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Tavares, Florida
The Old Lake County Courthouse in March 2007
The Old Lake County Courthouse in March 2007
Official logo of Tavares, Florida
"America's Seaplane City!"
Location in Lake County and the state of Florida
Location in Lake County and the state of Florida
Tavares, Florida is located in Florida
Tavares, Florida
Tavares, Florida
Location in Florida
Tavares, Florida is located in the United States
Tavares, Florida
Tavares, Florida
Location in the United States
Country  United States of America
State  Florida
County Flag of Lake County, Florida.png Lake
Incorporated 1880
 • Total 13.96 sq mi (36.17 km2)
 • Land 12.37 sq mi (32.03 km2)
 • Water 1.60 sq mi (4.14 km2)
75 ft (23 m)
 • Total 19,003
 • Density 1,536.71/sq mi (593.34/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 352
FIPS code 12-71225
GNIS feature ID 0292058

Tavares ( tuh-VAIR-ees) is a city in the central portion of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Lake County. The population at the 2020 census was 19,003, and in 2019 the population was estimated to be 17,749. It is part of the Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford Metropolitan Statistical Area. The name is a popular Portuguese surname and toponym.


Tavares FL Union Congreg Church spano01
Union Congregational Church in Tavares. Organized in 1885, and completed in 1888 on land donated by St. Clair-Abrams, this was the first church in Tavares.

The city was founded by newspaper and railroad man Alexander St. Clair-Abrams in 1880 and named for a Portuguese ancestor. In 1883 a post office was established, which was followed by a hotel, three stores, a sawmill, and eight cottages in 1884. While St. Clair-Abrams did not achieve his dream that Tavares become the state capital of Florida (Tallahassee has held the spot since 1823), in 1887 the city was named the seat of Lake County. St. Clair-Abrams later chartered a railroad to run from Tavares to Orlando. In 1919, Tavares incorporated as a town.


Tavares is located at 28°48′6″N 81°44′1″W / 28.80167°N 81.73361°W / 28.80167; -81.73361 (28.801670, -81.733548)

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19 km2); of this, 7.1 square miles (18 km2) (95.16%) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) (4.84%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 113
1910 175 54.9%
1920 359 105.1%
1930 1,090 203.6%
1940 1,119 2.7%
1950 1,763 57.6%
1960 2,724 54.5%
1970 3,261 19.7%
1980 4,398 34.9%
1990 7,383 67.9%
2000 9,700 31.4%
2010 13,951 43.8%
2020 19,003 36.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 9,700 people, 4,471 households, and 2,821 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,368.3 inhabitants per square mile (528.2/km2). There were 5,475 housing units at an average density of 772.3 per square mile (298.2/km2). The city's racial makeup was 88.98% White, 7.70% African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.04% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.46% of the population.

There were 4,471 households, of which 16.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.8% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 21.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.01 and the average family size was 2.48.

In the city, 14.1% of the population was under the age of 18, 5.8% between 18 and 24, 19.8% between 25 and 44, 22.2% between 45 and 64, and 38.0% over 64. The median age was 56. For every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.

The median household income was $31,337, and the median family income $36,243. Males had a median income of $28,911 versus $20,271 for females. The per capita income was $19,942. About 6.6% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.2% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those 65 or older.


The Tavares Seaplane Base is a city-owned, public-use seaplane base on Lake Dora in Tavares. The base is popular and gives rise to the city's nickname, "America's Seaplane City".

Panorama of the Tavares Seaplane Base and Marina on Lake Dora

The LakeXpress is Lake County's public transportation and has been active since May 2007. It is a fixed-route transportation service that runs every hour from Lady Lake to Mount Dora with circulator routes in Leesburg and Mount Dora.


Notable people

  • Alfred St. Clair-Abrams, politician
  • Mallory Horne, member of the Florida Legislature
  • Fireball Roberts, NASCAR driver
  • Jermaine Taylor, NBA player
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