When driving between Miami and Tampa on highway 27, stop and see the more than four dozen vibrant Lake Placid murals adorning the walls of businesses in the small downtown. In a supporting role to the incredible Lake Placid murals are a dozen and a half decorated rubbish cans, over 25 clown cut outs, and tributes to the Caladium—a flowering plant of which 95% are grown here.
Just northwest of Lake Okeechobee, about a two hour drive from Orlando airport, the tiny town of Lake Placid has put itself on visitor maps with this amazing collection of organized street art. Lake Placid is in Highlands County, an hour’s drive south of Bok Tower and Central Florida, and has a full time population of only 2,300 persons. Although the town is surrounded by a half dozen of Florida’s more than 30,000 lakes, the actual lake named Lake Placid is located a few miles south. The town of Lake Stearns changed its name to Lake Placid in the 1920s upon the suggestion of a local resident. That person was Dr. Dewey, of Dewey Decimal System famed still used in libraries.
Reader’s Digest selected Lake Placid as America’s most interesting town in 2013. Following are a few of the amazing Lake Placid Wall Murals but you must visit and see them in person!
Florida Street Art: You Must See These Incredible Lake Placid Murals
When entering Lake Placid from the south, start with the giant mural on the northeast corner (in front of you on the right) of highway 27 and County Road 621/Interlake Blvd.
Lake Placid Murals: Cracker Trail
This 135 foot long wall mural honors the Cracker Cowboys and the Florida Cracker Trail. McCool Travel tip: The term Cracker derives from the crack of the whip from the cowboys. You knew that, right? The Florida Cracker Trail commemorates Old Florida cowboy history, which pre-dates the US Civil War (before 1860s).
For more Florida road trip information, please read 7 Fun Scenic Drives in Florida
Lake Placid Mural Society provides narrators for guided tours and sells guidebooks (I paid $4 for one). Stop in the Greater Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce visitor center to watch a short film about the mural history, see original paintings, buy the guidebook, and get more information about where to eat or stay in the area.
Lake Placid Murals: Florida Panther
Most of the murals are within a few short blocks of each other. Seeing the Lake Placid wall murals is a fun way to get in your daily steps before driving onward to Miami, Orlando, or Tampa.
Lake Placid Murals: Citrus Heritage
One of my favorite Lake Placid murals is the one called Citrus Heritage. The below photo shows about half of it and the vehicle is included for scale.
Lake Placid Murals: Lost Bear Cub
The below photo is of one of the most popular Lake Placid murals, called Lost Bear Cub. Note at the top of the wall are speakers which play animals sounds.
Lake Placid Murals: Unnamed
Another place to visit in Lake Placid Florida is Toby the Clown Foundation, the museum in the world dedicated to American clowns.
Also see 8 Great Fun Florida Road Trip Stops
Lake Placid Murals: Prairie Dwellers
In addition to the above panther and the below mural, there are several other Lake Placid walls featuring gators, waterfowl, and other Florida wildlife.
Lake Placid Murals: Layers of Time
The below history murals are on one long wall. I loved how Lake Placid decorated this courtyard between buildings, making it a park, with running water.
Other online resources about Florida street art and murals:
- Tour Lake Placid page about how the history of the Lake Placid murals.
- The Florida Mural Trail includes a vast collection of public art all over the Sunshine State.
- Florida Backroads Travel page about murals throughout the state of Florida.
- Another listing of Florida street art and murals.
A picture of one of the almost 20 decorated Lake Placid garbage cans appears below. As you can see, it looks like a bank safe.
For more Florida road trip information, please read 8 Great Scenic Drives in South Florida
Have you visited the Lake Placid murals?