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Overview

The “Big Water” of Lake Okeechobee is an inland sea, a freshwater frontier covering 730 square miles, a shallow lake that once directly fed the Everglades River of Grass until the Herbert Hoover Dike was built in the 1930s after two horrific hurricanes wiped out lakeside communities. Being ringed by the 35-foot-tall earthen dam managed by the Army Corps of Engineers prevented lakeshore development from happening, so the communities surrounding the lake remain rural and friendly, with historic hotels and quiet fish camps catering to anglers. It’s a huge draw for snowbirds, who come in winter with their RVs to set up housekeeping in the many ...

The “Big Water” of Lake Okeechobee is an inland sea, a freshwater frontier covering 730 square miles, a shallow lake that once directly fed the Everglades River of Grass until the Herbert Hoover Dike was built in the 1930s after two horrific hurricanes wiped out lakeside communities. Being ringed by the 35-foot-tall earthen dam managed by the Army Corps of Engineers prevented lakeshore development from happening, so the communities surrounding the lake remain rural and friendly, with historic hotels and quiet fish camps catering to anglers. It’s a huge draw for snowbirds, who come in winter with their RVs to set up housekeeping in the many campgrounds that surround the lake. Lake Okeechobee is the second largest lake entirely within the United States, and is surrounded by fields of sugar cane and cattle ranches on broad open prairies, as well as two Seminole reservations. At the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, you can immerse in native culture at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum and in the wilds of the swamps on a quiet walk, an airboat ride, or a narrated swamp buggy tour at Billie Swamp Safari. A prime destination for birding, fishing, and hiking, it’s a place where you can truly relax.

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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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Fall, winter, and spring