America's Sweetest TownGet swept off your feet by the sweetest town in Southwest Florida- from sugar cane to swamp buggy tours, you’ll have plenty of exploring to do in Clewiston. We’ve got the best tips for making your stay in Clewiston one to remember. From where to stay, where to eat, and where to play, Clewiston and Lake Okeechobee offer something for everyone and your stay can be customized for you.
What sets Clewiston, FL, apart from other Florida vacation spots?
Sugar is queen and bass is king in Clewiston, Fl., called America’s Sweetest Town for its history of sugar cane production. The charming city of approximately 7,100 residents sits on the Southwest shore of Lake Okeechobee, the second largest freshwater lake in the United States, and hosts multiple world-class bass fishing tournaments annually. Clewiston was developed in the 1920s and incorporated in 1925. Many visitors take “sugar tours” to see how cane is grown and processed. The municipal 18-hole golf course is seldom crowded and beautifully maintained. Other city-owned recreational facilities include lighted tennis courts, library, public pool and water spray park. The Sugarland Park Recreational Facility boasts nine ballfields, racquetball courts, soccer fields, a pavilion, picnic facilities, tot lot, and basketball courts. Marinas, motels, and condominiums located on the waterway have dockage space and most of the motels and restaurants offer courtesy transportation. Through more than a half-century of growth, the town has kept its charm and beauty.
What is the history of Clewiston, FL?
The Calusa Indians, called “shell people,” are believed to be the first inhabitants of the Clewiston area and used campsites around Lake Okeechobee to fish the bountiful waters. The Spanish landed in the 1500s and they and other Europeans brought diseases such as measles and smallpox which were fatal to the Calusa population which wiped them out. Lake Okeechobee later became popular for commercial and professional fishing . The area has welcomed pioneer farmers including Japanese farmers in 1915 who grew vegetables in the rich Lake Okeechobee soil. In 1920, John and Marion O’Brien of Philadelphia and Alonzo Clewis of Tampa set to build the area’s first permanent development in 1920 and built the “M.H. and C.” railroad line to connect Clewiston and Moore Haven along the Atlantic Coast Line. Quickly, Clewiston’s progress attracted Midwesterners interested in growing and cultivating sugar, which led to the area becoming America’s Sweetest Town.
Clewiston continued to grow in the 1930s and because of World War II in the 1940s, Riddle Field saw the establishment of British Flying Training School Number Five. Young Royal Air Force pilots trained and maintained a connection to Clewiston.
Citrus, cattle and winter vegetables became important crops during the 1950s and 1960s to aide Clewiston’s economic growth. More recently, citrus crops are the primary cash crops being planted. Because of United States Sugar Corporation, sugar is Clewiston’s largest industry.
What are things to do in Clewiston, FL?
Boating –Lake Okeechobee is 730 square miles and the Okeechobee Waterway connects Florida’s East Coast with the West Coast, making it popular with boaters looking to bypass navigating through the Florida Keys. The manmade Waterway was built in 1937 by the Army Corps of Engineers and is accessible to boats up to 120 feet. Lake Okeechobee offers beautiful scenery and haven for birdlife. For those who don’t have their own boats, guided boat tours and boat rentals are available by various vendors.
Golf – Play a round of golf on the championship 18-hole Clewiston Golf Course. The classic course was designed in the Donald Ross style in the 1930s and is a perfect complement to bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee.
Fishing – Lake Okeechobee offers excellent freshwater fishing opportunities for bass, bream and crappie. Clewiston has a protected boat basin with many wide boat ramps and ample parking. Or, if you don’t have your own boat to fish, hire a knowledgeable guide.
What tips for vacation rentals should we consider in Clewiston, Florida?
Clewiston offers hundreds of vacation rental options throughout the year with many privately owned and others managed by local or national company. There are pros and cons with choosing a vacation rental for your stay. Your choice is going to come down to personal preference including location and price, but we highly recommend you spend your time researching the property, reading peer reviews and contacting owners directly. Never, under any circumstances, should you wire transfer money for the rental and especially never to someone overseas. The web is full of vacation rental scams and if a deal seems to good to be true, it probably is. Protect yourself and your vacation investment by asking the right questions and knowing when to walk away from a deal.
Is Clewiston, FL, a good spring break destination?
Clewiston’s access to Lake Okeechobee makes it a perfect spring break destination for those seeking to connect with nature or spend their time bass fishing. The area is terrific for families with fun, educational activities nearby.
Is Clewiston, Florida safe?
One of the most important factors when deciding on a vacation destination is your personal safety. In other words, how bad is the crime? The best advice is NEVER take someone else’s word but check crime activity for yourself. You can search for crime statistics on City-Data.com and Sperling’s Best Places which indicate crime is low in Clewiston.
What are the best points of interest in Clewiston, FL?
According to the Chamber of Commerce and peer recommendations, here are the best places to visit while you vacation in Clewiston, FL:
Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum – Learn about the Seminole Indian Tribe’s culture and way of life through exhibits and guided tours. The museum is located on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.
Billie Swamp Safari – Explore some of the 2,200-acres of wild Florida on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation with a visit to Billie Swamp Safari. Hop on a swamp buggy tour to explore the swamp where alligators, deer, birds and wild hogs have been seen. Billie Swamp Safari also offers camping, dining and a gift shop to find the perfect memento of your Florida vacation.
Gatorama – Children of all ages are fascinated with Gatorama’s Famous Alligator Hatching Festival, held each year in August and early September. This is when alligator eggs hatch and visitors can come nose-to-snout with a new hatchling. Throughout the year, see the Historic Big Gator and Croc Feeding Show, spot wildlife in Gatorama’s swamp, learn about the endangered panther at the Panther Meet Up, and try your hand at Gator Wranglin’! Don’t worry, an experienced gator wrangler is with you every step of the way. Gatorama is located in Palmdale, about a 30-minute drive northwest of Clewiston.
Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail – Trekking the 110-mile heritage trail around Lake Okeechobee is a popular bucket-list hike for hikers from around the world. The trail is a fantastic opportunity for wildlife viewing and alligators, bobcats and wild hogs have been spotted.
Sugarland Tours – Reserve a seat on the Sugarland Express for a 3.5 hour agricultural tour to learn about sugar’s history in Clewiston and Lake Okeechobee. Highlights include visit to a sugar cane farm to learn farming techniques, sugar mill and citrus juice plant. Tours are offered October – March.
What are the best hotels in Clewiston, FL?
There are hotels in Clewiston with familiar chain names along with individually owned. There are also charming inns, comfortable resorts, RV parks, camping options and rental condos and homes.
How is the weather in Clewiston?
Weather websites and smartphone apps are available to provide current Clewiston weather as well as 3, 5, 7, 10 and 15-day forecasts. For averages, visit the U.S. Climate Data website.
Clewiston has a subtropical climate making mild winters from January to March. The rainy season in Clewiston is June – September and on average, these months receive 6.3 – 7.2” of rain. The “off months” will range between 1.5 –5” per month. This makes a difference when planning a vacation. The rainy season also has the highest temperatures with highs averaging 90+ and the lows in the mid-70s.