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Lake Okeechobee: Legendary Bass and Lots of Fun

Okeechobee is a Seminole Indian word meaning “big water,” and Lake Okeechobee, a 730 square mile fresh water lake, lives up to its name. The largest lake in Florida, it is a vital part of the central Florida ecosystem. A lakefront house or cottage on these shores is an ideal location for the nature lover and fisherman.

Fishing & Boating

Fishing has brought visitors to the shores of Lake Okeechobee since the Seminoles. The largemouth bass are known to be record setting and speckled perch, black crappie, blue gills, and catfish are plentiful. Fishing guides know the waters well, and the tackle shops will make sure you have the right equipment. Boat rentals are available. If you bring your own rig, there is easy launching to be found at an assortment of boat ramps. You may even choose a waterfront rental with the convenience of your own dock.

Boaters know the lake as the central point of the Okeechobee Waterway connecting the east and west coasts of Florida. The Ortona Lock and Dam on the west side and the Port Mayaca Lock on the east shore offer an interesting view of boats locking through to access the water level of the lake. Rent a boat or take a tour. Don’t overlook the airboat rides. Several outfits offer exciting airboat adventures with unforgettable views of gators, bears, and the beautiful scenery of the marshes and cypress trees.

Food

You will of course be wanting to fry up some of your own fresh catch, but the home-style restaurants in the charming towns that border the lake will be tempting. In Okeechobee, Lightsey’s is a landmark and draws visitors from all over for the Sunday buffet featuring gator, catfish, oysters, frog legs and other Southern specialties. BBQ is not forgotten, and the Hispanic community assures the Mexican restaurants offer authentic and enticing dishes.

Discoveries

Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail runs along the edge of the lake offering a 110 mile tour from the vantage point of the 35-foot high Herbert Hoover Dike. It is perfect for hiking and cycling, and the views of the water are accented by the many types of wildlife you will see. The habitat, tied into the well-being of the Everglades, is protected as a National Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. The Trail can be accessed by car at different points.

Agriculture is part of the area’s charm with sugar cane fields and citrus groves. The Sugarland Express tour in Clewiston will let you taste the sweet cane right from the fields and visit the sugar mill and refinery. Local honey is a star in LaBelle, and for real pioneer food and fun take in the Swamp Cabbage Festival in February.

Weather

Out on the water of the lake, the temperatures will seem cooler, but the winter months are temperate with overnight lows in the 50s and days in the 70s. Bring your hats and sunscreen for summer days in the 80s. Some say the biggest bass are caught in the Fall when the water temperatures start to dip, but the consensus is there is never an off season for fishing on Lake Okeechobee.

How to Get There

Due to the Central Florida location, the Lake Okeechobee area is a pleasant drive through groves and cattle ranches from either Florida coast. To the north, Orlando International airport is a convenient hub to fly into and rent a car. West Palm Beach airport to the south is another option.

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Lake Okeechobee: Houses, Cottages & More (22)

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                                              Recent Lake Okeechobee Reviews

                                              Family Vacation

                                              5 of 5
                                              We were raised in Okeechobee and bring our family down every couple years to visit with my husbands family and old friends. The house was a little further out than we realized but was very comfortable. we felt very at home and the caretakers were the nicest people. Very spacious and was able to have family over to visit us. Thank you so much for the hospitality. We will deffinatly rent this property again on our next visit.
                                              • Submitted: Jul 14, 2016
                                              • Stayed: Jul 2016

                                              Wonderful get away place!

                                              5 of 5
                                              I stayed at the cabin four days. It is a beautiful place, very clean and spacious. The beds are very comfortable, the sheets smelled clean and fresh, it really felt like home away from home. It is equipped with everything you need. The area is very well kept, the view is great. To the front you can see a water way wear you can fish or just enjoy the sunsets which are breath taking, then look out the back window and you have a very well kept pool. My children loved that they could sleep in the loft and the view from upstairs is beautiful. I really appreciated the attention from the owner of the property, he made sure I had no problems, was always available if I needed anything. I really look forward to visiting again and for sure would recommend to my friends and family. Thank you Abe.
                                              • Submitted: Jul 13, 2016
                                              • Stayed: Jul 2016

                                              Great trip

                                              5 of 5
                                              Our family enjoyed our stay at Buckhead Ridge. The home was clean and conveniently located to get to fishing in canals , River and lake. We would definitely stay again. Would recommend staying here to any of my family or friends.
                                              • Submitted: Jun 21, 2016
                                              • Stayed: Jun 2016