Lake City is centered in a thriving agricultural area in southern Florence County. The first settlement developed around the intersection of two major roads and continued to grow with the arrival of the railroad. Today it is the second-largest community in the county.
Lake City includes the Dr. Ronald E. McNair Memorial, the burial place of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, a Lake City native and NASA astronaut who perished aboard the space shuttle Challenger when it exploded Jan. 28, 1986; the Moore Memorial Museum, a renovated c. 1928 house; and the National Bean Market Museum, offering exhibits and displays depicting early farm life in the Pee Dee area. Lake City is in a major tobacco-growing region. In September the town celebrates the Tobacco Festival.