Arcadia, Sebring, Okeechobee and Lake Placid
In the rodeo town of Arcadia, buy yourself a pair of cowboy boots and mosey around town to look at the circa 1880 buildings and antique shops. Follow in history's and cattlemen's footsteps (without having to sidestep cow pies). Arcadia is located at the crossroads of Highway 17 and Highway 70, in the heart of the state. Avon Park's historic district dates back to 1912, with neo-classical and Art Deco flair. The Depot Museum and Historical Society of Avon Park, 3 N. Museum Ave., resides in the town's old railroad depot. Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and the first Saturday of every month. Call (863) 453-3525.
To the south, '20s boomtown Sebring is synonymous today with car racing, but back then, the railroad meant its success. Explore its intriguing collection of vintage structures and charming circular downtown.
Today we follow the region's roots straight into the heart of Florida agriculture, where cattle still range and sandhill cranes fill the skies and grasslands. From Route 80 (Palm Beach Boulevard), we'll head north on Route 31 to the old logging town of Babcock, the Crescent B Ranch and the Telegraph Cypress Swamp.
Continue along State Route 31 north to Arcadia, canoeing headquarters for trips along the aptly named Peace River. Florida's oldest and largest canoe outfitter, Canoe Outpost - Peace River, at 2816 N.W. County Road 661, is ready to take you on a paddling adventure. Call 800-268-0083.
Take Route 70 east out of town and then take 441 South for a few miles to head to Okeechobee, a farming community on the shores of Lake Okeechobee, a bass fishing haven of Florida. The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail loops the lake with 110 miles for cyclists and hikers. Call (863) 983-8101.
From Arcadia, take 70 West, turn right on County Road 661 and turn left on County Road 665 toward teeny Ona, whose claim to fame is Solomon's Castle, 4533 Solomon Rd. The Castle, built by Renaissance man Howard Solomon (equal parts artisan and comedian), contains galleries of his art and more than 80 interpretive stained glass windows. The Boat in The Moat, also built by the artist, is a replica of a 16th century Spanish galleon and houses the Castle's restaurant. Hours: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Tues. - Sun. Call (863) 494-6077.