By  Mike Miller Updated January 22, 2024

Yeehaw Junction is at the intersection of US-441 and State Road 60 between Vero Beach and Lake Wales. It is also the name of an exit on the Florida Turnpike. 

At one time it was a station on the now abandoned Florida East Coast Railway's Okeechobee branch.

Aerial Photo of Yeehaw Junction in 1964Yeehaw Junction in 1964
State Road 60 from bottom to top of photo crossing US-441

Many theories exist about how it got its name, but Allen Morris's book, "Florida Place Names", says it a corruption of the Creek Indian word "yaha", which means wolf.

In the more than half century I have been driving through it, changes have been very few.

A couple of gas stations, maybe a motel that came and went, a new connection to the Florida Turnpike, a tourist trap souvenir shop, not much else. 

Yeehaw Junction Desert Inn 1950sYeehaw Junction Desert Inn 1950s

One constant you could always count on was the Desert Inn, a unique combination of bar, restaurant and hotel that has been there so long it's on The National Register of Historic Places.

It closed a couple of years ago, but still survived as a reminder of Old Florida.  The chili served in the Desert Inn used to be among the best in the western world. They also had some modest rooms for the tired traveler.

Yeehaw Junction Desert Inn 2003Yeehaw Junction Desert Inn 2003

In my early years in Florida, Yeehaw Junction was where you had no other choice to go if your car or truck broke down anywhere in the wilderness that exists on all four compass points.

Many years ago there was a service station in Yeehaw Junction that sold tires to replace those that might have blown out on a unfortunate traveler's vehicle. 

Those tires were the most expensive in the State of Florida.

The Desert Inn was almost demolished by a truck crashing into it on December 22, 2019. It's puzzling it could happen when you realize the inn was about the only structure in Yeehaw Junction that a person could possibly hit.

Desert Inn, December 2019Desert Inn, December 2019

The truck was northbound on US-441 and made a left turn onto State Road 60.  He skidded off the road and plowed into the empty building.  Then, goodbye history.  From the looks of the wreckage, it is doubtful the inn can be rebuilt.

Now that the Desert Inn is closed and nearly destroyed, the destiny of Yeehaw Junction might soon be nothing but a memory shared by Florida natives and long time residents.

Emoji Sad Face Dalle

As of July 2022, a large developer was under contract to buy a ranch near Yeehaw with more than 14,000 acres.  Plans are underway for a community of 34,000 homes with town squares, golf courses, and more.


Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
33104 NW 192nd Ave, Okeechobee, FL 34972 | (863) 462-5360

Okeechobee is about 35 miles from Yeehaw Junction. This sprawling preserve is a haven for nature lovers, offering some of the best stargazing in Florida due to its designation as a Dark Sky Park.

By day, explore over 100 miles of trails on foot, bike, or horseback, and witness the stunning beauty of Florida's prairies. Birdwatchers and photographers, in particular, will enjoy the rare wildlife sightings, including the endangered Florida grasshopper sparrow.

The Big O Flea Market
3600 US-441, Okeechobee, FL 34974 | (863) 467-6639

The Big O Flea Market is a popular shopping destination in Okeechobee, offering a variety of goods such as fresh produce, handmade crafts, antiques, and clothing.

You can browse the stalls and sample local food while taking in the bustling atmosphere of the market.

Vero Beach Museum of Art
3001 Riverside Park Dr, Vero Beach, FL 32963 | (772) 231-0707

Vero Beach is around 32 miles from Yeehaw Junction. For the cultural enthusiast, the Vero Beach Museum of Art is a must-visit.

As the leading cultural arts facility in the region, the museum features changing exhibitions, an impressive studio art and humanities catalog, and an array of events and programs that make it an interesting stop on any itinerary.

McKee Botanical Garden
350 US-1, Vero Beach, FL 32962 | (772) 794-0601

As one of the 'Garden Capitals of the World', McKee Botanical Garden is a tropical paradise with an extensive collection of water lilies and orchids. It's an exceedingly pleasant and serene location that'll let you connect with nature in all its bounty.

Our Facebook page has more than 130,000 followers who love off the beaten path Florida: towns, tourist attractions, maps, lodging, food, festivals, scenic road trips, day trips, history, culture, nostalgia, and more.  We post articles every day.  Please check it out and if you like it, we would appreciate a "like" from you.