Introduction to Lake Wales, Florida

Lake Wales, Florida, in Polk county, is 24 miles E of Lakeland, Florida (center to center) and 53 miles E of Tampa, Florida. The city is part of the Lakeland-Winter Haven metropolitan statistical area (MSA).

Lake Wales History

Sidney Irving Wailes surveyed this area in 1879. He changed the name of the Watts Lake to Lake Wailes. The city itself was founded near this lake in 1911-12. The Lake Wales Land Company planned it. A railroad was built by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1925. It joined the cities of Haines and Everglades, and a depot was established at Lake Wales.

Lake Wales and Nearby Attractions

  • Lake Wales Public Library.
  • Lake Wales Arts Center.
  • Depot Museum.
  • Historic Bok Sanctuary.
  • Florida Skydiving Center.
  • Lake Wales Little Theater.

Things To Do In Lake Wales

Lake Wales is located in the rolling hills of Polk County. It has numerous antique shops and art galleries. People who like hiking and biking would love the excellent 2.25 mile long path that runs beside the shores of Lake Wales. The city also has a huge area dedicated to athletic fields and public parks. The popular activities include boating, fishing, camping, picnicking and bird watching.

Lake Wales Transportation

The city has Lake Wales Municipal Airport to provide air service. Tampa International Airport provides access to national and international flights.

Lake Wales Higher Education

Warner Southern College serves the city.


Total Population 14,929
Male Share of the Population 48.2%
Female Share of the Population 51.8%
Senior Citizens 22.1%
Employed Population 16+ 4,926
Age of the Population 36


% of people married 49.5%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 20.3%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $45,617
% Above Poverty Level 71.1%
% Below Poverty Level 28.9%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 22 minutes
% Working from Home 5.2%
% Walking and Biking to Work 2.8%
% Using Public Transportation 0.3%


People Living Alone 33.1%
Median Gross Rent $738
Median House Value $105,900


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 43.1%
US/American 0.1%
English 7.3%
Irish 9.7%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Lake Wales Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 24 miles E of Lakeland, Florida (center to center)
Nearest Large City 53 miles E of Tampa, Florida
County Polk
Metro Area Lakeland - Winter Haven
Standard Zip Codes 33853, 33859, 33867, 33898
P.O. Box Zip Codes 33854, 33855, 33856
Phone Area Codes 863
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 27.901
Longitude -81.586

Lake Wales Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.4 miles
Jan Temp 49 to 72 F
Apr Temp 58 to 83 F
Jul Temp 71 to 91 F
Oct Temp 64 to 84 F
Annual Precip 47.7 inches
Distance 15.9 miles
Jan Temp 47 to 72 F
Apr Temp 58 to 84 F
Jul Temp 72 to 93 F
Oct Temp 63 to 86 F
Annual Precip 50.2 inches
Station BARTOW
Distance 16.1 miles
Jan Temp 52 to 74 F
Apr Temp 61 to 84 F
Jul Temp 73 to 92 F
Oct Temp 66 to 85 F
Annual Precip 50.5 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Lake Wales, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Fedhaven (33854)

Indian Lake Estates (33855)

Lakeshore (33854)

Nalcrest (33856)

River Ranch (33867)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Dundee 3,908 $38,536
Eagle Lake 2,486 $52,000
Frostproof 3,062 $44,342
Highland Park 309 $73,750
Lake Hamilton 1,080 $58,889
Winter Haven 35,835 $48,556

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Lake Wales Hospitals

410 S 11TH ST
(863) 676-1433
Emergency Service: Yes

These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
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Lake Wales High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 1,375 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 20.5

Serves 343 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.2

Lake Wales Colleges

Click school name for a detailed profile.

Additional Details
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Career and College Resources

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Info for Lake Wales Government Officials

Are you an official in the Lake Wales government or quasi-government agency such as the chamber of commerce, visitors bureau or economic development council? If so, visit our information page for government officials to see how CityTownInfo can support you.

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