With its old-fashioned charm, treasure-trove flea markets and Florida sunshine, friendly Okeechobee combines city convenience with laid-back lakeside living. Handy motels and convenient big-name hotels with family-friendly pools make a great base for hiking, cycling, fishing and wildlife-watching at glorious Lake Okeechobee, known as the state’s inland sea.
Hikers, families and lovers of the great outdoors will feel right at home at the Hampton Inn, just five minutes from the picturesque trail around Lake Okeechobee. Rooms are basic but bright and spacious, and some have their own fridge and microwave. Start the day with a dip in the outdoor pool, then refuel with the free hearty hot breakfast. There’s also a handy convenience store in the lobby where you can stock up on drinks and snacks for a day of fishing, biking or sailing on the lake.
The only hotel on the lakefront, Days Inn & Suites is ideal for making the most of every minute in this tranquil, unspoilt area of Florida. There’s a peaceful lake pier for anglers, while visiting families will love the volleyball court, outdoor swimming pool and free continental breakfast loaded with cereals, fruit and yogurt. There’s no need to leave any four-legged family members at home either, as dogs are welcome.
If serious shut-eye is a priority, you may never want to leave this modern, recently renovated hotel with its super-snug beds, black-out blinds and choice of pillows. Do force yourself out of bed in time for breakfast: the free buffet is enough to keep you going until dinner with steaming omelettes, freshly made pancakes and the best cinnamon rolls in town, plus complimentary coffee in the lobby for those who like to grab and go.
Close to many of the area’s corporate headquarters, business travelers can get straight to work at the Best Western. There’s free parking, all-day restaurants within walking distance and an excellent on-site business center, too. But don’t make it all work and no play: the hotel is only half a mile (0.8km) from the tranquil trail around Lake Okeechobee, where you can rent airboats, play golf, cycle and even try to spot lurking local alligators (from a safe distance, of course).
A bright pink building on Highway 441 South, there’s no chance of missing this brightly colored motel. The convenient three-star is the perfect roadside pit-stop for anyone needing a bed for the night, with handy vending machines for snacks, laundry facilities, truck parking and a range of restaurants within walking distance. Get back on the road after a free continental breakfast the next day.