Lake Wales, known as the “Crown Jewel of the Ridge,” is a wonderful little town bursting with pride, and for good reason. Located just southeast of LEGOLAND® Florida Resort in Winter Haven, Lake Wales is home to Bok Tower Gardens, built atop Iron Mountain, one of the highest points in Florida at 295 feet above sea level, and Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo, the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi River.
Located near the very center of the Florida peninsula, Lake Wales offers visitors beautiful views with miles of rolling hills though citrus groves. The city is accessible by U.S. Highway 27 and State Road 60.
Our 20 Favorite Things To Do in Lake Wales
- Explore Bok Tower Gardens, a national historic landmark, and enjoy lunch at the Blue Palmetto Café as well as an afternoon carillon concert.
- Glamp in a Luxe TeePee or Tent at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo.
- Go antiquing at Relics Reclaimed, Inglenook Antiques & Collectibles, and All About Antiques.
- Discover why Crazy Fish Bar and Grill has been rated among the Top 5 Most Popular Restaurants in Florida by Urban Spoon.
- Glide through the pristine Florida landscape in Lake Kissimmee State Park on a guided Segway tour with Back Trail Adventures of Florida.
- Stop by Florida’s Natural Growers Grove House. It’s one of our favorite gift shops in the county, offering an array of citrus-related gifts, food, books and more.
- Enjoy a championship rodeo every Saturday night at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo, where you’ll watch professional cowboys and cowgirls compete in trick riding, barrel racing and bull riding.
- Hire a fishing guide and catch largemouth bass and black crappie on Lake Kissimmee.
- Tour Pinewood Estate, a 20 room Mediterranean style mansion at Bok Tower Gardens. Go back in December to experience Pinewood’s annual Holiday Home Tour.
- Schedule an airboat tour with Alligator Cove Tours or Alligators Unlimited Airboat Tours.
- Get your own aerial view of Bok Tower Gardens while jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at Skydive Lake Wales. I promise, it’s not that scary and you can’t beat the views.
- Go birding at SUMICA Wildlife Management Area. Sounds of warblers fill the air and be on the lookout for herons, sandhill cranes, wild turkey, and the cacacara.
- Stop by the Lake Wales History Museum and learn about the history of Lake Wales, the railroads in central Florida, and find out why the area is known as the Lake Wales Ridge.
- Florida’s cowboy heritage comes alive in Lake Wales! Experience a living history demonstration at Lake Kissimmee State Park’s Cow Camp.
- Formerly a Catholic church, the Polk State Lake Wales Arts Center is a magnificent building. Visitors can tour the “mission style” building, see rotating art exhibits, plus attend concerts and workshops.
- Experience Cherry Pocket Steak & Seafood Shak, where the chefs cook up signature dishes like as oysters, crab and alligator, all prepared fresh once ordered. (Experience = they have an outhouse!)
- Check out Camp Mack, A Guy Harvey Lodge, Marina & RV Resort, where you can fish, camp, eat, take a nature tour, go on an airboat ride, and more. And if you’re feeling romantic, they offer sunset cruises.
- Explore Tiger Creek Preserve with its hardwood swamps, hammocks, oak scrub and wiregrass habitat in search of rare plants and animals.
- Dine at L’incontro Restaurant, Norbys Steak & Seafood, Manny’s Original Chophouse, or Egg House – all highly rated restaurants on TripAdvisor.
- Visit Spook Hill. Park your car at the white line, put it in neutral, and experience the mysterious force that seems to defy gravity.
The Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce can provide additional information about the area.