Summer Family Fun! Fossil Hunting the Peace River, Florida

010 Summer Family Fun! Fossil Hunting the Peace River, Florida

Fossils from the Peace River, Florida

If you are looking for an adventure to share with the kids, a nice way to stay cool and still be outdoors is paddling  the Peace River panning for fossils.  Watching the excitement on children’s faces with each fossil that is uncovered is pure joy.  It is amazing that some of these specimens are 12 million years old!

The Peace River in the southwestern part of the Florida Peninsula is well known for its prehistoric finds mainly from the Pleistocene (2 million years ago) and Miocene (12-28 million years ago) eras.  Due to its slow current, the Peace River is one of the few places in Florida were the fossils found here can be very well preserved.

 Summer Family Fun! Fossil Hunting the Peace River, Florida

Fossil Hunting in the Peace River, Wachula FL

If you are new to fossil hunting, Fossil Expeditions run by author Mark Renz of Fossiling in Florida, offers tours that include walking or canoeing.  My son and I did our first excursion this way.  He sets his tour in different locations of the River.  This time we met in Wachula.  Mark gave a brief overview of the fossils we were expected to see and how to identify them. He also gave a lesson in panning etiquette so as not to dump filtered through remains in your neighbors digging area.  After the 20 minute speech, we preceded to head down stream in our Kayaks.   We stopped about on mile downstream from the put in and we began to dig.  Mark’s philosophy is to keep digging in the same area.  The deeper you dig the more likely you are to find the uncommon specimens.

 Summer Family Fun! Fossil Hunting the Peace River, Florida

Fossil Hunting with Screen and Shovel

For larger groups or independent types, another way to experience the Peace River is renting a canoe from the Canoe Outpost in Arcadia, Florida.  They offer half day, full day, and overnight runs.  You can stop anywhere along the ride and pan for fossils until your hearts content. Just make sure you are back by 5:00 PM.  My son and I took some friends on this section after we were thoroughly schooled by Mr. Rentz. We could show our friends the ropes and were fairly adept ourselves at identifying the finds. We picked up the Fossilized Shark’s Teeth and Fossils Guide by Byron Fink at the Canoe Outpost to aid us in identifying our finds. This guide offers full color photos of the various sharks teeth, horse teeth, dugong, barracuda, tiger and other fossils commonly found in the Peace River.  The Megalodon Shark tooth is still always the key find on any excursion.  If you are not familiar with this monster shark, ask any child and they will fill you in!

 Summer Family Fun! Fossil Hunting the Peace River, Florida

Fossilized Shark's Teeth & Fossils: A Photo Indentification Guide by B. Fink

Fossils we were able to identify included: Prehistoric Horse tooth, Snaggle Tooth, Alligator tooth, various sharks teeth, Megalodon tooth, turtle shell, dugong ribs, deer antler, sting ray, tiger and other misc bone specimens.

 Summer Family Fun! Fossil Hunting the Peace River, Florida

Inside the Fossilized Shark's Teeth & Fossils Guide

About the Peace River: Originating just south of Bartow, Florida where the Peace Creek and Saddle Creek merge together, the river flows 106 miles to flow through Polk Hardee, Desoto, and Charlotte Counties emptying into the Gulf of Mexico at Charlotte Harbor.

About the Author: Barbara is the owner of  an on-line store Riverbanks  Outdoor Store for several years and has frequently engaged in outdoor sports for years including camping, mountain biking, whitewater rating, kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking. Barbara also hosts a blog Riverbanks Adventure Forum that focuses on product reviews and adventure vacations.

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About Adventurous Barbara

Hello, I am Barbara Bowen of B A Bowen Photography and I have a passion for the outdoors. I enjoy bringing you high quality photos from the most pristine places of Natural Florida and other places I explore. I hope you enjoy my photos as I kayak down the crystal clear waters of Florida’s natural springs or hike down an off the beaten path trail that has been untouched by human developement. I enjoy Florida wildlife, wildflowers, and natural scenes at their best and I certainly enjoy showcasing them for you!
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4 Responses to “Summer Family Fun! Fossil Hunting the Peace River, Florida”

  1. Thanks for coming to visit us at Canoe Outpost-Peace River and thanks for the mention in the forum. Hope to see you and yours again, we apppreciate your visiting us.

    Becky & staff
    Canoe Outpost-Peace River

  2. Can you please send directions to you from Jacksonville, Fla, and approximate drive time? Thanks! Are you affiliated with Mark Rentz? He has been suggested to us for a guide.

  3. I truly wanted to write a small word so as to express gratitude to you for all the fabulous concepts you are giving on this site. My considerable internet lookup has finally been paid with really good suggestions to go over with my neighbours. I would say that many of us readers are rather lucky to be in a magnificent network with many perfect individuals with great suggestions. I feel pretty privileged to have come across your entire site and look forward to so many more enjoyable times reading here. Thank you once more for a lot of things.

  4. Thank you Ai! Your kind words are greatly appreciated.

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