Situated along the I-4 corridor between Orlando and Tampa, Lakeland, FL, boasts a central and convenient location not found in many other small cities in the state. Aptly named for the 38 lakes in and around it, Lakeland also boasts natural beauty and recreational opportunities that are unique even in a state with as much coastline and natural areas as Florida. Home to more than 100,000 individuals, and almost 24,000 older adults, Lakeland also has a reputation as an affordable, peaceful, convenient, and highly desirable retirement location.
What to Expect
Lakeland is a small city of about 100,000 in Polk County, Florida. It sits about 45 minutes from Tampa and less than an hour from Orlando. This city has no direct ocean access, but it DOES have abundant water access, thanks to 38 lakes that give it both its name and an enviable array of stunning natural beauty and gorgeous wildlife. This outdoorsy culture alongside easy access to all of the amenities of big city life, make Lakeland one of the most sought-after retirement locations in the state. A large retirement population also means that if you choose to live your work-free years here, you have many opportunities to forge rewarding relationships with others like you.
Lakeland enjoys the sunny, warm weather year-round that Florida is famous for. With an average temperature of 83 degrees and 240 days of sunshine every year, you won’t be shoveling snow or navigating icy roads. You should prepare for hot and humid summers, where average temperatures can get up into the 90s, but with air conditioning in almost every building, and warm winters in the future, you can also enjoy the change from bitter northern cold snaps.
Retirement should include a sense of safety every day and life in a location known for peacefulness and a low crime rate. Lakeland delivers both. The city’s crime rate is lower than the national average, and its violent crime rate is slightly lower than Florida’s average. The outer edges of the city tend to be the safest. Check out our Colonial Village and Laky Bonny communities for retirement housing options located in some of Lakeland’s safer neighborhoods.
Because of Lakeland’s proximity to Orlando and to Tampa, retirees have access to both Orlando International Airport and Tampa International Airport. A short drive of less than an hour will give you access to any part of the country, and allow loved ones to fly in from anywhere to enjoy your company surrounded by perfect Florida living.
The best way to get around Lakeland is to drive, but you can also grab public transportation via Citrus Connection, the county’s public transit system. With services for the disabled, wheelchair-friendly buses, and even bike-friendly buses so you can store your bike as you ride, this public transit system provides easy transportation throughout the county for anyone, all for reasonable prices. That makes it simple to get to major shopping, healthcare, or entertainment locations even if you do not own a car.
Lakeland may be near all the shopping you could desire in the big cities, but you can find some pretty unique and enjoyable shopping experiences right in town, as well. Try, for example, Lakeland Square Mall, where you can shop name brands like American Eagle or H&M. Make sure to check out the upscale Lakeside Village, too, where boutiques, tasty dining, salons, spas, and a wide range of retail stores sit amidst abundant greenery and a soothing atmosphere.
You can also access high-quality healthcare in Lakeland. The city is home to Lakeland Regional Health Hospital, as well as a plethora of other healthcare providers. In Lakeland, you can find any of the following options:
- Urgent care
- Primary care
- Senior care
- Internal medicine
Some of these providers, such as St. Luke’s Regional Healthcare Clinic in Lakeland provide a range of services in one location and focus on convenient services such as same-day appointments.
Finances are often a concern in retirement, but managing them is simple when you live in Lakeland. The city is home to multiple financial institutions, from credit unions to more traditional banks. Make deposits and withdrawals; open and close accounts, manage your credit, take out loans, and more, all without leaving your retirement hometown.
One of life’s tasks is handling the mail. Complete all of your postal errands right in Lakeland, where a post office, UPS stores, and Fedex drop offs are all a short drive from your home. Purchase shipping materials; drop off packages, pick up your mail, and stay in touch with your loved ones easily without traveling out of town. If you choose the right retirement community, such as one of our Lakeland-area communities, you may be able to complete some of your postal errands right within the community.
