Okeechobee Travel Guide

Discover the top attractions, activities, hiking/biking routes, food and drink scene, where to stay, and more with this comprehensive guide to Okeechobee, Florida.

Introduction to Okeechobee

Nestled in the heart of Florida, Okeechobee is a small town filled with warm Southern hospitality and a laid-back lifestyle, making it the perfect destination for those looking to relax and unwind. With a population of just over 5,000, Okeechobee is situated on the northern shore of Lake Okeechobee, the second-largest freshwater lake in the country.

While often overlooked in favor of its more famous neighbors, Okeechobee offers visitors a wealth of attractions and activities, from natural wonders to cultural landmarks. Whether you’re interested in exploring the great outdoors or delving into the town’s rich history and local culture, Okeechobee has something for everyone.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the top places to visit, best things to do, hiking and biking routes, food and drink scene, where to stay, and much more.

List of Places to Visit in Okeechobee

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • The Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park - This park commemorates the Second Seminole War’s Battle of Okeechobee, which took place in 1837. Visitors can explore the site of the battle and learn about the history of the war at the park’s visitor center.

  • The Okeechobee County Historical Society Museum - Located in the heart of downtown Okeechobee, this museum showcases the local history of the area, including a gallery devoted to the Seminole Indians and the local cattle industry.

  • Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center - Founded in the 1980s, this wildlife sanctuary provides care and rehabilitation for injured or orphaned animals, including native Florida species such as alligators, panthers, and birds of prey.

Natural Attractions of Okeechobee: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail - This 110-mile trail circles the lake and offers stunning views of the water and local wildlife. The trail is popular among hikers and bikers alike, and offers plenty of opportunities for fishing and picnicking.

  • Hammock State Park - Home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, this park offers a perfect escape into the natural beauty of Florida. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, bird watching, and even camping in a primitive setting.

  • Taylor Creek Stormwater Treatment Area - This area is a popular destination for birdwatchers, with over 200 species of birds passing through or nesting in the park. Visitors can also enjoy fishing, hiking, and biking along the levee system.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Okeechobee

  • The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail - As mentioned earlier, this 110-mile trail is an excellent choice for hikers and bikers alike. The trail is well-marked and offers plenty of opportunities for rest stops and sightseeing.

  • Okee-Tantie Campground and Marina Bike Trail - This paved 3-mile trail is perfect for families or those looking for a short ride. Located along the lakeshore, visitors can enjoy stunning lakeside views and stop for a picnic at one of the many shelters along the way.

  • The Seven-Mile Bend to Taylor Creek Loop - This 7-mile loop offers a scenic and challenging ride for experienced bikers. The trail takes you through the natural beauty of Taylor Creek and provides stunning views of the surrounding area.

Best Things to Do in Okeechobee: Activities and Tours

  • Airboat Tours - Experience the thrill of gliding over the water on a high-speed airboat tour - a popular activity for visitors to the area.

  • Fishing - With its abundance of freshwater lakes and rivers, Okeechobee is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy guided fishing tours, or simply grab their rod and reel and try their luck on their own.

  • Horseback Riding - From gentle trail rides to guided tours of the local ranches, Okeechobee offers plenty of options for horseback riding enthusiasts.

Week-Long Itinerary for Okeechobee

Day 1: Arrival and Exploration of Downtown Okeechobee

Explore the charming downtown area and spend some time at the Okeechobee County Historical Society Museum.

Day 2: Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail

Hike or bike a portion of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail and enjoy the stunning lakeside views and abundant wildlife.

Day 3: Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Horseback Riding

Visit Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for an up-close look at Florida’s native species, then take a guided horseback tour of the local ranches.

Day 4: Hammock State Park

Spend a day in nature at Hammock State Park, with its diverse range of flora and fauna.

Day 5: Airboat Tour and Fishing

Take an exhilarating airboat tour of the local waterways, then try your hand at fishing in one of the many freshwater lakes and rivers in the area.

