The Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area is a great site and well worth the effort to get there. Named for the three lakes that border the area (Lake Kissimmee, Lake Jackson, and Lake Marian) this site is found some twenty miles south of St Cloud or about 50 miles Northwest of Vero Beach. The Vero Beach route takes you through Yeehaw Junction. Be sure to stop and check out the historic Desert Inn.
The area is known as the Kissimmee Prairie and is one of the largest remaining expanses of dry prairie in the United States. In addition, the site is interspersed with cypress swamps, fresh water marshes, flatwoods, oak hammocks, pineland and scrub. It is where one of these habitats meets another that the best birding can be found.
A 10-mile, educational driving loop makes this an excellent driving site. Additionally there are two observation decks on Lake Marian. One of these is accessed from the Sunset Ranch Trail, which also has a woodland viewing blind. There is also a viewing tower on the south end of Lake Jackson. It is said that the area has highest concentration of nesting bald eagles in the lower 48 states.
The site is good for hiking, camping, bike riding, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, paddling, fishing and seasonal hunting. Birds in the area include Bald Eagles, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Sandhill Cranes, Wild Turkeys, and Crested Caracaras, Bachman’s, Henslow’s and Savannah Sparrows, plus Florida Grasshopper Sparrows. This is one of only two locations on the GFBWT where this endangered subspecies occurs (less than 1,000 remain).
When in the area be sure to stop in Joe Overstreet Landing a couple miles to the north, and look for the elusive whooping crane. The Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area is west of US Hwy 441 and north of SR 60, near the town of Kenansville, Florida. The site is just north of the Historic Desert Inn at Yeehaw Junction.