Lakelander 101: A how-to for new residents

From how to register your car to where to put your recycle bin, this overview will give you everything you need to know to get established as a Lakeland resident.

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Have you seen Lakeland Electric’s 10-story building reflecting on Lake Mirror? | Photo by LALtoday

Table of Contents

Picture this: You just moved to Lakeland, Florida and you need some help with the practicalities of life (we can’t just sit and watch the swans all day, unfortunately). That’s where we come in. Keep reading for Lakelander 101, our guide to all things Lakeland.

Voter registration

Make sure you’re eligible and registered to vote, find your polling location, and preview upcoming elections and sample ballots here.

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Head to the Tax Collector for Polk County (916 N. Massachusetts Ave.) to register your vehicle, obtain a license, and more. | Photo via @

Driver’s licenses and vehicle registration

New residents in need of a Florida driver’s license will need to provide proof of legal status, a Social Security document, and two documents confirming your residential address.

To register your car in the state of Florida, you’ll need to take proof of Florida car insurance, proof of your identity (in the form of a driver’s license, passport, or ID card), and a Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification form to any Polk County office (such as the Tax Collector’s Office at 916 N.Massachusetts Ave. in Lakeland).

Initial registrations may be subject to a $225 fee.

You can make an appointment at any of Polk County’s offices to obtain a Florida driver’s license. Registration for your vehicle is conducted on a walk-in basis.

School registration

If you have school-age children, you can prepare for the school year by registering them with Polk County Public Schools. Here, you’ll find your school zone (based on your home address), a list of registration and immunization requirements, and the student entry form. With your required documents in hand, you’ll then make an appointment at your student’s zoned school to complete the registration process.

New to Florida and school choice? Check out our comprehensive guide to Lakeland’s myriad and excellent options.

For information on Lakeland’s private schools, check out Lakeland Mom’s list.

Library card registration

If you think libraries are only for renting the occasional book, think again. Register for a library card at your nearest Lakeland branch, or apply for a temporary card (valid for 30 days) online, to take advantage of:

  • Genealogy services
  • Events
  • eBooks, music, and movies
  • Online databases
  • Private meeting spaces for groups
  • Books-by-mail
  • State park passes

To get your card, you’ll need proof of identity and proof of address. Lakelanders of any age can apply for a free card to be used at any Lakeland branch.

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Speaking of Lakeland Electric, have you seen its 10-story building reflecting on Lake Mirror? | Photo by LALtoday


Moving is exciting, but no one wants to unpack by candlelight. Establish your services with Lakeland Electric by creating an account or updating your address in your existing account. Pro tip: You can complete a free virtual energy audit to learn how you can save money and energy every month.


Thanks for thinking green. For everything you need to know about recycling in Lakeland, from where to place your bin to pickup times and accepted materials, check out our guide.

Internet providers

No connectivity issues here. Check out some of the internet providers in the 863:

  • EarthLink | Fiber internet starting at $59.95 per month for 12 months
  • Frontier | Fiber Gig internet service starting at $74.99 per month for 36 months
  • HughesNet | Internet service starting at $54.99 per month for six months
  • Spectrum | Internet service starting at $49.99 per month for 12 months
  • Ultra Home Internet | Internet service starting at $54.99 per month
  • Viasat | Internet service starting at $49.99 per month for three months


Establishing yourself with a primary care provider is one of those things you’ll be glad you did when you need one. Reach out to the professionals at Lakeland Regional Health, Watson Clinic, or BayCare Medical Group, to name a few. Pro tip: Websites like DocSpot filter physicians by location, patient reviews, insurance, language, and more.

Is there something you’re still left wondering about getting established in Swan City? Ask us your question and we’ll do our best to answer it for you, like a good neighbor.

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