Florida Paddling Trails Association

Hardee County Blueway Community


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Hardee County



 

If you're seeking a little solitude and a spiritual connection with the river and the wilderness through which it runs, you might try an overnighter, like the trip from Zolfo Springs to Gardner.

It's about 20 river miles from the canoe launch in Zolfo Springs to the pickup point, a concrete boat ramp at Gardner. The journey takes about two days, just time enough to experience the Peace River at its most serene and scenic best.

The bottom is mostly firm white sand. Although the current rarely exceeds four miles per hour, it picks up speed in the meanders, carving more sand from the outer banks and sweeping it downstream. The sand settles on the inner bank of the next curve, altering the river's course one grain at a time. Or it heaps against water logs and snags, forming tiny islands in the shallows.

You won't hear the sounds of civilization between Zolfo and Gardner; you're far from the nearest highway. Within a mile or two of the canoe launch the power lines flanking the river veer away, and the wilderness asserts itself. After that there are few signs of human activities. The bluffs and wetlands that once echoed with the shouts of foremen and the thuds of the miners' picks and shovels have long since been reclaimed by the foliage and seasonal floods, and the further the river takes you, the more profound is your sense of isolation and freedom.  (From The Peace River Canoe Trail)
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        Paddling Trip Miles

1. County Road, Bowling Green
0.0
2. Lake Branch Road, Bowling Green 1.9
3. Heard Bridge Road, Wauchula
6.2
4. Crews Park Boat Ramp, Wauchula 8.5
5. Griffin Road, Wauchula 9.4
6. Pioneer Park Boat Ramp, Zolfo Springs
13.0
7. River Road Boat Ramp, Gardner
32.0
Bowling Green (#2) to Wauchula (#4)
6.6
Wauchula (#4)  to Zolfo Springs (#6)
4.5
Zolfo Springs (#6) to Gardner (#7)
19.7


     
USGS Stream flow Gages






   
Local Canoe Outfitters

 Peace River Paddle Sports
PO box 1015 Wauchula, FL, 33873  (863) 832-2102  kuleanaadventures@gmail.com 
Canoe Outpost,
2816 NW County Rd. 661, Arcadia,
(800) 268-0083, peacepaddler@canoeoutpost.com
Canoe Safari,
3020 NW County Rd. 661, Arcadia,
{877) NOW-SAFARI, canoesafari@earthlink.net
Peace River Campground ,
2998 NW Highway 70, Arcadia,
(863) 494-9693, Contact@PeaceRiverCampground.com
Nav-A-Gator,
9700 SW Riverview Cir., Arcadia, (941) 625-4407,
info@nav-a-gator.com

Places to Stay

Bed and Breakfast
The Quilter's Inn
                          106 S 4th Ave, Wauchula                  
      (863) 767-8989 

Hotels and Motels


Best Western
2727 US Hwy 17N, Bowling Green
(863) 773-2378
Colonial Arms 2370 US Hwy 17N, Wauchula
(863) 773-9758
Peace Valley Motel                
409 N 6th Ave, Wauchula                   
(863) 773-4037
Tropicana Motel
1501 Us Hwy 17, Wauchula
(863) 773-3158

Camping and RV Resorts

Avion Palms RV Park
2998 NW Hwy 70  Arcadia
(863) 375-4448
Cracker Lake RV Resort
296 State Road 64 E, Zolfo Springs
(863) 735-1331
Crystal Lake Village
237 Maxwell Drive, Wauchula
(863) 773-3582
Florida SKP Co-op
2219 SKP Way, Wauchula
(863) 735-1499
Hardee Lakes Par
205 Hanchey Road, Wauchula
(863) 773-6788
Lazy Acres RV Park
405 Finch Dr., Zolfo Springs
(863) 735-0733
Little Charlie Creek RV Park
1850 Heard Bridge Rd., Wauchula
(863) 773-0088
Orange Blossom RV Park
2829 US Highway 17 N, Bowling Gree
(863) 773-2282
Pioneer Creek RV Resort
3935 Buckskin Dr, Bowling Green
(863) 375-2004
Pioneer Park
231 Wilbur C King Blvd, Zolfo Springs
(863) 735-0330
The Oasis RV Park
937 Sabal Palm Dr., Zolfo Springs
(863) 735-0030
Thousand Trails RV Resort
2555 US Highway 17S, Wauchula
(863) 735-8888
Torrey Oaks RV & Golf Resort
2908 Country Club Dr, Bowling Green
(863) 773-3157


