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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Lake Wales, Florida

This small college town of about 12,000 in central Florida, near Kissimee and Winter Haven, is Lake Wales.  People describe it as having a very charming little downtown representing old Florida at the time of the land boom of the 1920's. Its nickname is the "friendliest small town." There are 2 colleges in town, Warner University and Polk State College.

Lakes Wales has a beautiful Historic Corridor where you can visit the restored Rhodesbilt Arcade, The Depot Museum and The Scenic Theater. Many of these buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Plus you will find plenty of interesting shops, and art galleries. Chalet Suzanne is a fabulous restaurant in a former Spanish Mission Church.  Speaking of churches, you will find all denominations represented here.

Where to Retire in Lake Wales and Home Prices

Choose from 1920's Mediterranean Revival estates, lake front properties, active adult and golf communities, gated townhomes and more. Lake Ashton is a giant active adult community in Lake Wales (also see link at top left).
Home values in Lake Wales have fluctuated, with the median sale price $219,154 in early 2022,according to

What Is Special about Lake Wales

Charming downtown, relatively warm winters. The shrine of Ste Anne des Lacs, Bok Tower Gardens, Chalet Suzanne, and Spook Hill (a famous optical illusion).

What Is Not Special about Lake Wales

It is a small town; summers are hot; closest airport is over 50 miles away

Climate and Physical Environment

Lake Wales is in a lake district almost exactly in the center of Florida. Kissimmee is to the east.  January average temperature is about 60.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Bok Tower has gardens and hosts concerts. Nearby Winter Haven and Orlando have more culture.  Lake Wales has a library. Tampa is not too far away. Having 2 small colleges in town does provide some culture.


Crime rate is a little above the national average.

Medical Facilities

Winter Haven has a hospital about 12 miles away.


Winter Haven has an AMTRAK station. For airports the closest big ones are Tampa (54 miles) or Orlando.

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