By  Mike Miller  Updated July 23, 2023

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

Lake Placid, Florida is a small town in Highlands County.  Its nearest big neighbor is Sebring 15 miles to the north through rolling hills and fragrant orange groves along US-27.

It's population is about 2,500 but the nearby surrounding communities raise the actual population to about 21,000 folks who say they live in Lake Placid.  

Lake Placid Florida MuralMural In Downtown Lake Placid, Florida

Lake Placid is surrounded by 29 freshwater lakes that provide some of the best fishing and water sports available anywhere. 


The town's history begins in 1925, when Lake Stearns, its original name, was founded. It was the center of a large citrus operation started by A. H. Devane, Ernest Morrow, and E. E. Stewart.

Dr. Melvil Dewey: Lake Placid Pioneer

Dr. Melvil Dewey, the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System, bought a lot of acreage in the area. 

His system was used in countless thousands of libraries to manage book collections.

He also invented a simplified way of spelling that never caught on.  An example is how he shortened his birth name to Melvil by dropping off the "le."

He also briefly used his system to change his last name to "Dui", but finally dropped that idea.

Dewey was the founder of the Lake Placid Club in New York, and convinced the town and state to go along with changing the name of Lake Stearns to Lake Placid.


Citrus is still an important part of the regional economy. 

Lake Placid MuralLake Placid Mural

During the heyday of the booming citrus industry, the Lake Placid Tower was built with a fantastic view of thousands of acres of groves and numerous lakes.

The tower still stands, but is no longer open to the public for a trip to the top.

Lake Placid TowerLake Placid Tower

The town is a mecca for Florida mural lovers, with more than 40 murals painted on downtown and throughout the town.

It is known as "The Town of Murals", and these murals transform what was a typical little Florida town into an outdoor art gallery.

Lake Placid Mural on BuildingLake Placid Mural on Building
Flickr/Richard Elzey

The murals depict the history, culture and interesting facts about the area. Found on almost every building in town, they form a free outdoor art gallery.

A visit to the Chamber of Commerce or most retail shops will allow you to purchase a mural guide to get the most from the tour.

Lake Placid MuralLake Placid Mural

Lake Placid is also famous for producing 90 percent of the world's caladium bulbs.  The town's other nickname is the Caladium Capital of the World. 

To celebrate this distinction, the town holds an Annual Caladium Festival.  

In addition to all things caladium, you will find art, jewelry, and other arts and crafts, as well as plants and bulbs to grace your yard.

The July festival has grown and attracts visitors from around the state, and organizers have added live entertainment and an antique car show to the agenda.

If you miss the festival, most growers have bulbs available for sale.

Lake Placid Caladium FieldLake Placid Caladium Field
Greater Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce

There is usually an antique car show, along with all kinds of caladium competitions.  They even have a swamp buggy display.  

Things To Do In Lake Placid Florida

Lake Placid is a good place to start a day trip around the lakes in the area, including Lake Placid and Lake June-In-Winter.

The area has a distinctly charming rural feel although many large residential developments, such as Placid Lakes, sprawl over the area.

Henscratch Farms Winery is west of Lake Placid and is worth a visit. There are also several neat little Mom and Pop type resort hotels along the shore of Lake June-In-Winter making it an appealing vacation destination.

Henscratch Farms Vineyard and WineryHenscratch Farms Winery

Two other locations draw many visitors:

Museum Photo by Toby the Clown FoundationMuseum Photo by Toby the Clown Foundation

The American Clown Museum and School, where almost 1800 clowns have “earned their noses” to go out and share laughter, love and smiles.

Also known as Toby's Clown School after the founder, the school still trains new clowns and works with area hospitals to spread joy.

The Lake Placid Historical Society and Depot Museum is located in the original train depot and features 4 galleries of local historical artifacts.

Sign at Lake June in Winter Scrub State ParkSign at Lake June in Winter Scrub State Park

To see Florida in the original state, consider a visit to Lake June-In-Winter Scrub State Park.  This sand scrub preserve is part of the Florida State Parks system.

With its half-mile nature trail, it is best suited for bird watching, hiking and fishing, and you can take a canoe or kayak on the lake.

While there is no camping or amenities, there are a variety of protected plants and animals living here that you may come across, including the gopher tortoise.

