Located in northern Osceola Country and on the southern shore of East Lake Tohopekaliga, St Cloud is about 26 miles from Orlando. Yet, seemingly, it’s getting closer to the big city every day. Since 1990, by virtue of highway access to the region via U.S. Highways 192 and 441, growth in St. Cloud has boomed, much like the orange groves did in a bygone era. With the most recent expansion of Narcoossee Road and its proximity to Medical City, the new construction has boomed in the St. Cloud area. It’s more than 9 square miles are by no means densely populated, but the area is no longer considered remote.
St. Cloud was incorporated in 1915, but its history began much earlier as a retirement community for Civil War Union veterans, prompting the name The Friendly Soldier City.
Growth in recent years has led to the opening of one dozen schools within the Osceola County Public Schools District, highlighted by St. Cloud and Harmony high schools.
Much of St. Cloud’s recreation is centered on East Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho), which covers 12,000 acres and produces some of Central Florida’s finest fishing. Airboat tours on the lake are another popular activity; they offer a sampling of Central Florida wildlife, such as bald eagle and alligators.
Ralph V Chisholm Regional Park, on the shores of East Lake Toho, is a gathering place of choice for resident, as is the inland Hopkins Park.
Excluding the region’s global attractions, Reptile World Serpentarium, opened in 1972, has remained a viable tourist spot, thanks to a vast collection of snakes (more than 80 species), several species of lizards and more. Forever Florida offers ziplining, horseback riding and nature tours.
For residents, downtown St. Cloud is buoyed by the St. Cloud Main Street Program, established by community leaders to support and encourage restoration, promotion, and maintenance of the area’s historic character. The downtown shopping area features more than 15 antique and collectible shops, as well as craft stores, restaurants, and historical hotels.