La Belle Florida

FEATURED LISTING: Florida ::: La Belle Florida

La Belle or LaBelle is as its name implies in French – beautiful! Legend has it that Capt. Francis Asbury Hendry named it in 1896 for his daughters, Laura and Belle. La Belle is the County seat of Hendry, located on the shores of the Caloosahatchee River in the heartland of South West Florida. The greater La Belle area includes North La Belle and Port La Belle. The scenic landscape with its vast oak hammock and Sabal palm justify the name of this charming city.

Until the late 1940s, cattlemen owned La Belle and it was full of cattle ranches; gradually rangeland turned into farmland. Citrus, mainly oranges and grapefruit, and vegetables grow here and today it is the Citrus Capital of Florida. The population has increased because of this by over 55% in the nineties and now is around 5000. People, mostly of Latin American descent still come in during day to this 3.5 square mile town from the surrounding area to work here. During the winter growing season, population increases threefold.

The high proportion of Hispanic and African American population has added a special dimension to the city and music is an important part of the culture of the area. La Belle's schools give outstanding musical performances. A local jazz ensemble plays at many events and you will hear the best bluegrass and country musicians at local restaurants and community events. La Belle's only public Library, the Barron Library stands on the site of the old Everett Hotel that also housed the town's first Library.

Barron Park is the center of activity in La Belle and hosts the famous annual Swamp Cabbage Festival in the last weekend in February. This unique festival celebrates Florida's prolific state tree, the Sabal Palm, nicknamed the "cabbage" palm because of its sweet, tender pulp, the "heart of palm" found inside the trunk. Thousands of visitors relish this delicacy in the form of fritters or with Everglades Seasoning, manufactured in La Belle, and bacon or salt pork. Celebrated since 1967, the Swamp Cabbage Festival has something for everybody. Enjoy yourself with some good old hometown fun at the dances, parades, country and gospel music, armadillo races, rodeos, quilt show, arts and crafts, antique cars, Seminole Indian food and crafts and great southern cooking.

Locals celebrate Fourth of July with food and fun in the park and a giant fireworks display at dusk. There are several scenic public parks and a boat ramp along the Caloosahatchee River only one mile north of the La Belle Municipal Airport. Boats cruise from the east coast of Florida all the way to the west coast in Ft. Myers. Restaurants and motels line the riverfront.

Golfers can stay and play at the Port La Belle Inn &Oxbow Golf Club which offers three nine hole courses that can be played in three eighteen hole combinations amidst rolling hills and beautiful countryside. There are several ponds, majestic oak trees, and wide fairways in the course.

Florida Cities and Towns