Things to Do
Lakeland does not have direct access to the beach itself, but it does sit less than two hours from beaches on both the east and west coast of the state. Choose beaches near Orlando or Tampa for beautiful white sand, stunning water, and the opportunity to enjoy your favorite water activities, from fishing to swimming, boating to sunbathing.
Minor League Baseball
The Detroit Tigers maintain a Minor League team in Lakeland, called the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Grab tickets and sit down at the Joker Marchant Stadium to enjoy a game (or two, or three). The best part? There is rarely as much traffic, or expense, associated with enjoying a Minor League team as a Major League one, which can make it very simple to enjoy a little baseball in your hometown whenever you desire.
Lakeland’s name comes from the 38 lakes that dot the city and surrounding area. These beautiful watery areas are home to many lakeside parks and preserves for recreation and relaxation. The best part? You can find trails that suit any ability level, from paved walking trails to more challenging hikes so you can enjoy nature at your pace during your retirement.
One of the area’s must-see natural areas are the Se7en Wetlands. The wetlands’ trails provide a place to walk while you enjoy abundant wildlife or even go on a scavenger hunt in search of many of the wetlands’ beautiful plants and animals.
Each lake and natural area has is own rules about the recreation you pursue, but you can find a place to do all of the following:
- And more
The Polk Theatre building itself, constructed in the late 1920s, pays homage to Italian architecture and serves as a cultural icon with a rich history. Inside, you can discover even more to admire, through its numerous films, popular Performing Arts Series, performances of the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra, ballet performances, and more.
Whether you visit for the films and performing arts it has to offer, choose to tour the beautifully restored building, or take advantage of the theatre’s virtual cinema program, the Polk Theatre will almost certainly be a cornerstone in your enjoyment of your Lakeland retirement.
Polk Museum of Art
As one of the top 10 art museums in Florida, the Polk Museum of Art is a must-see attraction in Lakeland. Located at South Florida College, this museum will feed your desire for arts and culture with permanent collections that span everything from European art to decorative American arts and Asian art. The best part? This museum is FREE so it will fit right in with any retirement budget and allow you to enjoy as much art as you desire during your Florida retirement.
Frank Lloyd Wright
The world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture exists at Florida Southern College’s historic district in Lakeland. Named a National Historic Landmark, these buildings display the architect’s distinctive style and are available for you to tour. Don’t forget to stop y the college’s collection of photographs, furniture, and drawing from Frank Lloyd Wright as well. It is often supplemented by traveling exhibits and there is frequently something new to admire and explore here.
Circle B Bar Reserve
The Circle B Bar Reserve is a former ranch turned protected wetland. Best known for its jaw-dropping array of wildlife and birds, it provides you with an unmatched opportunity to soak up the most beautiful nature the Lakeland area has to offer, and provides incredible bird watching opportunities. Don’t forget to stop by the Polk County Nature Discovery Center to learn more about the ranch and wildlife it protects.
Find a Home
With a median home price of $335,000, Lakeland’s booming housing market may feel a little out of reach for the average retiree. The good news is that Lakeland is still one of the best places to retire because attainable manufactured homes are available in any of our three Lakeland communities: Colonial Village, Lake Bonny, and Citrus Center.
Each of these communities provides features that make your retirement easier and more funEnjoy the following features:
- Lakeside location (Lake Bonny)
- A short drive from shops, dining, entertainment, beaches, and big cities
- Beautiful mobile homes for an affordable price
- An active and friendly 55+ community
In addition, our Lakeland communities provide many amenities designed to make community life convenient and rewarding. Discover the following amenities:
- Library (Colonial Village, Lake Bonny)
- Shuffleboard Courts
- Fishing Pier (Lake Bonny)
- Picnic tables and grills (Citrus Center)
- Social activities
- Dog park (Lake Bonny)
- And more
Choose our Lakeland communities if you want attainable, beautiful Florida living for seniors. Our friendly communities in one of Florida’s most desirable locations are designed to create a retirement you will love. Contact us today to learn more!