On Christmas Day 1837, the Seminoles, led by their medicine man Abiaka, ambushed a unit of U.S. Army soldiers along the shores of Lake Okeechobee. Okeechobee Battlefield State Park protects a part of the landscape where this battle occurred and was first commemorated as a National Historic Landmark in the 1960s.
Fees: $10 per car during reenactment
Open: one weekend a year
During the Battle of Okeechobee, the Army forces were led by Col. Zachary Taylor. The fighting raged for three hours, and more than a hundred men fell. The battle was a turning point that dubbed Taylor “Old Rough and Ready” and drove the Seminoles deep into the Everglades for nearly a century. The reenactment at Okeechobee Battlefield State Park captures both sides of the story.
A large marker commemorating the historic significance of the battle was moved to this site from its former location in front of the now-defunct “Old Habits” bar along US 441 near Taylor Creek.
No management plan is yet in place that allows public access to this historic site. The state park has “No Trespassing / Florida State Parks” signs all around its perimeter fence and no official state park sign pointing out its location. We did not find a way to visit the grounds other than during the annual reenactment of the battle, the 3rd weekend of February.
As there is a Friends of Okeechobee Battlefield group in place as advocates, we hope to see the proper interpretation of this significant Second Seminole War battle site occur and the park open to the general public on a regular basis.