The Sweetest Place In America Is A Cute Little Florida Town That's Well Worth A Visit

Palm Beach, Tampa, and Orlando are a select few of Florida's most renowned cities. But did you know that an underrated and charming lake destination in the Sunshine State is nicknamed "America's Sweetest Town?" Located only an hour and a half from Palm Beach, a city known for being featured in "Palm Royale," Clewiston has a small population of approximately 7,200. But don't let its small-town ambiance fool you. Due to its proximity to Lake Okeechobee, it's a premier fishing spot.


However, its sweet reputation comes from being home to U.S. Sugar, a sugarcane corporation. In fact, Florida is the leading state in sugar cane production, no doubt thanks to U.S. Sugar. Clewiston has been milling sugarcane since the 1920s. Although the Great Depression caused some hiccups, the town led the pack in sugar production by the 1930s.

Visitors can learn more about this captivating facet of the town's history and more at the Clewiston Museum. It's open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission ranges from $5 to $10. Needless to say, the sugar industry has left its mark on Clewiston, as apparent with the town's sugar-themed attractions.

All aboard the Sugar Express

One such sweet attraction in Clewiston is the Sugar Express. This charming train ride (seen in the TikTok above) takes visitors on a route used by U.S. Sugar to haul sugarcane to Clewiston. Passengers ride on vintage trains, and those visiting Florida can't miss this scenic, family-friendly attraction. The route traverses south-central Florida and includes views of sugarcane fields and more. However, there are various train rides to choose from that range from two to six hours.


For example, on the two-hour ice cream train, passengers are provided with this classic frozen dessert to feast on as they enjoy the ride. The price for the ice cream train ranges from $35 to $48. At the time of this publication, it's only available from April to June. You can view the Sugar Express schedule and its other train rides online.

If you're a country music fan, there's the annual Clewiston Sugar Festival. This free weekend event has roots in a harvest festival once celebrated by U.S. Sugar. The Clewiston Sugar Festival includes performances, contests, wildlife attractions, food trucks, activities for kids, and much more. In 2024, the event was held in March and featured a performance from up-and-coming country music star Jordan Davis.


Stay in a historic hotel in Clewiston, Florida

If you plan to visit Clewiston, Florida, staying at America's Best Value Inn Historic Clewiston Inn is a must. It was built in 1938 at the request of none other than U.S. Sugar. The architecturally stunning hotel provides complimentary breakfast for its guests and features no-frills rooms with a queen or king bed. At the time of this publication, prices start at less than $100 per night. You can make a reservation online. Other accommodations in Clewiston are available through Airbnb, including this guest's favorite country charm log cabin with two bedrooms and a private backyard. Prices start at $200 a night.


Looking for something else to do in Clewiston? Make sure to check out the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. This highly rated attraction on Tripadvisor aims to educate visitors on Florida's Seminole Tribe through art, relics, and more. Additionally, it includes a stunning boardwalk that allows visitors to take in the beauty of Florida's nature. The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission ranges from $7.50 to $10.

If you have an appetite, head to Jalapenos or the Swamp Water Cafe. The former serves authentic Mexican food, and the latter specializes in American and Native-American-inspired cuisine.