Things To Do Along With Paddling

 



 


Historic Paynes Creek State Park- Fishing, Hiking and a Visitor's Center.  The center has dioramas and displays that depict how Florida's pioneers and Seminole Indians lived during the early to mid-1800s. Video programs, shown on weekends and holidays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m, provide insight into frontier life at Fort Chokonikla and the events that led to the Third Seminole War (1855-58).

Play Golf- Hardy County offers three golf courses: Torrey Oaks in Bowling Green, Little Cypress in Zolfo Springs and the Bluffs just north of Gardner.


Story of Jesus- In the weeks before Easter, thousands of people flock to the tiny town of Wauchula to see the area's best-known Passion Play, The Story of Jesus. More than 200 actors and 150 animals present a dramatic retelling of Jesus' life, crucifixion, and resurrection on a 250-foot panoramic set at the Hardee County Cattlemen's Arena.

Hardee Lakes Park contains 4 lakes. Fishing is allowed in all the lakes. It has horse trails, a hiking trail, a Handicap-accessible hiking trail, a bike trail, picnic areas, a picnic pavilion, a playground, and a boardwalk that winds through the woods with an observation tower where people can watch wildlife. Campsites are under development..


Main Street Wauchula was designated by the State of Florida in 1995.  Over the past 14 years the organization has seen many changes in the downtown.  From the creation of Main Street Heritage Park to the beautiful streetscape completed in 2008, the downtown has once again become a center of activity enjoyed by the local community, businesses and visitors.

Friday Night Live- Join us in Downtown Wauchula the 3rd Friday of each month for Friday Night Live from 5:00pm - 9:00pm.  Enjoy live entertainment, shopping and dining, and activities for all ages!

Bensen Days- Bensen Days is the annual celebration of aviation and in particular the Gyroplane, sponsored by Sun State Wing and Rotor Club and named after Igor Bensen who popularized the home built gyroplane.
It is one of the oldest and largest gyroplane fly-ins in the world.   Each spring enthusiasts gather in at the Wauchula Municipal Airport to rekindle our bond with each other and drill holes in the sky in a celebration of aviation unlike any other.


Pioneer Park- boasts a campground, a museum and a wildlife refuge.  The campground offers grassy sites in the open or under the shelter of trees.  It is favored by retirees, snowbirds and family campers.  A dike and a few short walking trails are by the Peace River where anglers try for panfish and where canoeists launch or land their craft.


Cracker Trail Museum is located in Pioneer Park. Since its beginning in 1967, it has collected over 4,000 items related to pioneer-era Florida history. Each item is maintained either within glass enclosed cases or strategically placed around the floor of the museum. Many of the larger items are provided in a setting that would be reminiscent of pioneer living.


Wildlife Refuge- Animals move freely in a natural habitat, while visitors watch from an elevated boardwalk.  The animals, who cannot be returned to the wild for one reason or another, include cougars and two black bears. One of the bears is a retired professional wrestler.  The cougar was given up when the pet grew too big.


Pioneer Park Days is a show of antique gas engines and antique cars. It's a parade and a flea market. And it means people from all over the country traveling to Hardee County. Free entertainment is provided each day and there is a large variety of food, prepared by local civic, church, school groups, and non-profit organizations.

Solomon's Castle,  60-feet tall and 12,000 square feet, was created by the eccentric sculptor Howard Solomon out of printing plates discarded from local newspapers near Ona, Florida. Howard and his wife Peggy now live on the Solomon Castle grounds and offer tours to visitors. Here you will find other unique creations made by Solomon like the Boat in the Moat restaurant, built to replicate a 16th century Spanish galleon ship.


For More Information:

Peace River Explorations

Contacts for Blueway Community Events:



News and Special Reports

Peace River Valley



Citrus County Visitors & Convention Bureau

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