is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 10,194 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 11,802
. It is part of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area. The center of population of Florida is located in Lake Wales . Lake Wales is located in central Florida, west of Lake Kissimmee and east of Tampa. The Shrine of Ste Anne des Lacs was nearby. Among the attractions in Lake Wales are Bok Tower Gardens, Chalet Suzanne, and Spook Hill, an optical illusion which makes a car in neutral appear as if it is traveling uphill (gravity hill). A commercial historic district in the heart of the old town contains important examples of architecture from the period of the Florida land boom of the 1920s. The district's tallest building, the Hotel Grand, is boarded up and at risk of demolition.
Lake Wales is located at (27.904707, -81.584031). The town lies almost in the exact center of the Florida peninsula. In 2004 the eyes of Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne all passed over the town. Virtually all physical damage has been restored.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 36.3 km² (14.0 mi²). 34.6 km² (13.4 mi²) of it is land and 1.7 km² (0.7 mi²) of it (4.71%) is water.