In South Florida, Okeechobee County is a world apart from Florida’s bustling theme parks and seaside resorts. Covering 730 square miles, the county’s centerpiece, Lake Okeechobee (known affectionately as “The Big O”), is the second-largest freshwater lake in the contiguous U.S.
The region’s diverse ecosystems provide a haven for wildlife and adventures on land and water. Surrounding the lake, a booming sugar cane industry supports a clutch of agricultural communities. Several rodeos are held in the community.
Made possible by the 20-foot-high, 140-mile-long Hoover Dike, Lake Okeechobee not only provides handy protection against flooding, but forms the basis for a 100-mile scenic hiking route (part of Florida’s National Scenic Trail). Linked with the Everglades wetland system, the lake is also protected as part of the National Audubon Society Wildlife Sanctuary. Recreational opportunities on and around the lake include boating, shallow-water fishing (perfect for beginners), hiking and biking, with panoramic vistas .
Encompassing more than 700 square miles, Lake Okeechobee is the largest lake in Florida. One of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States, Lake Okeechobee is approximately half the size of Rhode Island and serves as a magnet for anglers. The lake is home to champion-size catches. Charter fishing excursions take anglers to prime fishing spots for largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill.
In November, the Big O Hike offers keen wildlife spotters the chance to view (with the help of guides) the region’s abundant wildlife, which includes manatees, bobcats, eagles, kites, wild turkeys, bears, herons, egrets, wintering waterfowl and alligators. Seasoned anglers convene here from across the state to hook Okeechobee’s famed largemouth bass and speckled perch as well as bluegills, Okeechobee catfish and black crappies.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve
Amid the teeming marshes and swamps of southern Florida, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park feels removed from space and time. The largest area of Florida dry prairie, the vast preserve provides sanctuary to myriad endangered plants and animals. Burn off some calories and see some sights with more than 100 miles of backcountry roads shared by hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders and park vehicles. The park also offers more than 30,000 acres of accessible lakes.
Check out more Florida RV adventures.
For More Information
Okeechobee County Tourist Development