A Few Thoughts on Okeechobee

By: Gary McKechnie


It’s not Okeechobee’s fault that it happens to be pretty far removed from the interstates, but it’s definitely had an effect.

On me at least.

I remember when I was a kid, our family would leave Maitland and drive south to visit my grandmother in Miami and my dad – who had made the same trip over and over in the pre-interstate era – seemed to be on autopilot as he’d navigate Highway 27 and then ease onto 441 and we’d see orange groves and lakes until we reached the halfway point: Okeechobee.

Then I got my driver license and, often being in a hurry, too often turned my attention to the interstates.

But last week I returned to the road less traveled and arrived in Okeechobee. It was bigger than the circa 1968 town I recalled, but it was pleasing. There were a bunch of teens hanging out in a park, a breakfast/lunch diner called ‘Gladys,’ and then there was Lake Okeechobee itself.

At 730 square miles, this is the second-largest freshwater lake in the Lower 48 (Lake Michigan takes the prize).

It’s also a calming place. Nancy and I drove over the levee and walked out onto a pier and looked across the water and we did something that few people do.

We stopped. Far from the interstates, far from the sameness of progress, we stopped and enjoyed Lake Okeechobee.

To learn more, see Okeechobee.

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