Lake Wales Travel Guide

  • Casper the friendly Ghost telling the Spooky tale
    Casper the friendly Ghost telling the...
    by Godwit
  • White Line where it gets Spooky
    White Line where it gets Spooky
    by Godwit
  • chalet suzanne
    chalet suzanne
    by doug48

Lake Wales Things to Do

  • Bok Tower Gardens

    When we first visited Bok Tower, one of the things I remember best about it was seeing wood ducks swimming in the reflecting pond. This time, all we saw were the mute swans (photo 4). There IS a new Florida Natives Exhibit which features a series of "native"species of Florida snakes,turtles, arachnids and mammals in naturalistic enclosures. This...

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  • Spook Hill - Science or just plain...

    Let me start by saying that cars do appear to roll uphill at Lake Wales. Drive until the white line, put your car in neutral and just have fun watching your car move up hill. We tried to crack the mystery by going down and up hill quite a few times and then we just did it for the fun part. Fun thing to try once even if you know it is a nice Optical...

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  • rhodesbilt arcade

    the rhodesbilt arcade was built by jesse rhodes in 1920 during the florida land boom. the rhodesbilt arcade is listed on the national register of historic places. today the arcade houses several retail stores and offices. an interesting building to check out when in downtown lake wales.

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  • Native Animals and Botanical Garden

    When we first visited Bok Tower, one of the things I remember best about it was seeing wood ducks swimming in the reflecting pond. This time, all we saw were the mute swans (photo 4). There IS a new Florida Natives Exhibit which features a series of "native"species of Florida snakes,turtles, arachnids and mammals in naturalistic enclosures. This...

    more
  • cypress gardens ( now legoland)

    cypress gardens was a botanical garden planted by dick and julie pope in 1936. cypress gardens is one of florida's oldest tourist attractions. from the 1930's to the 1970's cypress gardens was known for it's water ski shows and it's costumed southern belles. several ester williams movies were filmed at cypress gardens. cypress garden's attendance...

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  • florida's natural citrus plant

    lake wales is home to the florida's natural citrus cooperative. the cooperative was established in 1933 and today has over 1000 members with 50,000 acres of citrus groves. in 1940 the coop licensed the donald duck image from walt disney and promoted the donald duck brand of orange juice for several decades. florida's natural only produces citrus...

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  • Bok Tower

    The centerpiece of this wonderful sanctuary is the Bok Tower, standing 205 feet on top of the highest peninsular point in Florida. The tower was built during 1927 and 1928, for the private use of the Bok family. The structure is steel frame with brick walls and an outer facing of pink and gray Georgia marble and a Florida limestone and shell and...

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  • Historic Bok Sanctuary

    Edward W. Bok, a Dutch immigrant that became a reknown author and editor, resided his winters in the area around Iron Mountain, the highest point in peninsular Florida. Here, he created a sanctuary for native birds and flora, with an impressive 250 foot bell tower, which plays a synchronised 60 bell carillon twice a day...as a gift to America and...

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  • bok tower and gardens

    edward w. bok was a dutch immigrant who made his fortune as editor of the ladies home journal. in 1921 he purchased the largest hill in the lake wales ridge. he hired milton b. medary to design and build a late gothic revival carillon tower. he also hired frederick law olmsted jr. to design a park around the tower. olmsted's father was the designer...

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  • Spook Hill 1967 to 2007

    I had photographs taken in 1967 (2nd photo) of Spook Hill which is a place where a car when placed in neutral will appear to roll up hill. It is a free activity.The sign was hard for us to find in 2007, and it is even harder to take a still picture of the car rolling up the hill. Which of course is an optical illusion - it does not roll up the...

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  • historic downtown

    lake wales has a very nice historic district with numerous shops and restaurants. lake wales was developed during the 1920's florida land boom and has a number of historic buildings downtown. a nice place to visit and have lunch when in central florida. the attached web sites offer useful information for a visit to lake wales.

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  • bok gardens

    when fredrick law olmsted jr. designed the gardens he added a reflection pool and a koi pond. the refection pond is to the north of the tower and when the light is right you can see a mirror image of the tower. the koi pond is located at the base of the tower. bok tried to introduce flamingoes to the hill but they could not adjust to the climate....

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  • bok gardens

    bok tower is located on a fifty acre hill that is surrounded by a beautiful garden and orange groves. the garden was designed by fredrick law olmsted jr. on the hill around the carillon tower 1000 oak trees were planted as well as 10,000 azaleas, 100 sabal palms, 300 magnolias and hundreds or more plant species. a beautiful place to visit when in...

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  • bok tower

    pictured is one of the carved windows of bok tower. there are several windows and inscriptions on the tower. the inscription under the sun dial on the south side of the tower reads "this singing tower with it's adjacent sanctuary was dedicated and presented for visitation to the american people by calvin coolidge, president of the united states,...

