Whether your style of recreation is to sit back and relax, play team sports, take up a new hobby, enjoy the solitude of a walk in beautiful surroundings or be a spectator, Lake Wales offers endless opportunities for recreation. Couple this with our mild climate and you have the perfect setting for year-round outdoor enjoyment.
The City of Lake Wales maintains 250 acres of parks and community recreational facilities. The renovated Wales Trail on the shores of Lake Wales is the place to walk, jog, skate or bicycle. The 2 1/4-mile Trail has distance markers, benches, bike racks and water fountains. Fishing is an activity which can be accomplished either from the shore of the lake, from the new 120-foot fishing pier or from your boat launched at the public ramp. The pier has benches and a lovely gazebo with seating - a perfect spot to watch the spectacular sunsets.
Fishing, boat rentals and the services of professional guides are available. Fishing is a popular sport in the Lake Wales Area with our abundance of lakes, both large and small. Bass are a popular catch and other species are regularly caught, including crappie, catfish, pike, bream and perch. While out on area lakes, you are likely to see other wildlife such as turtles, otters, alligators and prolific bird life. Local fish camps offer comfortable accommodations and friendly service.
The Audubon Center and Nature Trail in Babson Park, six miles south of Lake Wales, has been the hub of local nature and conservation activity for many years. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts will find an abundance of opportunities in the Lake Wales area. Observers report seeing the Florida Scrub Jay, Swallow Tailed Kite, Sandhill Cranes, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Bald Eagles and many others in their natural habitat.
Nature lovers can visit the Tiger Creek Nature Preserve located some 12 miles south of Lake Wales. This 4,400-acre tract contains sand hills and swamps that have changed little since the native people camped there. Ten miles of creek and its riverine forest is protected by the nature preserve which is owned by the Nature Conservancy. Or you may want to visit Lake Kissimmee State Park east of Lake Wales. The Park consists of more than 5,000 acres and is bordered by Lakes Kissimmee, Tiger and Rosalie. This is natural Florida at its best, with a wealth of wildlife and natural habitat. The park offers 13 miles of hiking trails through pine flatwoods and open prairie where you might encounter white-tailed deer or wild turkeys. Activities offered include hiking, fishing, camping, boating and nature study.
The City of Lake Wales is continuing its renovation and expansion plans in leisure services. The Mimi Hardman Cultural and Recreational Complex is underway with the opening of the gymnasium. Basketball and a weight room bring in over 3,000 people a month. In addition, the old high school complex will eventually house an auditorium, activity center, skateboard park and swimming pool. This is partly financed with a $700,000 grant. The tennis complex has been completely renovated and offers five lighted tennis courts and two racquetball courts.
The city has used a $200,000 grant to help pay for new playground equipment at Crystal Park. On the drawing board is a 120-acre complex to include rinks for in-line skates, a five-field Little League softball center, three multi-purpose playing fields, tennis courts, volleyball court, a rock climbing facility, basketball courts, tot-lots, racquetball courts, pedestrian trail, gymnasium and an adult horticultural center with viewing trail.
The City of Lake Wales also has plans for a future 268-acre public golf course, revenues from which will help support leisure service department activities. There are many public golf courses in the area where you will find fully stocked pro shops, teaching golf professionals, fleets of well-maintained carts and a tee time to suit your needs.
The Lake Wales YMCA located on Burns Avenue offers co-educational facilities to groups and individual members. The "Y" is located on a 10-acre site west of the entrance to Bok Tower Gardens. Many of the YMCA programs are open to the general public. The "Y" also sponsors daycare and after school programs and has a large meeting room with food facilities.
Team sports, including football, baseball, soccer, basketball and softball are offered through school, city and community programs. Adults can be either participants or spectators at these games. The city offers adult flag football, men's adult basketball, senior baseball, and adult baseball. Programs for the younger set include Little League and Junior Magic Basketball. An active pram fleet sails every Sunday on Lake Wales for eight weeks in the the spring and eight weeks in the fall.
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