LABELLE, FLORIDA

By  Mike Miller  Updated November 16, 2023

LaBelle, Florida Things To Do, Lodging, Dining, & Real Estate At End Of Article

LaBelle, Florida is the seat of government of Hendry County.  The town is located on the Caloosahatchee River about 18 miles east of Fort Myers at the intersection of SR-80 and SR-29.

SR-29 Bridge Over Caloosahatchee River, LaBelle, FloridaSR-29 Bridge Over Caloosahatchee River, LaBelle, Florida

Hendry County is largely rural with thousand of acres of citrus, farms and cattle ranges.

The population of Labelle is just under 5,000, which makes it a metropolis in this small county of only 39,000 people. 

HISTORY OF LABELLE FLORIDA

Captain Francis Hendry, a civil war veteran of the Confederate army and pioneer Florida cattle rancher, named his new town for his daughters, Laura and Belle. 

Hendry County is named for him;  in his time he was known as "The Cattle King of South Florida"

Captain Francis HendryCaptain Francis Hendry

Hendry began to build his cattle business after the Civil War.  

He made arrangements with a lot of cattle buyers in Cuba, and was one of the first ranchers in Florida to ship cattle there.

He eventually owned 25,000 acres of fenced in grazing land and 50,000 head of cattle.

His old home in LaBelle is open to the public and is a good example of how prosperous pioneers of the era lived. 

The home is on the National Register of Historic Places.

LaBelle Florida Captain Hendry HomeCaptain Francis Hendry Home

LABELLE FLORIDA TODAY

The old drawbridge downtown carries State Road 29 over the Caloosahatchee River and is a focal point for traffic in the area.

LaBelle City Marina on Caloosahatchee RiverLaBelle City Marina on Caloosahatchee River

There is a small city owned boat dock at the southwest corner of the bridge where a few boats can be accommodated at no charge for overnight stays.

Downtown LaBelle, FloridaDowntown LaBelle, Florida

There is also another marina on the northeast corner of the bridge with plenty of sailboats in storage.

LaBelle has several good restaurants, and is the county seat of Hendry County. The courthouse and city hall are major employers in the area, along with agricultural workers. 

The Old Hendry County Courthouse was built in 1926 and is still in daily use.  It is located on the main drag in town at the corner of Bridge Street (SR29) and Hickpochee Avenue (SR80).  

The courthouse is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

LaBelle, Florida.  Hendry County CourthouseHendry County Courthouse

LaBelle hosts the annual Swamp Cabbage Festival, which is held in honor of the official Florida state tree - the cabbage palm - during the last full weekend of February.

Sign for Home of Swamp Cabbage Festival, LaBelle, FloridaSign for Home of Swamp Cabbage Festival, LaBelle, Florida

Here is a recipe for modern swamp cabbage from Cooks.com:

6 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1-14 oz can hearts of palm
1-16 oz can stewed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute bacon and onion until transparent. Add swamp cabbage, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Good with fish or poultry.

Swamp Cabbage for Sale in LaBelle, FloridaSwamp Cabbage for Sale in LaBelle, Florida

If you would like to see more recipes for swamp cabbage and other Old Florida favorites, go to Florida Cracker Recipes.


THINGS TO DO IN LaBELLE, FLORIDA

Barron Park
1559 De Soto Ave, LaBelle, FL 33935 | (863) 675-2872

Barron Park is a peaceful spot located along the Caloosahatchee River, perfect for picnics, fishing, and enjoying the scenic views. We enjoy the walking paths that meander through the park, offering beautiful spots to relax and watch the boats go by.

Visitors love the playground and the frequent community events held here, including local music performances and festivals. The park's gazebo is a popular spot for photos and gatherings, making it the heart of outdoor life in LaBelle. Dogs are allowed in the park.

Captain Hendry House
512 Fraser Ave, LaBelle, FL 33935 | (863) 674-4041

Captain Hendry House, discussed earlier, is a beautifully restored historical home that dates back to 1914. We enjoy touring this elegant house to see its period furnishings and architectural details.

Visitors like learning about Captain Francis A. Hendry, a local pioneer and cattleman, and his influence on the area. The house, surrounded by lush gardens, offers a glimpse into the early 20th-century life in LaBelle and hosts several cultural events throughout the year.

Port LaBelle Marina
1152 Marina Dr SW, LaBelle, FL 33935 | (863) 675-2261

Port LaBelle Marina is a serene spot for boating enthusiasts and visitors looking to enjoy a day on the water. We enjoy the boat launch facilities, which provide easy access to the Caloosahatchee River and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Visitors love the picturesque setting and often spend time fishing or simply relaxing by the waterfront. The marina is a great starting point for exploring the natural beauty of the surrounding areas by water.

LaBelle Nature Park
440 Fraser Ave, LaBelle, FL 33935

LaBelle Nature Park offers trails that wind through native habitats, including wetlands and woodlands. We enjoy the chance to see local wildlife and the variety of plants that make up the South Florida ecosystem.

Visitors like the boardwalks and observation areas that provide opportunities for bird watching and nature photography. The park is a quiet retreat for those looking to escape into nature without leaving the city. Picnic tables are available. Dogs are allowed.

Harold P. Curtis Honey Company
355 N Bridge St, LaBelle, FL 33935 | (863) 675-2187

Harold P. Curtis Honey Company is a local favorite where visitors can learn about beekeeping and the process of making honey. We enjoy tasting the different varieties of pure honey and browsing the selection of beeswax products and honey-themed gifts.

Visitors appreciate the informative talks and demonstrations that offer insights into the importance of bees in our environment. The friendly staff and the sweet smells make it a delightful stop for all ages.

Ortona Indian Mound Park
1060 Chiaha Ln, Moore Haven, FL 33471

Ortona Indian Mound Park is an archaeological site that offers a fascinating look at the ancient Calusa Indians who once inhabited the region. We enjoy the self-guided trail that leads to the mounds, providing a unique opportunity to learn about the early history of the area.

Guests like the peaceful surroundings and the chance to reflect on the lives of the Native Americans who lived here over a thousand years ago. Moore Haven is about 24 miles away from LaBelle.

Firehouse Community Theatre
241 N Bridge St, LaBelle, FL 33935 | (863) 675-3066

Firehouse Community Theatre presents a variety of plays, musicals, and performances throughout the year. We enjoy the intimate setting and the talent of the local actors who bring each production to life.

Visitors appreciate the diverse range of shows, from comedies to dramas, and the welcoming atmosphere that makes every performance feel personal and engaging.



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