Covering 730 square miles with an average depth 9 feet and max depth of 13 feet, Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in Florida. The name Okeechobee comes from the Hitchiti words oki (water) and chubi (big). Common alternate names used when referring to the lake include "The Lake", "Florida's Inland Sea", or "The Big O". The lake spans 5 Florida counties including Glades, Okeechobee, Martin, Palm Beach, and Hendry County. Lake Okeechobee's 451,000 acres are the headwaters of the Everglades. The Kissimmee River is one of the main water sources for the lake. Additional water flows into the lake from Fisheating Creek, Lake Istokpoga, and Taylor Creek.
Built in 1928 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Herbert Hoover Dike encloses the lake with a 30 foot dike. The 110 mile Florida National Scenic Trail encircles the lake and is a popular attraction for hikers and bikers. Located at the north end of the lake, the town of Okeechobee, FL is a popular trail access point. The annual Big O Hike is held on the trail every November. Participants hike a lap around Lake Okeechobee dividing the trek over multiple days.
Lake Okeechobee Recreational Activities
Recreational activities at the lake include, boating, camping, fishing, airboat rides, horseback riding, wildlife watching, hiking and biking. For additional recreation information see the Lake Okeechobee Recreation information page.
Lake Okeechobee is known as a great lake for catching large mouth bass and black crappie. Fishing is available year round to anglers of all ages. The most common fish species include largemouth bass, speckled perch, black crappie, catfish, and bluegill. For additional fishing information see the Lake Okeechobee Fishing information page.
Numerous campgrounds are available for tent campers as well as RV campers. Most developed campground locations amenities include water and electrical hookups, restrooms, showers, fresh water, and dump stations.