An inconspicuous little store that’s more than meets the eye. It’s a gathering place where you can catch up on local gossip and fortify yourself with the best sandwiches around.
  • Fort Green Trailhead: A gateway to the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, Fort Green invites birdwatchers to observe native and migratory species in their natural habitat.

Ideal for…

Couples looking to rekindle that spark, families eager to reconnect with nature, and anyone in search of a tight community where everyday life feels like an escape.

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Cedar Grove

Don’t be fooled by its diminutive size—Cedar Grove is a city that stands tall in terms of its offerings. Its laidback ambiance is perfect for those wishing to tap into its quiet energy.

Attractions and Amenities

  • Cedar Grove Elevator Trail: A former rail line, now a 14-mile trail perfectly suited for a leisurely jog or a quiet ride, shaded by the cooling canopy of trees.
  • Cedar Grove Market: A charming little market that stocks everything you need with the kind of hospitality and service that only a small-town business can offer.
  • Cedar Grove Church: The spiritual center of the community where all are welcome, a beacon of faith and fellowship in the city’s heart.

Ideal for…

Homebuyers and retirees seeking a tranquil lifestyle, families desiring a strong sense of community, and anyone who desires a home where neighbors are more like family.

Bradley Junction

Bradley Junction’s name speaks of connection and unity, and these values are deeply rooted in the city. It’s a thriving hub of activities and opportunities wrapped in a lush verdancy.

Attractions and Amenities

  • Cotton Fields Golf Club: A championship golf course designed around natural wetlands, providing both a challenge and a scenic escape.
  • Bradley Junction Park: A community favorite, the park features walking trails, a playground, and picnic pavilions that make it the perfect spot for both solitary strolls and family gatherings.
  • Bradley Junction Convenience Store: Much more than a place to pick up your essentials, it’s a local institution that serves as both a break stop for travelers and a meeting point for neighbors.

Ideal for…

Golf enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those who thrive in a bustling but coherent environment balanced against the calming backdrop of Braden River’s serenity.

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Joshua may be one of the youngest communities in Hardee County, but it makes up for its age with a fresh and spirited soul. It’s an intriguing mix of new beginnings in an age-old landscape.

Attractions and Amenities

  • Joshua Community Cemetery: A solemn spot where the past of Hardee County is buried and remembered, a testament to the importance of knowing the history of your home.
  • Joshua Volunteer Fire Department: A crucial service in any city, this department is another example of the community spirit present in every corner of Joshua.
  • Joshua Assembly of God Church: A modern church with ancient roots, a place for spiritual nourishment and fellowship for the diverse community it serves.

Ideal for…

Young families looking to settle down and grow, people eager to have a stake in building a community, and those who enjoy the uniqueness of a place still in the making.

Lemon Grove

Even something as simple as a lemon grove can evoke a myriad of emotions and memories. Lemon Grove is a peaceful retreat from busy life, where even the air feels refreshingly untainted.

Attractions and Amenities

  • Lemon Grove Community Park: A small but cherished space where the community comes together for picnics, little league games, and to escape under the shade of the eponymous citrus.
  • Lemon Grove Market: The friendly staff and carefully selected offerings here make shopping a personal, pleasant experience.
  • Wetlands Preserve: Just a stone’s throw away, this conservation area offers a serene trail with the chance to observe the intricate balance of a Florida wetland ecosystem.

Ideal for…

Those who seek quietude and simplicity. Lemon Grove’s amenities cater to families who enjoy a straightforward lifestyle amid the splendor of a natural setting.

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Bearing the same name as its more celebrated southern counterpart, Naples in Hardee County is a microcosm of peace and simple beauty. It’s the ideal spot for relaxation and reflection.

Attractions and Amenities

  • Freedom Cemetery: A somber yet important reminder of the sacrifices made by the veterans of Hardee County, this site offers a tranquil space for contemplation.
  • Naples Depot Museum: A delightful showcase of the area’s rich railroad history, with exhibits that elevate what could have been a passing curiosity into a deep interest.
  • The Broadway Diner: This diner holds a mirror to the frequenters, reflecting the character of the city with its no-fuss service and delicious comfort food.

Ideal for…

Retirees longing for a place to call home and those who appreciate the little things—a beautiful sunset, a local history lesson, a warm smile from a neighbor. Naples in Hardee County is a slice of “old Florida” at its finest.

Frequently Asked Questions about Moving to Hardee County, FL

Is Hardee County, FL prone to natural disasters, including sinkholes?

Yes, like much of Florida, Hardee County can be prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes and tropical storms. While sinkholes are less common in Hardee County compared to other parts of Florida, it’s always advisable to check for geological survey reports when purchasing property.

What is the job market like in Hardee County, FL?

The job market in Hardee County is diverse, with agriculture playing a significant role in the local economy. There’s also growth in retail, healthcare, and education sectors, providing opportunities for employment in various fields.

How are the schools in Hardee County, FL?

Hardee County offers a range of educational institutions, from public schools to private and charter options, providing quality education to students. The community is supportive of its schools, often contributing to programs and facilities.

What kind of recreational activities are available in Hardee County, FL?

Hardee County is rich in natural beauty and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, bird watching, fishing, and golfing. There are also community events, parks, and recreational facilities that cater to families and individuals looking for leisure and entertainment.

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How is the healthcare system in Hardee County, FL?

The healthcare system in Hardee County includes hospitals, clinics, and private practices offering a range of medical services to residents. The community is also served by specialized medical facilities in nearby areas.

What is the transportation system like in Hardee County, FL?

Hardee County offers public transportation options, including bus services, that connect major areas within the county. However, owning a vehicle is recommended for convenience and access to broader areas.

Are there any community events in Hardee County, FL?

Yes, Hardee County is home to various community events throughout the year, including festivals, farmers’ markets, and cultural celebrations, fostering a strong sense of community and belonging among residents.

What kind of housing is available in Hardee County, FL?

Housing in Hardee County ranges from historic homes to modern constructions, with options available for every budget. The area also offers land for those interested in building custom homes.

How safe is Hardee County, FL?

Hardee County boasts a low crime rate and a friendly, tight-knit community, making it a safe place to live. Neighbors tend to look out for each other, contributing to the overall safety and security of the area.

Helpful Tip: Florida is known to be prone to sinkhole issues. Check the Hardee County sinkhole map for more details

Conclusion: Is Hardee County, A Good Place to Live in?

In sum, if you’re on the hunt for a new zip code and yearning for the charm of a tight-knit community, Hardee County, FL, might just be your real estate soulmate. It’s like hitting the jackpot for those who cherish the simple life, safety, and a dash of local festivities. With living costs that won’t make your wallet weep, a job market as diverse as the breakfast menu at The Broadway Diner, and schools that make the grade, it’s a prime spot for putting down roots.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast eager to mingle with the wildlife or a history buff ready to time travel at the Naples Depot Museum, there’s a corner in Hardee County with your name on it. And hey, with neighbors who probably bake a mean apple pie and actually give a hoot about your day, it’s hard not to feel at home.

Sure, you’ll need to keep an eye on the weather report now and then, but a little hurricane prep is a small price to pay for paradise. Long story short, Hardee County is more than just a good place to live—it’s a community where you can thrive.

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