Lake Wales, FL

The Perfect Day Trip: Bok Tower Gardens

Malinda Fusco

Photo of the Bok Tower Gardens from Wikicommons

Have you ever dreamed of wandering through enchanted gardens on a bright, sunny day? On glimpsing all kinds of flora and fauna as you take an afternoon stroll among the trees and plants? Or perhaps stopping along your path once tired and having lunch at a quaint cafe? If you've answered yes to any of those questions, then the Bok Tower Gardens is the perfect day trip for you!

What is the Bok Tower Gardens?

The Bok Tower Gardens is a garden, hiking trail, and bird sanctuary in Lake Wales, Florida. It has many acres of gardens (over 200 actually) and a Singing Tower, where it so aptly gets its name from. It also has designated hiking trails for you to explore, with plenty of photo opportunities as you come across the land's natural beauty. There is also a gift shop and a cafe called Blue Palmetto Cafe.

My Experience and Review

When I went to the Bok Tower Gardens, I left early to beat the crowds. I arrived when they opened at 8 a.m. and had the entire place mostly to myself for at least an hour, so if you want to get there before others, try to get there early.

The Singing Tower plays music at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily, so if you do get there early, just know that the tower won't make any music until later in the afternoon. The good news is that you don't need to be at the tower to hear it sing. The sound can be heard in most places in the gardens. The Singing Tower is beautiful and it's amazing to stand outside of it if you can make it back to the tower in time for one of the concerts. It is actually considered a carillon concert, due to the way the music is produced and the bells at the top of the tower.

Screenshot by the author from the Bok Towers website

If you like to hike, then the nature trails will be particularly interesting to you. There are a few different trials that you can follow, leading you to higher elevation (some of the highest points in Florida actually) and giving you quite a view of the rest of the preserve and its inhabitants. There is lots of wildlife to see here, including tortoises, frogs, and some snakes, so watch your step! Also, if you like photography, be sure to bring your camera. There is lots to see and photograph.

If hikes aren't your thing, that's okay. There are actually really beautiful paths to meander through the gardens. These are shorter, more scenic (there are so many beautiful plants and flowers in the gardens), and closer to the amenities like the bathrooms, shops, and air condition. The gardens offer lots of different flora to gaze at and take it, as well as places to sit if you'd like to rest.

Getting hungry from all the walking? I don't blame you. Luckily, there's an awesome cafe that I would highly recommend. The Blue Palmetto Cafe is the perfect spot to grab some lunch either before or after the carillon concerts. They are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are situated right next to the visitor center. The cafe prides itself in using super fresh ingredients and the fruit is refreshing and delicious. They offer a lot of really yummy and affordable selections, so definitely check them out while you're there. You'll be happy you did.

So what are you waiting for?

Basic Information for Booking

Entrance Fee: $15 Adults, $5 Children and Dogs (yes, you can bring your furry friend!)

Hours: Sunday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last admission is at 5 p.m.)

Address: 1151 Tower Boulevard, Lake Wales, Florida 33853


COVID Measures to Keep In Mind

Due to COVID precautions, you must wear a mask when checking in at the entrance, visiting the visitor center, while inside any interior spaces, and also when interacting with any staff (they will of course be wearing a mask for your safety as well).

Enjoy your time at the Bok Tower Gardens!

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