Okeechobee County: Your natural choice
Covering 730 square miles, Lake Okeechobee is the fifth-largest inland lake (not connected to the ocean) in America. As you might expect, a lake this size offers plenty of recreational options, such as boating, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, just to name a few. The countryside surrounding the lake is ideal for hunting, birdwatching, biking, clayshooting, horseback riding and hiking.
Anchored by the town of Okeechobee on the northern edge of Lake O, Okeechobee County is where Old Florida thrives. Here, the beauty of nature is everywhere. The breezes are fresh. There is an abundance of fish, birds and other wildlife including deer, turkey, hogs, and, yes, alligators. The pace remains slow, the towns still look the way they have for eons, and the greetings are genuine.
This is the natural side to Florida. And that’s why Okeechobee County’s tag line is “Come Outside and Play!”
SEE AND DO
“Outside” may mean fishing on the giant lake filled with largemouth bass and speckled perch. It may be for Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, where birdwatching, camping, and horseback riding are superb, and where the night skies are so clear that the park has been designated as a “Dark Sky” for astronomers—a perfect place to study the constellations without the interference of lights from cars or towns.
“Outside” can mean the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail—also called the “Lost Trail”— which nearly circles the entire lake, and along which you’ll see rare birds like the snail kite and the caracara.
DINE AND PLAY
But Okeechobee County also offers plenty to do for nature-lovers who wants a little excite- ment. If you’re hungry after a day in nature, try the local institution called The Speckled Perch, where the specialty is not fish, but great steaks. If your hankerin’ for seafood, try Lightsey’s, another longtime favorite.
Interesting events happen here as well. A few years ago, local folks started the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival every latewinter (March 1–4, 2018). The festival now attracts more than 35,000 people to listen to a lineup of well-known entertainers. And, since this is Florida cattle country, there are some great rodeos organized by the Cattleman’s Association, among them the Cowtown Rodeo in early March and another big one in September.
TOP: An airboat excursion in Okeechobee County. CENTER: Rodeo time in Okeechobee.