Sebring, Florida

Go Jump in a Lake

(It’s not an insult, we promise.)

By Ashley Donde

Lakes are where memories are made. Where you catch your first fish, learn how to ride a Jet Ski and experience the purity of nature. The Sebring area features some of Florida’s most scenic lakes, each intriguing in its own right. So we encourage you to fish in a lake, boat in a lake, paddle in a lake and yes, even jump in a lake. Here are five local lakes perfect for making lasting memories.

Chart your own course and experience the best of these incredible lakes.

Get on the water at one of the many lakes around Sebring.
A boat is docked on one of the lakes around Sebring, Florida.
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Lake Istokpoga 27,692 acres

This expansive and scenic lake is ideal for experiencing authentic Florida—from the hauntingly beautiful cypress trees to the alligators to the airboats. One of the largest lakes in Florida, it also happens to be a great lake for largemouth bass fishing, with plenty of trophy-sized fish to catch. When you’ve had your fill of fishing, take an airboat tour with Airboat Wildlife Adventures. They will take you on a journey across the lake and up Arbuckle Creek, pointing out wildlife along the way. As dusk approaches, head to the boardwalk at Istokpoga Park for stunning sunset views. Don’t forget your camera!

Take an airboat for a spin on Lake Istokpoga.
Airboats on the waters of Lake Istokpoga outside Sebring, Florida.
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Lake Jackson 3,412 acres

Prepare for a day of invigorating recreation. Jet skiing, water skiing, kayaking and fishing are all popular activities along the clear waters of Lake Jackson. No boat? No problem! There’s a sizeable fishing pier where you can cast your line or simply enjoy the view. If you’re looking for a slower pace, visit one of the several sandy public beaches for a leisurely afternoon of sunning, swimming or floating peacefully in your favorite innertube. Pack a picnic lunch and refuel at a picnic table, then let the kids roam on the playground before heading back out to the lake.

A stand-up paddleboarding is a great way to explore Lake Jackson.
Two stand-up paddle boarders on the waters of Lake Jackson outside Sebring, Florida.
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Lake June-in-Winter 3,504 acres

A tranquil kayak paddle around the lake provides a breathtaking perspective for birdwatching, where bald eagles and osprey can be seen soaring above the water. Paddle over to Lake June-in-Winter Scrub State Park—an 845-acre preserve along the western shore of the lake—for some nature therapy. This park is home to rare habitats that host some of Florida’s most endangered animals. Endemic species like the bright blue Florida scrub jay, the Florida scrub lizard and the Florida mouse can be found throughout the preserve. Other animals such as the endangered Florida panther and playful otters have also been spotted in the park. Have a picnic lunch at the pavilion overlooking the lake before launching back into the water.

Lake Tulane 89 acres

The oldest documented lake in America—estimated to be more than 50,000 years old—Lake Tulane occupies an ancient sinkhole. Beyond its scientific appeal, the lake is an excellent location for SCUBA diving, with clear water and visibility up to 30 feet down. Families will enjoy the quiet beaches along the shore where small children can wade in the water while older kids swim or try their hand at paddleboarding.

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Lake Denton 66 acres

Lake Denton is another popular site for SCUBA diving because of its crystal-clear, spring-fed water. Dip below the pristine surface and discover a watery playground, including three submerged boats that attract a variety of fish. It’s an underwater scavenger hunt of sorts, and divers can search for sunken “treasures” such as a tractor, tiki statues and more. Practice your diving skills with interactive features like a bicycle and Hula-Hoops you can swim through. Be prepared for friendly fish to follow you. Bass, sunfish and turtles are all commonly seen during dives.

Don’t you think it’s about time to go jump in a lake?

What can you catch in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Denton?
A fisher casts his line from the dock at Lake Denton outside Sebring, Florida.
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