BestThings to Do in Okeechobee County, Florida
Okeechobee County is a hidden paradise in the Florida Heartland. It offers many attractions for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike. From airboating and fishing on Lake Okeechobee to a wildlife sanctuary, a full spectrum of great outdoor fun awaits you and the whole family!
The northern shore of Lake Okeechobee hosts many RV parks and fishing camps. Downtown Okeechobee sports a wide grassy boulevard with military monuments and artifacts. It has pleasant, walkable public spaces. Downtown has many shops, restaurants, and historic buildings.
Below are the top 10 things to do in Okeechobee County, Florida.
Airboating is popular in Okeechobee County for fishing, hunting, and ecotourism. Airboats are flat-bottomed and equipped with aircraft-type propellers and automotive or plane engines. They're a fantastic way to explore the shallow Lake Okeechobee, with the grass-filled trails and thickets surrounding the lake.
Airboats work best in marshy or shallow waterways. Standard inboard or outboard boat engines with submerged propellers don't work well in these areas.
Alexander Graham Bell originally invented airboats in 1905. They are unique to the Florida Everglades and other parts of the world with shallow waterways.
There are many Okeechobee County airboating outfitters online. Airboating is a great way to explore the lake and surrounding shoreline. It’s also the best way to go birding, fishing, hiking, hunting, and wildlife viewing.
2. Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Butterfly Haven
Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is a non-profit sanctuary for animals recovered or rescued from the wild. They have a two-fold mission—rescuing, rehabilitating, and returning recovered animals to their natural habitats, and public outreach. Arnold's Wildlife Rehabilitation Center raises awareness about biodiversity in Okeechobee County and the world.
Your visit will be all about the animals. Some have sustained injuries that prevented their return to the wild and will live out their days at the sanctuary. Visitor’s donations help support both the resident animals and those rehabilitated and returned to the wild.
Get ready to see a variety of animals from all over. Wallabies, kangaroos, tortoises, white-tailed deer, a lemur, and a rhinoceros iguana await you. Over 1,000 animals come through Arnold's Center every year.
There are over 300 resident animals at the sanctuary, too.
They also host Arnold's Butterfly Haven, an open-air "feeding and breeding ground" for butterflies. The butterfly garden is a half-acre in size, and the shape resembles a Zebra Longwing—the Florida State Butterfly. The enclosure contains 2,000 edible native plants for indigenous butterfly species.
Location: North of Okeechobee at 14895 NW 30th Terrace.
In addition to cash donations through PayPal, they accept items that help sustain and manage the animals. You can view the complete list of useful donations accepted and how you can help on their website.
3. Fishing Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee—the "Big O" as the locals call it—is also known as the "Black Bass Capital of the World." The main species caught in the Big O are Largemouth Bass (part of the Black Bass family), Bluegill, Crappie, and (less common) Pickerel.
There are three boat ramp sites on the lake in Okeechobee County, eighteen in total surrounding the lake. The Okeechobee County sites are C. Scott Driver Recreation Area, Henry Creek Recreation Area, and Jaycee Park. A full list of Lake Okeechobee boat ramp sites is available on the Army Corps of Engineers website.
There are many Okeechobee County fishing outfitters online. Make a day of it with the whole family and explore this freshwater paradise in South-Central Florida.
4. Hiking and Biking
Trails for hiking and biking abound in Okeechobee County. The three foremost attractions are Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (part of the Florida Trail), Taylor Creek Storm Water Treatment Area, and Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park.
The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail is a mostly paved walking and cycling trail atop the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. The Army Corps of Engineers constructed the dike after a series of hurricanes from the 1930s to the 60s.
The paved sections are near the town of Okeechobee. Among the trail's noteworthy features are the canals and locks. These include a six-mile section from the Kissimmee River to Taylor Creek.
The town of Okeechobee is one of 11 Gateway Communities which are close to the Florida Trail. Weary hikers can take advantage of lodging, restaurants, and grocery stores for supplies. These Gateway Communities also provide opportunities for publicity and economic growth for local businesses near the Florida Trail.
Kids (young and young-at-heart) will enjoy the Florida Trail Passport Program, too. Gateway Community businesses give passport stamps and souvenirs to travelers bearing the passport. Collect all of them to remember the places you visit along the gorgeous Florida Trail!
There are many segments of the Florida Trail in or near Okeechobee County for families to explore.
Okeechobee County and South-Central Florida is a sportsman's paradise. It hosts many hunting preserves. Hunters with bows and firearms alike will enjoy the wide variety of big and small game in Okeechobee County.
Specific game is in season year-round, while most other animals become available beginning sometime in August through March.
There are many hunting and fishing outfitters and preserves in South-Central Florida. The variety of game you can hunt is a little overwhelming—big and small. There are many types of migratory fowl (including unusual species of duck), deer, turkey, wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, and even ‘gator!
Some outfitters offer exclusive access to hunting on private property (with permission). Hunting preserves provide lodging and accommodations. They also have shooting ranges and guided hunting excursions.
Book your next hunting excursion in Okeechobee County for an unparalleled hunting experience.
6. Okeechobee County Museums
There are two museums in Okeechobee County. The Okeechobee Historical Society Museum and Schoolhouse and the Philippine American Cultural Foundation of Florida.
The Okeechobee Historical Society Museum and Schoolhouse includes the old school house which was built in 1907. It is full of artifacts and antiques used by early settlers and native American Indian tribes that were local to the area. You'll see various exhibits and hear exciting stories of original Okeechobee residents. The museum is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and often opens for visits from clubs and organizations by special arrangement on other days. For information, call 863-763-4344.
Location: 1850 U.S. Highway 98 in Okeechobee.
The Philippine American Cultural Foundation of Florida is a non-profit organization with plenty of influence. There is an art gallery, exciting cultural events, and exhibits about the Philippine-American experience open to the public. The group sponsors youth events and community outreach opportunities, too. They also boast a beautiful pavilion and gardens, with other fascinating projects on site.
Location: 5154 SW 16th Avenue in Okeechobee.
7. The OK Corral Gun Club
Okeechobee County is home to many gun clubs, too. They offer skeet shooting, pistol, and rifle shooting ranges, and facilities for special events. The OK Corral sports these features, as well as more unusual offerings.
They include cowboy action shooting, a competitive park, and tactical bays. The club also hosts tournaments and other shooting events.
Location: 9449 48th St NE in Okeechobee.
8. Veteran’s Memorial Park
Veteran's Memorial Park honors the men and women who fought in our nation's armed services. There are memorial walls for veterans who served during World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The park also features installations of military ordnance from past conflicts.
Location: NW Park Street in Okeechobee.
9. Wagon Wheel Horse Farm
Wagon Wheel Horse Farm offers trail rides on horseback with experienced guides. This ancient mode of travel is a lovely way to experience a part of Okeechobee County. They are open daily at 1225 NE 42nd Terrace in Okeechobee. Their website is www.wagonwheelhorsefarm.com.