You may also see an Eastern indigo snake, Florida scrub lizard, bald eagles and ospreys, as well as larger animals such as white-tailed deer, and occasionally you might spot a bobcat or black bear.

For a more refined park experience, you might visit the nearby Highlands Hammock State Park. This park is filled with old growth hammocks, and has nine trails, an elevated boardwalk and a tram. It also offers camping and equestrian trails.

Also make time to take a self-guided tour at Archbold Biological Station, where scientists and educators conduct long-term ecological research on native plants and animals.

An interesting day trip is to go south from downtown Lake Placid along SR-17, also known locally as Old State Road 8. It will take you down to the ghost towns of Venus and Old Venus about 12 miles south through rolling grove country.

House in Old Venus, FloridaHouse in Old Venus, Florida

In 2013, Lake Placid was named “America’s Most Interesting Town” by Reader’s Digest, which only showcased what residents have known for years.

From the many lakes and natural beauty to murals to wine to clowns, you can’t help but be charmed by this jewel in the state.


Murals of Lake Placid
Downtown Lake Placid, FL 33852 

There’s an excellent description of the murals earlier on this page. 

Lake Placid Historical Society Depot Museum 
12 E Park St, Lake Placid, FL 33852. (863) 465-1775 

Delve into the rich history of Lake Placid at the Historical Society Depot Museum. Housed in a charming 1926 train depot, this museum offers a journey back in time.

Explore exhibits showcasing the town's evolution, from its early settlers to the transformation into the "Caladium Capital of the World." The knowledgeable staff adds a personal touch to your visit, providing fascinating stories and insights into Lake Placid's past.

It's a delightful experience that combines education with a nostalgic trip through Florida's history. 

Henscratch Farms Vineyard & Winery
980 Henscratch Rd, Lake Placid, FL 33852. (863) 699-2060 

For a taste of local flavors, head to Henscratch Farms Vineyard & Winery, mentioned earlier on this page. Nestled in the countryside, this family-owned winery invites you to savor handcrafted wines amid scenic vineyards.

Take a guided tour to learn about the winemaking process, from grape to bottle, and then indulge in a tasting session. The laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff make it an ideal spot to unwind.

Whether you're a wine connoisseur or a novice, Henscratch Farms offers a delightful escape into the world of Florida winemaking. 

Lake June-in-Winter Scrub Preserve State Park
630 Daffodil St, Sebring, FL 33852. (863) 386-6094 

Nature enthusiasts, rejoice! Lake Placid is in proximity to Lake June-in-Winter Scrub State Park. Our favorite activity? Exploring the park's diverse ecosystems through scenic hiking trails.

Encounter rare plants, native wildlife, and the tranquility of untouched Florida landscapes. Birdwatchers will appreciate the abundance of avian species. Pack a picnic and immerse yourself in the serene surroundings. Picnic tables are available. Dogs are welcome.

Whether you're a seasoned hiker or prefer a leisurely stroll, Lake June-in-Winter Scrub State Park offers a natural retreat for those seeking a peaceful connection with the great outdoors. 

Caladium Arts and Crafts Co-op 
132 E Interlake Blvd, Lake Placid, FL 33852. (863) 699-5940 

Indulge your artistic side at the Caladium Arts and Crafts Co-op. Located in the heart of Lake Placid, this cooperative showcases the talents of local artists.

Browse through a diverse collection of handmade crafts, paintings, and unique creations. Our favorite part? Meeting the artists themselves, who are often present to share the stories behind their works.

It's an excellent opportunity to support local artistry and bring home a one-of-a-kind souvenir that reflects the creative spirit of Lake Placid. 

Highlands Hammock State Park Civilian Conservation Corps Museum 
5931 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33870. (863) 386-6094 

For a glimpse into Lake Placid's past, visit the CCC Museum in Highlands Hammock State Park. The museum, located within a historic Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) building, pays homage to the dedicated men who shaped the park during the Great Depression.

Explore exhibits showcasing the CCC's impact on the area and learn about the conservation efforts that contributed to the creation of Highlands Hammock State Park. It's a small but significant piece of history that adds depth to your Lake Placid experience. 

American Clown Museum and School, aka Toby’s Clown School 
109 W Interlake Blvd, Lake Placid FL 33852.  (863) 991-5353  

I talk about the clown school earlier on this page. Here is the contact information.


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