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  • Pinewood Estate

    El Retiro is Spanish for "retreat" and acted as a winter retreat for C Austin Buck, VP for Bethlehem Steel in the early 1930s as a winter retreat. It is a perfect example of Mediterranean Revival architecture. It was added tot he National Register of Historic Places in 1985. and his family. The influences of both Moorish and Romanesque periods...

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  • Spook Hill

    Children and adults get a thrill as the family car rolls uphill while in neutral, tugged by invisible forces which defy the laws of gravity.

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  • Historic Downtown

    Welcome to the National Historic District, Downtown Lake Wales, Florida. This beautiful area is home to some of Central Florida's finest restaurants, most interesting shops and art galleries, antiques, striking architecture, and fun nightlife. Here you will find information about the unique shops which are now located within the district, as well...

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  • Bok Tower Gardens

    In all the natural beauty of the Gardens, Edward Bok believed something was missing. Remembering the glorious sound of carillons in his native Holland, he decided to build a beautiful Tower as the focal point of the Gardens and a permanent home for a carillon. Insulated from everyday activities and noise, this spot would prove to be ideal for...

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Lake Wales Hotels

Lake Wales Restaurants

  • Great "old Florida" atmosphere!!

    This restaurant is in an old,old fish camp. Very rustic, old Florida feel/atmosphere. Varied menu also has history of place & some neat pictures. Can eat inside or out on the deck which has a separate bar. Very crowded on weekends and in Jan/Feb when all the snowbirds are around! Well worth the wait if you must. Right on the lake, which can be seen...

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  • french in downtown

    tres jolie is a nice little cafe restaurant in downtown lake wales. they specialize in french cusine at moderate prices. there is nothing fancy about the decor, just good french food at a reasonable price. a nice place to have lunch when in lake wales.

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  • unique gourmet dinning

    the chalet suzanne restaurant and lounge is one the best and most unique restraunts in florida. for years the chalet had a prix fixe lunch and dinner menu. a four course lunch ran in the $30's and a six course dinner around $70 before wine and bar charges. just recently they are now offering an a la carte menu which gives the guest some less...

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Lake Wales Local Customs

  • Lake Wales Mardi Gras

    This sleepy little town actually comes alive during it's annual Mardi Gras celebration. Expect an all-day affair downtown with a few rides for the kids, food vendors, crafts, local bands & live music. Around 3, expect a pretty darned good parade with floats, loud music, dancing and tons of beads! And flashing your you-know-whats is not necessary to...

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  • Lake Wales Art Show along the shore of...

    One spring day each year Lake Wales hosts its annual art show along Lake Wailes... This is a nice event with hundreds of booths displaying fine arts, fine crafts, paintings, clay works, glass works, graphics, metal jewelry,sculpture, wood, mixed media,photography & fiber mixed media for sale...There is live music, food and beverage vendors and a...

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  • Lake Wales Hotels

    10 Hotels in Lake Wales

Lake Wales What to Pack

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo

    by KiKitC Written Mar 23, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Make sure you have good headwear...the sun is brutal throughout the gardens.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring PLENTY of bug sparay...they love the gardens too.

    Photo Equipment: Bring your best lenses, telephoto too. Extra memory cards are a must and plenty of batteries.

    Miscellaneous: There are fountains around with drinking water...but be smart, bring plenty.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Historical Travel

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Lake Wales Off The Beaten Path

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo

    by KiKitC Written Mar 23, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I am placing this under Off the Beaten Path, because there is so much to see in the gardens, that this spot seems to get overlooked for the beauty it provides. At the end of the trail, by a pond in a remote spot, sits this room with a tinted glass view. The gardens place feed out for the various birds and wildlife. Sit and relax and watch as nature goes about it's business, and offers you a peek. Sit and watch the birds come and go, alligators and snakes, and more.

    We just sat for about an hour, my camera clicking away, getting closer to unsuspecting birds and wildlife...

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Birdwatching

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Lake Wales Favorites

  • Pinewood Gardens at Bok Towers

    Pinewood is a depression-era mansion that was originally built for a Pittsburgh steel-magnate. I haven't been on a tour of the house, but the gardens are an interesting example of the Mediterranean landscape design. The grounds of the Bok Tower are located on what can actually be recognized as a ridge. This is a part of Florida where there is...

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  • While visiting Lake Wales, one...

    While visiting Lake Wales, one must visit Bok Tower Gardens, Spook Hill, Chalet Suzanne, the downtown area and take a stroll around Lake Walies Lake. Growing up in Lake Wales provided me with a sense of community and security. The town has a small town sense with a big town flare for society affairs. I have many fond memories and this website...

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