Florida Back Roads: Jensen Beach to Bonita Springs
The route I took was the shortest and it was mostly back roads until the end. This road trip started on top of the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart.
Then Palm City Rd to the Palm City Bridge to Martin Downs Road to Martin Highway.
Allapattah Flats Trail is a passive recreation area featuring parking facilities and a nature trail which also provides opportunities for hiking, biking and primitive camping. This area provides seasonal hunting and allows for equestrian trails along the northern perimeter of the project. This site is a cooperative effort of the Martin County Board of County Commissioners, the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“To the east lie barrier islands, rich lagoons, and flowing rivers that characterize Florida’s Atlantic Coast. To the west lies Lake Okeechobee, the second largest fresh water lake in the United States. In between are the Allapattah Flats, remnants of the impenetrable sloughs and wet prairies that once made up the Alpatiokee Swamp in the northern Everglades.” – Florida Scenic Highways
I continued on 710 until I reached the corner of Allapattah Rd and Martin Grade Highway. Then I proceeded straight for the peaceful ride down Martin Grade Highway.
Corner of Allapattah Rd and Martin Grade Highway.
Then I proceeded straight for the peaceful ride down Martin Grade Highway.
Martin Grade Scenic Highway
“Martin Grade Scenic Highway was designated on January 28, 2015. It is 12 miles long.This historic 12-mile road is shaded by a canopy of oaks a century old and is surrounded by pastures, groves, swamps, and woods just as it was when it was carved out of the wilderness by the region’s earliest settlers.-Florida Scenic Highways
At the end of the road you take a right. You are now on SR 710 and in Okeechobee County.
Drive 4 miles and take a left on 86th Blvd. Drive 0.9 miles and take a right onto US Highway 441. This will take you around the northern part of the lake where the road turns into State Rd 78 west.
Lake Okeechobee is the second-largest freshwater lake entirely within U.S. boundaries. It is contained by the Herbert Hoover Dike, built in 1928.
Right at the north of the Lake where 441 meets 98 there is an area where you can drive in and see the Lake. There are usually load of birds here and fisherman putting their boats in.
From there I drove south on 98 entering Glades County thru Buckhead Ridge and Lake Port to Moore Haven.
The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 dramatically altered the landscape of the area. The storm surge from the lake caused widespread death and destruction, sometimes literally relocating houses to the opposite side of the river. The town might have recovered, but it was hit not long after by the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane. This decimated areas that had escaped damage in 1926.
78 meets 27 and it gets a little confusing here. You take a right on 27 and then a left on 29 and that will take you to Labelle.
Labelle is located in Hendry County. LaBelle began as a settlement on the Caloosahatchee River around the time of Hamilton Disston‘s efforts to drain the Everglades with the hope of promoting growth.
Here I am waiting for the bridge over the Caloosahatchee River goes down.
While Okeechobee is the liquid heart of Florida these little towns around the lake are the soul.
From Labelle I followed Rt 80 thru Alva to onto State Rd I-75 south and exited on 123 Corkscrew Rd.
I love the back roads of Florida. They are mostly cow filled fields with sweet small towns. The driving time was actually around 3.5 hours including getting lost time and a few bathroom stops along the way.
Where is your favorite back road?