CURRENT CONDITIONS AS OF 5/21/2013:
The Peace River is 31" below normal at our dock in Arcadia. (If the above date doesn't change, it usually means the water level didn't change). Scroll down to see the age and ability restrictions in black lettering. Normal to us is when our floating dock is flush with the bottom step at the dock. We've be judging the level like that for over 40 years.
For camping options go to the overnight pages or see the links at the bottom of the page. See text below for more information and any restrictions. Darker text is the current restrictions if any apply.
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Firefly Season is from March thru October.
Gator Mating Season is in April. Don't try to mate with one, they don't like it. June & July are nesting season. Don't mess with them and they won't mess with you. You see a bunch of babies, paddle the other way, Mama Gator is close by.
Windy Season (Hurrincane Season) is from June to November. If it's raining where you are, it may not be raining on the river! Call first.
Fossil Hunting Season is usually Spring time into early summer, depends on the rain. Just keep an eye on the water level. 12" below or more is the best and that can happen any time.
If the water level is 12 inches below normal and lower, river is good for fossil hunting. Water needs to be fairly clear and below normal for fossil hunting. Fishing gets good in low water, work the dark water around the tree stumps. If you stay in the river channel, in the dark water, you can minimize the number of times you have to get out. If you fall in the river, just stand up, river is that shallow. Kids of all ages are welcome. Perfect time to bring the dog. Dogs can run and play in the shallow water. Gardner Day Run is not available at 10:00 a.m. when the river is more than 18" below normal. Trips to Zolfo Springs may not available when the river is lower than 24" below normal or when customers start complaining. We don't take folks north of Wauchula when the river is 24" below normal or lower (too much walking).
If the water level is between 12 inches below normal and 24 inches above normal, river is perfect for canoeing. Kids of all ages are welcome. If the water level is above normal, fossil hunting is not any good, needs to be normal or below. At normal, the average depth of the river is about 24". There are some deep holes, there are some shallower spots. The bottom of the river is not level but fluctuates. Fossil hunting is ususally not any good.
If the water level is at 2 feet above normal to just below 5' above normal all runs are open, no non-swimmers please. The water is normal for this time of year with a currentof about 2 miles per hour. If you have been to any of the spring-fed rivers in the northern part of the state, it's running similar to them. It's higher and moving faster than most times of the year. Leave the itty-bitty kids at home unless both adults in the canoe are very experienced paddlers or good swimmers. Currents are faster than normal on the runs north of Gardner and there are some downed trees under the water. If you tip you'll lose everything. No hourly rentals. Oak Hill Runs are real short, hour and a half to an hour if you paddle. Trips north of Gardner are for the very experienced paddlers only. When the water is at these levels and higher, you need to stay in the middle of the river, stay away from downed trees (strainers). If you hit a tree, more than likely you'll tip and lose the canoe and all your gear. The biggest problem is there are very few shallow spots to stand and get your canoe tipped back over. If there are two or more canoes, tie together to avoid tipping. Bring rope or bungees for tying together. No kids under six years old as paddlers. Kids, 4 years and older in the middle, are o.k. just make sure they keep their lifejackets on. We suggest that canoes tie together to minimize tipping. If you have any question about your paddling or swimming ability in a current, please wear your lifejacket. We supply the standard orange "horse collar" on the bus or have fitted vest jackets upon request.
If the water level is at 5 feet above normal to just below 8 feet above normal, no non-swimmers, experienced paddlers only. Five feet above normal is typical this time of year. Trips north of Gardner are not available (no Zolfo Springs, Wauchula, or Ft. Meade Runs). There is a strong current. No tipping of canoes, there is hardly anyplace to stop and turn the canoe back over i.e. no beaches, no sandbars, no shallow spots. No kids under the age of 12 years old as paddlers. Kids, 6 years and older in the middle, are o.k. One adult and one to two small children under the age of 12 in a canoe that is not part of a group will not be allowed to go. We suggest that canoes tie together to minimize tipping. Everyone especially the adults need to be good swimmers. We recommend everyone wear a lifejacket. If you stay in the middle of the river, you shouldn't have a problem. Most people tip when they get too close to the trees, don't grab the tree branch, just duck or lay down. If you tip, you will lose everything including the canoe.
If the water level is 8 feet above normal and up to 10 feet above normal, no non-swimmers, experienced paddlers only. Everyone is required to wear a lifejacket. There are very few places to stop. If you tip you lose everything including the canoe, there's hardly anywhere to flip it back over. We suggest that canoes tie together to minimize tipping. If you stay in the middle of the river, you shouldn't have a problem. Most people tip when they get to close to the trees. Don't grab a tree branch, sure fire way to tip the canoe, just duck or lie down and go under the tree. There is a very strong current. No kids under the age of 16 years old as paddlers. Kids, 12 years and older in the middle, are o.k. The only trip available is the 12 mile/Gardner Run. All public boat ramps are closed including Brownville Park
If the water level is 10 feet to just under 11 feet above normal, every one has to be 18 and above. Everyone has to be an excellent swimmer and an experienced paddler. Everyone must wear their lifejacket. If you stay in the middle of the river, you shouldn't have a problem. Most people tip when they get to close to the trees. Don't grab a tree branch, sure fire way to tip the canoe, just duck or lie down and go under the tree. There is a very strong current.
If the water level is at 11 feet above normal or higher, Canoe Outpost-Peace River does not put any canoes or kayaks, rental or transports, on the river.
Note: Canoeing can be a hazardous sport. Please be careful and follow all safety rules. Do not jump or dive from canoes, bridges, banks, rope swings, or trees. It's not worth never walking again. Swim with caution. Shoes are recommended. See other hints and recommendations at Day Hints and Overnight Hints.
Low Water Camping Quick Print (PDF) (if water is 24" below and lower)
High Water Camping Quick Print (PDF) (if water is 5 feet and higher)
Click for local weather report
USGS Streamflow Gage Links:
Bartow, Fort Meade, Bowling Green, Zolfo Springs, Gardner, Arcadia