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EcoTourism | Okeechobee County FL

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For the Best Florida Eco Vacation, Look No Further than Okeechobee!

brown horse looking at camera with horses and trees in background

 

Calling all nature lovers to Okeechobee County in warm and sunny Florida. Arrive with expectations and leave only your footprints, but hold onto the memories for as long as you like. Okeechobee is the perfect ecotourism location in present-day United States being largely untouched and proud of the heritage it openly shares with socially-responsible travelers.

Okeechobee might sound like an obscure village in some faraway fantasy world, but this exotically-titled destination is actually a wildlife paradise situated in Central Florida.  The small rural community sits to the north of Lake Okeechobee. It has a big heart and is wonderfully in touch with its natural surroundings.

A call to all things green is not surprising considering its proximity to such stunning surroundings. Guaranteed to be an ecotourist dream destination, there is a real sense of getting back to nature in this diverse community. Birdwatchers, nature lovers, Eco-tourists, and entomologists alike are not to be disappointed by this subtropical paradise of Okeechobee.

Wildlife

The local ecosystem is a fascinating find, boasting an impressive variety of wings, scales, and fins, all in one exciting location. Indigenous fauna and flora flourish in this humid subtropical habitat. The natural habitat has made a truly remarkable recovery after being subjected to the infamous Okeechobee Hurricane in 1928 (the first Category-5 storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic).

Filled with a plethora of captivating creatures, Okeechobee plays host to all manner of natural residents in the submerged vegetation. Lake Okeechobee, for instance, has housed one of the highest concentrations of alligators in the region over the past fifteen years. The wildlife searches atop a local airboat present a comfortable viewing of slimier, slithering animals of interest, too.

Birdlife

Okeechobee’s feathered friends are one of the main attractions for ecotourists to the area. Avid birders can’t help but be drawn to the array of avian treasure troves in the area, including several rare and endangered species.  Sit for awhile on the banks of the lake and the rich diversity of the ecosystem becomes glaringly obvious.

Birdwatchers may have the chance to observe significant species such as the Purple Gallinule, the Snail Kite, and a huge array of ducks and waterfowl, like Limpkins (sometimes referred to as ‘crying birds’). Special prizes on any birding checklist in Florida are the rare or large species such as the Sandhill Crane, Crested Caracara, and Mottled Duck.

There is even a good chance of sighting the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, one of Florida’s most endangered birds. They are common to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park. For an outdoor birding paradise it is recommended you visit the awesome bird watching trails at the Taylor Creek Stormwater Treatment Area and the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail, which circles Lake Okeechobee.

Activity

If quiet birding viewing is not the only thing you had in mind, there are also plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained. There are so many activities we offer, so dive right in.

Airboats

Commonly used for fishing, bowfishing, hunting, and ecotourism, this is a fantastic all-round experience for the whole family to enjoy. Airboats are a popular means of transportation in marshy and shallow areas. Standard inboard or outboard engine with a submerged propeller would be impractical in these areas, especially where when exploring the grass-filled trails and thickets around Lake Okeechobee.

Horse Riding

The strength of a horse under your saddle makes for a magnificent connection with the natural world. If you are winding down from the airboat or looking to get off your feet for a while, how about an exhilarating horseback ride through Okeechobee's lush trails with one of the experienced guides from Wagon Wheel Horse Farm?  Relax and breathe in the harmony as you experience the rocking of a majestic stride and the beauty of natural Florida all around you.

Angling

Angling is a dream in the ‘Speckled Perch Capital’ as attested to by the festivities of the annual celebration in March. Being an Eco-conscious destination, there are strict regulations to ensure protection of all species but it is well worth it.

Tours

When you want to get out but need some direction, a tour in and around Lake Okeechobee may be just what you need. Interested in taking a tour? Contact one of our experienced tour guides for more information:

Eagle Bay Airboat Tours,

Gator Hunt Airboat Rides,

Johns' Guide Service, and

Florida Airboat Charters.

Ecotourism

Aware of the unique position of its natural habitat, Okeechobee is making an effort to make itself known as a responsible ecotourism destination.  The tourism agencies and small to medium enterprises of the region are focused on showcasing the pristine natural resources without degrading the beauty of it all. It’s all about conservation, so future generations can enjoy the ecosystem in its most authentic form for decades to come.

A serene landscape provides shelter from the rat race and eases the senses. There are breathtaking discoveries nestled within the region’s meandering waterways, as the lake sparkles under the famed Florida sunshine and Taylor Creek greets the sunrise. There is a grand opportunity to experience nature in its raw form, and to leave only footprints (or the ripples of an airboat wake) behind you.

Take your visit to another level and climb aboard an airboat! A flat-bottomed watercraft propelled by an aircraft-esque propeller, it is powered by either an aircraft or an automotive engine. It is a sublime experience and can navigate the shallow waters with both elegance and speed.  There is no more exciting way to experience nature than to get up close and personal with the cunning ‘gators’, waddling birds and other creatures that make Lake Okeechobee their home.

The Okeechobee Way

Okeechobee has a way of finding its way into your heart, calling you back again and again. People here understand the delicate balance between progress and ecology, and they are genuinely interested in preserving this beautiful place for future generations. Come to Okeechobee and find your way back to what matters - simplicity, nature, and lasting contentment.