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Lake Okeechobee to Key West
Exploring Southern Florida's Cities & Wilderness
Let’s explore ‘keechobee to the Keys! From the largest freshwater lake in the Sunshine State to the glorious scenery of U.S. Route 1, this tour of southern Florida is hard matched. Along the way, we’ll see small-town museums, the tops spots of Miami, Everglades National Park, and historic sites of Key West.
Let's start our tour of southern Florida in Clewiston. Known as America's Sweetest Town, Clewiston is set on the southern bank of Lake Okeechobee – found just south of the city of Okeechobee itself.
Clewiston is full of small-town attractions waiting for Florida road trippers.
Be sure to stroll through the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum for a taste of area heritage, or head to the Clewiston Museum for natural and local history – or maybe sign up for a Historical Eco Tour.
Check your calendar for local events in Clewiston. See if you can catch Seminole Heritage Day in early April back at the Clewiston Museum, or enjoy one of the many speaker programs on topics like Belle Glade Culture, and “Patrick Smith's Florida is a Land Remembered.”
Also in Clewiston, the Dixie Crystal Theatre is found on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places – and provides a great photo opp. While in operation the Clewiston Theatre was a current and independent movie theater, and music venue.
Lake Okeechobee is Florida’s largest freshwater lake – which is really saying something. With a surface area of more than 730 square miles, the Big O offers everything from fishing and nature trails to plain old R&R.
Be sure to reel in some bluegill, largemouth bass, and crappie while boating or casting from the shore. Those looking to stay dry can hike part of the Florida National Scenic Trail along the banks of Lake Okeechobee, enjoy a picnic lunch, or simply catch up on some summer reading.
From Clewiston, take U.S. Route 27 south through scenic areas like the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Wildlife Management Area. Trace the inner-eastern coastline of Florida though the western outskirts of Miami.
Be sure to stop in cities Kendall and Florida City near stops like Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport and Florida International University. The cities are nestled neatly between the bustle of Greater Miami, and the unmatched scenery of Everglades National Park.
The metropolis that is Miami is packed with museums, shopping, professional sports, outdoor activities, and world-famous beaches.
Load up the car with booty from Bayside Marketplace and the famed Miracle Mile, or take the kids to see the animals at Jungle Island or Zoo Miami. Don’t miss educational attractions like the Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Science, the Vizcaya Museum, HistoryMiami, and the Miami Art Museum.
Sports fans can check out NBA’s Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena, MLB’s Miami Marlins at Marlins Park, NHL’s Florida Panthers at BB&T Center, and of course, NFL’s Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium.
And if you’re looking for some impressive architecture, check out the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and the Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College.
If you’re looking for a party, Miami is your place.
Music lovers enjoy the Ultra Music Festival, the Winter Music Conference, and Carnaval Miami – also featuring incredible food, shopping, and fun in early October.
Other unique events in Miami include the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami, the Art Deco Weekend Festival in January, Art Basel in Wynwood Art District in December, Miami International Film Festival, and countless arts, food, and heritage festivals.
Neighboring Miami, Everglades National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site covering over 1.5 million acres.
Head to the Royal Palm Visitor Center or Shark Valley Visitor Center before setting out on short trails like the paved Anhinga Trail and Gumbo Limbo Trail. Lengthier trails include Snake Bight, Rowdy Bend, and Christian Point.
Other activities in the Everglades include cycling along the Shark Valley Bike Trail and the LPK Bike Trail, plus fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing – at your own risk of course.
So far we’ve seen Lake Okeechobee, the sights of Miami, and the dazzling wilderness of Everglades National Park – but the peak of this drive tour has yet to be reached.
Starting Florida City, we’ll take U.S. Route 1 for a three-hour trip through the world-famous Florida Keys. Move south through the Southern Glades to Key Largo, and stay on the Florida Keys Scenic Byway all the way to the “Southernmost City in the Continental United States.”
Be sure to get a photo in front of the Southernmost Point Marker – the monument marking the southernmost point in the Lower 48. A colorful buoy marks the spot at South Street and Whitehead Street – labeled with “The Conch Republic” and “90 Miles to Cuba.”
Literary fans, see the famed Hemingway cats at the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, and check out the annual Papa Look-Alike Contest at historic Sloppy Joe's tavern. And that’s not all in the Conch Republic, the Tennessee Williams House is right around the corner, while each January brings the Key West Literary Seminar.
Don’t miss other historic sites like the Harry S. Truman Little White House, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, and the nearby Dry Tortugas National Park.
Explore Key West Historic District and grab lunch on the boardwalk, and walk it off at the Key West Museum of Art & History, Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, or the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.
Key West is packed with biking routes for those looking to explore on two wheels.
Other outdoor activities include beach lounging, boat tours, walking tours of hot spots like Key West Cemetery and Mallory Square, and plenty of wildlife viewing (i.e. cats and chickens).