Lake Okeechobee is a large inland lake located in Glades, Okeechobee, Martin, Palm Beach, and Hendry counties in Florida. Lake Okeechobee in Florida is the tenth largest natural, freshwater lake in the United States and is the second largest lake located entirely within the continental United States – the first being Lake Michigan.
The lake is contained by a large dam called the Herbert Hoover Dike which was built in 1928. The region is quite fertile and most of Lake Okeechobee is surrounded by a virile sugar cane industry. Many of the surrounding towns were built on surgarcane agriculture.
In ancient times, the lake was a part of a much larger body of water called the Pamlico Sea. In recent history, the lake was known to flood easily and even spill over into the Everglades to the East – but, this is no longer common due to the construction of the previously mentioned dam.
Lake Okeechobee hosts opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, and general tourism. If you have yet to visit, this guide may persuade you.
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The Most Vacationer-Friendly Town on Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston
Clewiston is situated midway on Lake Okeechobee between West Palm Beach and Fort Myers. Clewiston is historically a sugar cane farming town and still celebrates that rich heritage. Every year they have a Sugar Festival and they offer year-round tours highlighting the sugar cane industry.
The town is largely known for its access to Lake Okeechobee, however. Visitors to Clewiston are often there to fish in the bass-rich lake or take advantage of the hiking and biking opportunities on the trails around the lake – though, for many, the sugar cane farming history is a sweet surprise.
Lake Okeechobee is called “The Big O,” as it is a large circular lake. The lake hosts a circumventing hiking and biking trail called the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail or LOST, that is 110 miles long. Clewiston has easy access to this trail.
Another fantastic lake town on Lake Okeechobee has a name you might predict – Okeechobee. The town of Okeechobee, Florida, also has access to the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail hiking and biking trail. While Clewiston is located on the southern rim of the lake, Okeechobee is on the northern rim of the lake. If you look at a Lake Okeechobee map, you’ll see that the town of Okeechobee is actually at the northernmost point of the lake.
Taylor Creek, a small waterway, runs throughout the town of Okeechobee. This waterway feeds Lake Okeechobee directly. Okeechobee is home to several marinas, campgrounds, and recreation areas with direct access to the lake.
The town of Okeechobee, while small, is very welcoming to tourists and serves as a great “jumping off” point for adventurers looking to take advantage of the lake’s natural recreation opportunities.
Okeechobee, Florida, has prime access to fishing opportunities as well as the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail. Additionally, the town boasts historical significance as well as an annual Music and Arts Festival that has drawn upwards of 30,000 people to attend.
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What Makes Lake Okeechobee Unique?
Lake Okeechobee is not your average everyday lake. It is quite large. As we previously mentioned, it is one of the largest inland lakes in the contiguous United States. Despite this, the average depth of the lake is about 9 feet.
The lake is surrounded almost entirely by a 100-ft wide dike that serves as the basis for the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail. This 110 mile-long hiking trail is a part of the larger Florida National Scenic Trail that is over 1,300 miles long. The Florida National Scenic Trail is designated by the U.S. government as a National Scenic Trail.
Lake Okeechobee has quoted the reputation in the fishing world. The lake is known for its trophy but also is home to crappie, bluegill and other varieties of fish. The most attractive part of Okeechobee for fisherman is the quantity in which fish are spawned. Lake Okeechobee has been named the number six lake among 100 for bass fishing.
The lake is even home to a commercial catfish fishery. Because of the size of the lake and the prominence of marine plant life, the lake is biologically capable of supporting the heavy fishing it receives.
The lake is designated for use by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for several environmental purposes such as flood risk management, water supply uses, salinity control in estuaries, and even the enhancement of fish and wildlife.
Add Lake Okeechobee to Your List of Must-Visit Fishing and Hiking Adventures
Lake Okeechobee is a hidden gem in Florida. For many, when they think of Florida they imagine endless white coastlines or tropical getaways. The reality is that the state has much more to offer tourists and adventurers alike.
Lake Okeechobee boasts beautiful scenery, plentiful hiking and biking trails, and some of the best fishing that can be found inland in the U.S.
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