Florida’s Inland Sea

At over 730 square miles (1880 square km), Lake Okeechobee is the second-largest freshwater lake entirely within the Lower 48 states (second only to Lake Michigan). Formed about 6000 years ago, it is quite shallow, with its deepest portions only 20 feet (6 m) deep. Much of the southern and western portions are composed of extensive marshes.

Hurricanes in the 1920s swept over the lake, causing it to overflow its banks and creating extensive damage including loss of human lives. To prevent this from recurring, the Herbert Hoover Dike was built beginning in the 1930s. The dike separated the lake from the Everglades into which the lake previously drained, lowering water levels and reducing its size.

Extensive marshes remain along the lake’s western portions and the entire lake is home to significant numbers of aquatic birds, wading birds and shore birds. Lake Okeechobee is one of the two most critical sites in Florida for the endangered Snail Kite.

A Birder’s Paradise!

In addition to herons, egrets, sandhill cranes and wintering waterfowl, these are just some of the exciting birds you may see on your Lake Okeechobee airboat tour!