Hendry-Glades County, Fl. - Ecotourism

The Best In Hendry and Glades County, Florida

Hendry County, on Lake Okeechobee's southwestern shore, is a sparsely populated rural county and home of LaBelle's famous Swamp Cabbage Festival held the last full weekend of February. Other festivals include the Hendry County Fair in March, and the Clewiston Sugar Festival in April. Hendry county is among the top in amount of citrus trees harvested of any Florida county. Hendry is also the home to numerous large cattle ranches and thousands of acres of state forest and wildlife management areas. Hendry county is the perfect location for scenic views of cattle ranches, citrus groves, and visiting it's three small friendly communites: LaBelle, Clewiston, and Felda.Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. The Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation is the largest Seminole Indian community. A second smaller community is the Brighton Indian Reservation in Glades county, on the western side of Lake Okeechobee. The Seminoles invite the public to visit their reservations and provide gambling facilities, restaurants, overnight accomodations, and hunting and fishing trips.

Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest. The Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest is one of the largest state forests in South Florida. Located south of LaBelle on County Road 832, the pristine forest covers 32,039 acres and is one of the few places in South Florida in which the pre-Columbian landscape can be observed. The area was logged in the early 1900s for making railroad ties and then used as a cattle ranch before being bought by the state. At one time there was even an oil well on the property. The unique natural system now is the roaming area for Florida panther, black bear, sandhill crane, wood stork and gopher tortoise.

LaBelle, Hendry County's county seat, hosts the annual Swamp Cabbage Festival in February as well as numerous community events during the year. Located on the scenic Caloosahatchee River it is the perfect spot for hiking, boating, fishing and relaxed smalltown hospitality. Click here for LaBelle, Florida information and for things to do and see in the area go to Hendry, Glades Local Attractions .

Glades County

Glades County borders the western side of Lake Okeechobee. Outdoor activities abound in this rural county. Most of the county's land is used for cattle ranching and pine tree farming operations. Moore Haven, at the western shore of Lake Okeechobee, is the county seat of Glades County.

Brighton Seminole Reservation, northwest of Moore Haven is the second largest Seminole Indian Reservation in the country and has a Bingo Hall centered in the rural community.

Buckhead Ridge Marina, located just east of the county line in Okeechobee county, offers boat ramps and camping for visitors as well as an excellent restaurant. In the Lakeport area, are plenty of lake oriented activities including fishing, boating, and quiet relaxing along the country's second largest freshwater lake. Click here for Buckhead Ridge information, Glades county's largest community.

Ortona Indian Mound Park, located on State Road 78 northeast of LaBelle and just north of the Ortona Locks is a very quiet park with few visitors and is the site of ancient Indian Mounds. There are plenty of trails and picnic tables for visitors.

Geocaching is a popular sport/game in the Hendry, Glades and Lee county area. Hidden treasures are sought by participants using handheld GPS receivers. See the website at www.geocaching.com for locations of local treasures all over the world and more information on the sport. There are dozens of hidden caches located in the Hendry, Glades, and Lee county parks and greenbelts. One example of a local geocache in Glades county and near LaBelle is at: Ortona Indian Mound Park

Lake Okeechobee - The Big Lake

Lake Okeechobee is the nation's second largest freshwater lake. To the Seminole Indians, Lake Okeechobee means "big water." The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail is part of the Florida National Scenic Trail. There are 110 miles of trails for hikers and bicyclists around the lake. The Scenic Trail travels along the rim of the 35-foot high Herbert Hoover Dike. At the present time it is a one lane paved or crushed rock road easily accessible by mountain bikes and hikers. There are plans to improve the trailhead facilities in the coming months. Regular bike and ecology tours are available throughout the year

(Photo: A Bicycle and hiking trail is on the dike "rim" circling Lake Okeechobee)

Lake Okeechobee was developed by the Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District for flood control.

On the North side of the lake, the Scenic Trail can be accessed from three managed trailheads:

    • Nubben Slough

    • Okee-Tantie

    • Lock 7

On the Sorth side of the lake, the Scenic Trail can be accessed from these trailheads:

    • Moore Haven

    • Clewiston

    • South Bay

Lake Okeechobee

    • 33 miles long by 30 miles wide

    • 2nd Largest Freshwater Lake in the U.S.

    • Approx. 140 miles of levee, average height - 34 feet

Okeechobee Waterway

    • 152 miles long

    • Maximum lift 13 feet at St. Lucie Lock

    • Bridge clearance 49 feet at Port Myaca

Waterway Depths and Widths

    • St. Lucie to Port Mayaca - 8' x 100'

    • Port Mayaca to Clewiston - 6' x 80'

    • Port Mayaca to Clewiston - 8' x 100'

    • Clewiston to Moore Haven - 8' x 80'

    • Moore Haven to W. P. Franklin - 8' x 90'

Camping facilities are at the Okee-Tantie Recreational area on the northwest corner of the lake at Buckhead Ridge. Facilities are available for fishing, camping as well as an excellent restaurant. Fishing guides and boat captains are also available. Lake Okeechobee , in the center of Florida is an important link of the Intra-Coastal Waterway System, allowing boats to travel from the Atlantic Ocean at Stuart to the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Myers. On the eastern Atlantic side of Florida, the St. Lucie Canal begins at Stuart and runs to Lake Okeechobee. On the western end of the lake, the Moore Haven Lock provides access to the Caloosahatchee River which travels to Ft. Myers on the Gulf of Mexico.

Fish Camps and Accomodations in the area include:

(all in area code 863)

Angler's Villa 763-5060

Angler's Waterfront Motel 763-4031

Big Bass Lodge & RV's 763-4031

Big Bass Lodge 946-1707

Big Lake Lodge & RV Park, Inc. 763-4638

Dew Drop Inn 763-3241

EEEE Fishing Camp 763-3330

Fisherman's Village 946-0722

Little Big Man's Marina 946-1441

Roland Martin's Lakeside Marina 983-3151

Slim's Fish Camp (772) 996-3844

Uncle Joe's Marina and Motel 983-9421

Walt Reynolds - Florida Fishing - Fishin' Tips!

Area Real Estate Companies for rental and sales in the Southwest Florida area:

Southwest Florida Area Real Estate Web Sites

Other Links To Area Information