“Okeechobee” comes from the Hitchiti language and translates to “big water.” Covering 730 square miles, it is easy to see why the lake received the name. It is the largest freshwater lake in Florida and the third largest in the country. Surprisingly, the lake is shallow, with an average depth of 9 feet.
Where Is It?
The lake borders five counties—Glades, Hendry, Martin, Palm Beach and Okeechobee— in southeastern Florida, roughly 40 miles northwest of West Palm Beach and at the Everglades’ north edge.
After deadly hurricanes in the 1920s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the Herbert Hoover Dike in the 1930s to reduce flooding. Not only does the dike still help with flooding, it is also part of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail—a multiuse path atop the 35-foot-tall dike. The path gives an elevated view of the lake and wildlife.
A Fisher’s Dream
Lake Okeechobee is known for some of the best bass fishing in the world. The lake is also full of bream, catfish, crappie, sunfish and other species. The area has many amenities for fishing enthusiasts, offering a array of lodgings, plus many marinas and boat ramps.
An Important Habitat
While fish may be the main attraction, the Lake Okeechobee area also is known for wildlife. Manatees, alligators, turkeys and wild hogs are seen throughout the region. A National Audubon Society Wildlife Sanctuary protects the area due to the endangered birds that live there.
For more about Okeechobee tourism, contact the Okeechobee County Tourist Development Council at www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/departments/tourist-development, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 863-763-3959.