Ever since I was a kid, I had heard of people going to the Peace River to hunt for a variety of fossils. Being an avid outdoorsman and always interested in the awesome experiences that Florida has to offer, I had to check it out.
Why the Peace River
During the time of the dinosaurs, Florida was under water. Millions of years would eventually pass, sea levels rose and fell and Florida would take shape into what we know it as today. The Peace River contains sediments that have eroded for millions of years and buried remains of animals long dead.
The best time of year to hunt for fossils is during the dry season – the winter months. This is because if water levels in the river are too high you won’t be able to safely and effectively search for them.
Note:* No matter when you go there are alligators in this river, a lot of them. They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them, so just keep your eyes open and pay attention and you’ll be fine.
While it is possible to search for fossils by wading in from shore, I don’t recommend it. This is because the river is very wide and long, you really need a canoe or kayak in order to cover more area. In other words, it takes some effort to search for these treasures.
Not all spots are created equal, you want to find areas with gravel on the bottom. Using a shovel, dig in these areas and simply dump your shovel and sift, it’s that easy!
My Peace River Trip
I have a kayak and a boat, however, living in the city, I have no where to keep either at my apartment. That being said, I went down to Canoe Outpost in Arcadia and rented a kayak as well as the tools that I needed.
They make it super easy to get out there and have a wealth of knowledge that you need to have a great day out there!
They offer two trips, a five and eight hour trip. After you park your car and pay for your kayak (if you didn’t make a reservation prior), a van or bus with canoes and kayaks in tow will pick you up and take you to a boat ramp. After you put in, you will float back down to the area where you parked your car.
You can fossil all you wish, (just don’t dig into the banks), just make sure that you make it back by 5 p.m.
I found a number of fossils, mainly shark teeth, which is what I mainly wanted to collect anyway.
A Final Word
If you want to learn the ropes and go with a group, you can hire a guide who knows the river and can bring you to productive locations straight away, I recommend Paleo Discoveries.
To collect fossils, you do need a permit, however, shark teeth are excluded from this requirement. For information on fossil permits click here.
Until next time, tight lines!