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Orlando Sentinel features DeSoto County

May 11 | Orlando Sentinel features DeSoto County

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/destinations/florida/os-exfl-desoto-county-20180506-story.html

The Peace River wends its way for 106 miles from Bartow in Polk County out to Charlotte Harbor in the Gulf Coast, but one of the best places to take in the slow-moving waterway is from the small town of Arcadia.

Those interested in camping and exploring the river by canoe can stay at places like the Arcadia Peace River Campground.

Geared toward fun seekers, this down-home campground has room for RVs, campers and tents. Expect a cavalcade of ATVs roaming the roads during the day, but for those who want amenities with their camping experience, this campground has a pool, general store and even a resident-run RV restaurant that even serves free coffee for breakfast.

Kids will love the resident goats and large playground and cats roaming the property.

But the real fun is exploring the river. The Peace River is rife with shark teeth and other Ice Age fossils. Sifting through the sands along the shores of the 165-acre campground often lead to fossil finds.

Putting out by canoe from the campground, which has a limited number of canoe rentals, gives explorers options since the river runs with ease most of the time. So those who don’t mind the return trip can paddle their way with the current down to the bridge of State Road 70 before heading back.

Heading upriver from camp is even more calm, and can get paddlers deep into the middle of nowhere. Daylong rentals are $60 while two-hour rentals are $30 or four-hour rentals for $40.

But others may prefer to take advantage of one of the most popular canoe rental outfits in the state: Canoe Outpost Peace River, right next door to the campground.

This outfit will bus people up to day-long or overnight river trips that means complete downriver paddlings.

Paddlers can choose 5-, 8- or 12-mile runs for $45 in either two-person canoes or single or tandem kayaks. These runs feature exclusive picnic stops along the way. Overnight trips have reserved campsites and cost $80.

Heading north of Arcadia will mean actually finding peace on the Peace River as motorboats tend to find the water too shallow heading upriver.

Along the run, paddlers will get in touch with the real Florida. Alligators may lounge on the shoreline and dozens of birds pass by from kingfishers to osprey. If it’s quiet, paddlers might catch a glimpse of deer, fox, otters, turkeys and even llamas. The llamas aren’t native.

If you go

Arcadia Peace River Campground

2998 State Road 70, Arcadia

863-494-9693

www.peacerivercampground.com

About DeSoto County

Population (as of 2015): 35,800

Major city: Arcadia

Tourism bureau website: visitdesoto.com

Top restaurants:

Magnolia Street Seafood and Grill: magnoliaseafood.com

Mary Margaret’s Tea and Biscuit: marymargaretsteaandbiscuit.com

Slim’s Bar-B-Q & Grill: facebook.com/pages/Slims-Bar-B-Q-Grill

Top bars:

Nav-A-Gator Grill: nav-a-gator.com

Fire’s Open Road Bar: facebook.com/openroadbar

Rattlers Old West Saloon: facebook.com/Rattlers-Arcadia

Top attractions:

Brownville Park: visitdesoto.com search Brownville

Arcadia Opera House: facebook.com/ArcadiaOperaHouse

Top hotels:

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Arcadia: Visit website

Oak Park Inn: oakparkinnarcadiaflorida.com (temporarily closed due to Hurricane Irma)

rtribou@orlandosentinel.com, 407-420-5134

Contacts

Mandy Hines
County Administrator
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Ph:   (863) 993-4800
Fax:  (863) 993-4809

201 E. Oak Street
Suite 201
Arcadia, FL 34266
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May 14 | BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS PUBLIC MEETING
THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WILL HOLD A PUBLIC MEETING DATE/TIME: August 14, 2018...  read more

May 22 | BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONER PUBLIC MEETINGS
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May 28 | CLOSED FOR MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY
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Jun 12 | BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS PUBLIC MEETING
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Jun 26 | JUNE 26TH MEETING HAS BEEN CANCELLED
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Orlando Sentinel features DeSoto County
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