Day 6: Taylor Creek Stormwater Treatment Area

Explore the trails and birdwatch at Taylor Creek Stormwater Treatment Area, one of the best birdwatching destinations in the country.

Day 7: Departure

Say goodbye to Okeechobee and head home, or plan your next adventure to one of the nearby destinations.

Food and Drink Scene of Okeechobee

Must-Try Dishes

  • Grilled Catfish - A classic Southern dish, grilled catfish is a must-try when visiting Okeechobee.

  • Fried Gator Tail - A delicacy in Florida, fried gator tail is a unique and tasty dish to try.

  • Cracker Cow Burger - Made from local beef, the Cracker Cow Burger is a delicious and filling meal.

Local Beverages

  • Orange Juice - Florida is known for its fresh citrus, and Okeechobee is no exception. Be sure to try some of the local orange juice during your stay.

  • Craft Beer - Okeechobee is home to several craft breweries, offering a unique taste of local flavor.

Where to Stay in Okeechobee: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Holiday Inn Express - Located just minutes from downtown Okeechobee, this hotel offers amenities such as a fitness center, outdoor pool, and complimentary breakfast.

  • Lake Okeechobee Resort and Marina - This lakeside resort is perfect for those looking to enjoy water sports and fishing. The hotel features a marina, restaurant, and swimming pool.

  • Budget Inn - A no-frills option for those on a budget, this motel offers clean and comfortable accommodations in a convenient location.

What to Buy in Okeechobee: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Cracker Cattle Merchandise - Okeechobee has a rich history in the cattle industry, and visitors can bring home products such as locally-made beef jerky.

  • Native American Crafts - Visitors can support local Seminole artisans by purchasing handmade crafts such as pottery, jewelry, and baskets.

Local Culture and Customs of Okeechobee

Okeechobee’s local culture is heavily influenced by its history in the cattle industry and the presence of the Seminole Indians. Visitors should be respectful of these cultural traditions and try to learn more about the area’s past and present.

Best Time to Visit Okeechobee

The best time to visit Okeechobee is between November and April, when the weather is cooler and more comfortable for outdoor activities. However, the summer months offer plenty of water activities and fishing opportunities.

Do’s and Don’ts of Okeechobee


  • Respect the area’s natural surroundings and wildlife.
  • Take the time to learn about the area’s history and local culture.
  • Enjoy the abundance of outdoor activities and water sports.


  • Feed or disturb the local wildlife.
  • Disrespect local customs or traditions.
  • Litter or damage the natural surroundings.

Safety and Health

Safety in Okeechobee

Okeechobee is generally a safe town, but visitors should take normal precautions, such as locking doors and windows and being aware of their surroundings at night.

Health in Okeechobee

Visitors should be aware of the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus and Zika virus. It is recommended to wear mosquito repellent and protect exposed skin, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Getting to Okeechobee: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Okeechobee

  • Palm Beach International Airport - Located 50 miles east of Okeechobee.

  • Orlando International Airport - Located 120 miles north of Okeechobee.

Bus Stations Near Okeechobee

  • Greyhound Bus Lines - Located in nearby Sebring.

Other Options

  • Car - Okeechobee is accessible by car via major highways such as I-95, I-75, and the Florida Turnpike.

How to Get Around in Okeechobee

The best way to get around Okeechobee is by car. However, the town is also easily walkable, with many attractions located within a short distance of each other.

Where to Go Next from Okeechobee: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Orlando - Located just 120 miles north of Okeechobee, Orlando offers world-renowned theme parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios.

  • Miami - Located 130 miles southeast of Okeechobee, Miami is known for its vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and rich cultural scene.

  • Tampa - Located 140 miles west of Okeechobee, Tampa is a bustling city with attractions such as Busch Gardens and the Florida Aquarium.


Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Okeechobee has something for everyone. From exploring the town’s rich history and local culture to enjoying the natural wonders of Florida, this small town in the heart of the state offers a unique and enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages.