Clewiston is a city of about 7,000 residents in central Florida’s Hendry County, and it lies on the southwest shore of Lake Okeechobee.
Before it was officially settled, the area was inhabited by the Seminole Native Americans, and dating back well over 100 years, it was one of the state’s largest sugar producers.
Clewiston is relatively equidistant between the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, which opens up several day-trip options for those with access to a car. But for those who’d rather stay close, there are a variety of historical, natural, and cultural options as well.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Clewiston, Florida.
1. Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum
The Seminole people lived in much of what’s now Florida for countless generations before it was initially settled. For those interested in learning about their fascinating culture, there’s no better place to do it than the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum.
The museum is located on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, which is set amidst the Everglades and contains more than 100,000 unique artifacts, including art, clothes, weapons, and things the people used in their everyday lives.
In their language, Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki means ‘learning place,’ and most guests agree it’s an apt description.
The museum’s entrance is on West Boundary Road in Clewiston.
2. Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail
Stretching for more than 100 miles through a variety of unique natural habitats, the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail is one of the largest trails of its kind in the entire country.
It’s also part of the much larger Florida National Scenic Trail that runs between Pensacola in the Panhandle and Miami in South Florida.
Much of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail follows the contour of the lake and offers guests unique opportunities to view wildlife, escape the crowds, and take in Florida the way it was in years past.
About half the trail is paved, making it appropriate for strollers and wheelchairs in those areas.
3. Clewiston Museum
Located on Central Avenue in Clewiston, the Clewiston Museum is a convenient and inexpensive attraction that’s a big hit with traveling history buffs and lovers of local culture.
The museum is inside an old but renovated newspaper building and is chock-full of artifacts, photographs, documents, and first-hand accounts of those who settled and lived in the area in eras past.
It’s open from 9 AM until 4 PM during the week, and by special appointment on the weekends, so plan accordingly.
Admission is just a few bucks, and senior and student discounts are available, so bring your ID if you qualify for either.
4. Clewiston Golf Course
At just over 6,300 yards from the blue tees, the 18-hole Clewiston Golf Course can generally be completed in between three and four hours, depending on how busy it is.
It’s a par-72 course that’s open to the public, but previous guests have commented that its greens and fairways were exceptionally well-manicured compared to other public courses in the area.
The course is located just off Highway 27 outside of Clewiston and is an easy drive for those staying on the Palm Beach coast as well.
Consider booking your tee time in advance if you’ll be playing during peak times.
5. Civic Park
Municipal parks often get brushed aside by travelers more intent on hitting more commercialized tourist attractions, but for those traveling on a budget who’d rather experience the great outdoors without spending half the day in the car and dropping a bundle of dough, they’re great resources.
At just over four acres Civic Park isn’t the city’s largest, but it features covered gazebos, picnic tables, and abundant walking paths. It also hosts a popular concert in the park series, as well as other annual festivals that really draw the crowds.
Check out the city’s website for a full schedule of upcoming events.
6. Billie Swamp Safari
Florida is full of swamps brimming with natural charm and an abundance of unique wildlife, and swamp tours rank among the state’s most popular vacation activities.
Billie Swamp Safari is located on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation and gives guests access to thousands of acres of untamed swamps and glades that’d be out of the reach of most travelers otherwise.
They offer a variety of tour options, including those by airboat and swamp buggy. There are many permanent exhibits and regularly scheduled shows that make it one of those places that tends to occupy larger chunks of visitor’s time than they originally planned.
7. Skydive Spaceland Florida
For adrenaline junkies and diehard thrill-seekers, there’s really nothing to compare to jumping out of an airplane thousands of feet over the ground.
Located on Everglades Boulevard in Clewiston, Skydive Spaceland Florida is a popular family-owned attraction that’s been taking the vacation experience to a whole new level for more than 15 years.
From newbies to experienced jumpers, they’ve got options to fit nearly everyone. Those who’ve never taken the great plunge will get all the guidance and training they’ll need to have a fun and memorable experience.
They’re open from Thursday to Monday from 9 AM to sunset.
8. Clewiston Sugar Festival
For much of its existence, sugar plantations and refining facilities generated a significant portion of the area’s revenue. The Clewiston Sugar Festival has its origins as far back as the ‘30s, when the United States Sugar Corporation first threw its employees a celebration.
The Sugar Festival draws visitors from all over the state and includes terrific food, live entertainment, a car show, and even a heritage appreciation day at the local museum.
For many visitors who’ve stumbled onto the festival in recent years, it ended up being one of the most memorable experiences of their trip to the area.
9. Lake Okeechobee
Florida seems to have more than its fair share of natural wonders, and Lake Okeechobee is one of the most prominent.
Often referred to as Florida’s Inland Sea for its sheer vastness, it offers guests an opportunity to view fabulous tracts of undeveloped nature and partake in a variety of outdoor recreation activities.
One of the lake’s claims to fame is that it’s home to some of the state’s largest largemouth bass. As such, it is a mecca for bass anglers who flock from all over the country to try to land one of the state’s lunkers, that often top the scales over 10 pounds.
10. Dupuis Nature Center
Dupuis Nature Center is the centerpiece of the Dupuis Management Area and is comprised of more than 20,000 acres of diverse natural habit.
The nature center’s mission is to offer interactive educational programs to students, teachers, and families from the local community. To that end, they provide an impressive array of staff-led field excursions, interactive activities, and lectures.
The area surrounding the nature center includes marshes, cypress swamps, wet prairies, and pine forests that are home to a fantastic variety of plants and animals. Many of the center’s programs focus on pressing environmental issues like habitat destruction and climate change.
11. Tiger Shark Cove Park
Located on Greenbriar Boulevard in nearby Wellington, Tiger Shark Cove Park is a popular local attraction that, oddly enough, isn’t home to a single tiger shark.
It is, however, a fun and free community resource that’s full of amenities like playgrounds, slides, and walking paths. For those with little ones in need of physical activity, it’s a great place to spend a few morning or afternoon hours.
The park’s got plenty of covered seating areas and picnic tables as well, so even for those who aren’t lugging kids around, it’s a nice place for a walk, a picnic, or an afternoon with a good book.
12. The Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly Garden
The Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly Garden is located in Cape Coral just east of Clewiston. It’s a facility that’s dedicated to providing a sanctuary for native butterfly species before being released back into the wild.
The garden is inside Cape Coral’s Rotary Park, and many guests are amazed at the different stages of lifecycles that butterflies go through in a relatively short time.
Free tours are offered weekly on Monday, Friday, and Saturday mornings, and are led by knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff that make it a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages and interests.
13. Cape Coral Farmers’ Markets
Not to be outdone by its neighbors that have only one farmers’ market, Cape Coral has three. No matter what time of year you visit, at least one of them will be open.
With three markets and three schedules, it can be a bit challenging to keep track of who’s open when, but they’re all run by the same organization, which means everything you need to know is on one convenient website.
In addition to their produce, the markets offer locally made arts and crafts, prepared food items, and health and body products. Since they open at 8 AM on Saturday mornings, many guests fill up with coffee and freshly baked goods before doing their shopping.
14. Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery
Dolphins aren’t wicked, nor do they distill intoxicating liquor, but that doesn’t mean the Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery isn’t a worthy destination for lovers of small-batch spirits.
The distillery is located on SW 3rd Place in Cape Coral, and as their name implies, they’re known for their fiery, tasty, award-winning rums.
Guided facility tours are both fun and informative. Along the way, visitors will learn about sourcing ingredients and each step required to turn them into rum.
Tours are offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and many guests are amazed to discover that rums have unique flavor profiles like wine.
15. Palm Beach Skate Zone
Palm Beach Skate Zone is the only South Florida attraction of its kind that sports three different ice rinks, and it’s conveniently located off the Florida Turnpike just a short drive from Clewiston.
Air-conditioning and ice are welcome alternatives to the often oppressive Florida sun, and when the weather isn’t conducive to being outside, there are few better places to spend an hour or two than the Palm Beach Skate Zone.
Featuring food and drinks, an arcade, locker rooms, and a pro shop, the Skate Zone is a popular destination for those traveling with kids. If you’re a bit rusty and need some professional assistance, lessons are available.