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Two different faces of Florida meet in Kissimmee-St Cloud, known today as the gateway to Central Florida’s theme parks but known throughout Florida history as the gateway to the great frontier. Perched on the rim of Lake Tohopekaliga (known as “Lake Toho” around here), Kissimmee was once Florida’s largest inland port, from which steamships departed to Lake Okeechobee. Its creeks and rivers form the headwaters of the Florida Everglades. Well before US 192 was lined with hotels, restaurants, and themed attractions in the wake of Walt Disney World, these adjoining cities were the heart of the cattle industry, and retain respect for that ...

Two different faces of Florida meet in Kissimmee-St Cloud, known today as the gateway to Central Florida’s theme parks but known throughout Florida history as the gateway to the great frontier. Perched on the rim of Lake Tohopekaliga (known as “Lake Toho” around here), Kissimmee was once Florida’s largest inland port, from which steamships departed to Lake Okeechobee. Its creeks and rivers form the headwaters of the Florida Everglades. Well before US 192 was lined with hotels, restaurants, and themed attractions in the wake of Walt Disney World, these adjoining cities were the heart of the cattle industry, and retain respect for that heritage through the renowned Silver Spurs Rodeo, one of the nation’s oldest, and the hundreds of thousands of acres of cattle ranches that spread southward from this point. The Kissimmee chain of lakes hosts world-renowned bass tournaments and is a prime destination for anglers, whether on guided trips or casting from the many piers and parks on the lakeshores. Whether an airboat, swamp buggy, kayak, or zipline is your speed, you’ll find it here in a region where outdoor recreation shines.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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Sandra Friend for Triporati

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