Dubbed “America’s Most Interesting Town” by Readers Digest, Lake Placid is one of Florida’s most charming small towns. Located between Sarasota and West Palm Beach, Lake Placid sits in the center of Florida only a two-hour drive from either coast.
Combining nature, culture, and fun, Lake Placid packs a lot of punch for its size. It has earned the title of the “Town of Murals” and the “Caladium Capital of the World,” all with a population less than 2,200.
Its walkable downtown area makes for an outdoor art gallery, boasting nearly 50 colorful murals that adorn its downtown buildings. Inspired by the murals found in British Columbia, the owners of the Lake Placid Mural Society started a movement in 1992 which would grow into over 146 pieces of artwork displayed throughout town.
Surreal and sweet at the same time, these murals tell the town’s history with a touch of whimsy. If you’re up for an adventure, try and pinpoint the 17 artist-decorated trash containers that serve as companion pieces to the murals, from a train to a jack-in-the-box design.
Home to a set of larger-than-life residents, Lake Placid is home to a vibrant clown college that graduates 25 new clowns a year. Toby’s Clown School has trained thousands of professionals in facial expressions, acting movements, and balloon art, making Lake Placid home to more clowns per capita than anywhere else in the country. One of the only museums dedicated to American Clowns, make sure to visit the American Clown Museum and School and to see over 700 pieces clown memorabilia, including a life-size hand-carved carousel horse.
Colorful plants that light up any garden, Lake Placid is also famous for producing 98 percent of the world’s caladium bulbs. Imported from South America in the 1920s, growers made caladiums a big business in the 1950s where you’ll now find over 1,000 acres dedicated to growing them. Due to its popularity in this region, the town plays host to an annual Caladium Festival in July that features arts and crafts, live entertainment and an antique car show, attracting crowds from around the state.
In addition to its unique flora and fauna, nature enthusiasts can discover plenty of spots in Lake Placid to take a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Home to 27 freshwater lakes, this small town offers the perfect opportunity to revel in some of Florida’s most beautiful natural scenery with a day of boating, fishing, golfing or exploring a local winery.