Lake Otis, Florida, USA
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Otis — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Lake Otis
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Lake Otis Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Lake Otis Gifts
Looking for Lake Otis cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.
All About Lake Otis
There’s something special about Lake Otis. Florida’s West Central Region is wealthy in lakes. Winter Haven in Polk County sits in the middle of a huge number of small lakes; the city is built around several of them. Lake Otis is one such lake. The small 143-acre lake is home to a great many Winter Haven citizens who are sure they have the best of both worlds. Where else can you wake to watch herons and gulls fish for their breakfast while you drink your morning coffee, then walk the short walk to the Post Office or the bank to attend to the day’s business? Lake Otis is that kind of lake – a living part of the city and of the daily lives of its residents.
Many people are aware that Winter Haven possesses a chain of lakes. In actuality, there are two separate chains partially within the city. However, there are an even larger number of lakes that are not connected to any chain. Lake Otis is one of those lakes. Because Lake Otis is connected only to 27-acre Lake Link via an under-road channel and to Little Lake Otis directly to the south, the lake has remained private and often unvisited. While the chains of connected lakes have seen visitors floating through using the channels and small locks, the only form of access to Lake Otis has been an informal canoe launch from a private road between the two lakes. That is about to change, however, because the city has acquired an access lot on the west shore of Little Lake Otis and is planning a boat launch ramp. (November, 2010 update: The new public access is open, complete with boat launch and dock in a landscaped, park-like setting. The project was a joint effort of the city of Winter Haven, lakes management, and property owners.)
Lake Otis is an all-sports lake with upscale housing encompassing the lakefront. Several gated communities exist along the shore. Fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill and black crappie is popular on both Otis and Link Lakes. Residents enjoy water skiing, tubing, pontooning, canoeing and kayaking. Most lakefront property owners have their own docks and boats at the ready so they can indulge in a little lake-time whenever the mood strikes.
The City of Winter Haven is known for excellent schools and recreational venues. Within walking distance of Lake Otis one can find schools, coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, hair salons and a variety of specialty services. Close by is the Chain of Lakes Complex with fitness facilities, lessons in martial arts and music lessons. The Complex is part of the Winter Haven Recreational and Cultural Center about a mile to the northwest. This larger Center holds two lighted youth baseball/softball fields, an indoor gymnasium, lighted outdoor basketball courts, a 25-meter pool, physical conditioning facilities with both free weights and machines, a meeting room, kitchen facility, a game room and a conference room. Nearby park facilities host special events in the gazebo overlooking a nearby lake. A new library has recently been built and a complete Senior Center provides meals and activities geared to older citizens. Just east of the city, the municipal golf course is easily accessed by all. Winter Haven is well-supplied with dining establishments and specialty restaurants. There are often festivals and arts activities in progress to whet the interest of every family member. And there is enough nightlife available that something is sure to suit the fancy of both residents and their guests, from the casual to more elegant to young adult.
West Central Florida is filled with activities and attractions to keep the most restless soul occupied. A variety of ocean beaches can be visited within a hundred miles of Lake Otis, from Clearwater on the Gulf to Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic. In between are such nature venues as the Green Swamp – Florida’s picturesque natural water source with cypress swamps,wildlife and fishing. Disney World is less than 50 miles away. Tampa is the same distance in the opposite direction. Here, deep sea charter fishing can be easily arranged. Historic Bok Sanctuary is less than 15 miles away, where the 57 bronze bells in the majestic carillon tower ring out over the 157-acre gardens every half hour. And at Polk City, Fantasy of Flight displays restored vintage airplanes from every era. A special treat for the flight fan is the simulated flights where they can pilot historic planes and engage in bygone battles via video.
There are many reasons to visit Lake Otis. Perhaps you want to fish or water ski or just relax on the deck and watch those herons spear their morning meal. Maybe it’s the idea of being able to walk to nearby services or become part of an established neighborhood of friendly neighbors who barbecue together on weekend afternoons. Or to be centrally located where you can partake of all Florida has to offer. Whatever your reasons, you can likely find vacation rentals in the immediate area, some with lake frontage or lake views. Private residences are often available by the week or month. Commercial lodgings are plentiful in the Winter Haven area and there are still a few ‘fishing camp’ resorts left on nearby rivers. Real Estate is usually available in the area, if not on Lake Otis, then on other lakes in the vicinity. There’s no time like the present to check out Lake Otis and Winter Haven. Come see what central Florida is all about.
Things to Do at Lake Otis
- Vacation Rentals
- Water Skiing
- Wildlife Viewing
Fish Species Found at Lake Otis
- Black Bass
- Black Crappie
- Largemouth Bass
Find Places to Stay at Lake Otis
If you’re considering a Lake Otis lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Otis Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Otis lodging partners.
- VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
- Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
- Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
- Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
- TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
- Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
- KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
- RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
- CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Lake Otis Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed
Surface Area: 143 acres
Shoreline Length: 3 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 127 feet
Average Depth: 12 feet
Maximum Depth: 35 feet
Water Volume: 1,916 acre-feet
Trophic State: Eutrophic
We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.
Shop Lake Otis Gifts
Advertise Your Lake Otis Business or Vacation Rental
LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.
Looking for the Lake Otis Forum?
LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!
Lake Otis Photo Gallery
New photos coming soon!
Spread the word! Share our Lake Otis article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!