This part of the Peace River is a slow moving, easy to paddle wilderness trip. The Peace River is over one hundred miles long, starting in the Green swamp between Tampa and Orlando and flowing south to Charlotte Harbor which flows to the Gulf of Mexico. For the most part it is freshwater flow but in the area of 27 degrees Latitude, it starts to mix with the saltwater and becomes a Mecca of wildlife. During the springtime there are hundreds of nesting birds on the islands. Woodstorks, Ibis, Herons, Eagles, Osprey, Spoonbills, and many more species. There are gators and Manatee, otters, as well as land animals such as bobcat, panther, fox and more. The current is slow and this area being effected by the tide, the river current at times actually flows inland!
We launched our canoes and kayak at a neat little marina on the river called the Desoto Marina. There is free parking and also a great little old Florida, fish-camp restaurant called the Nav-A-Gator grill at this site. We had lunch at this grill and we are glad we ate after the trip because we ordered their "super grouper sandwich" and it really lives up to it's name! There is also a bait and tackle shop on site as well as a small museum of fossils and artifacts that were found on the shores of the Peace River.
This area is made up of many islands and waterways and the folks at the Nav-A-Gator were very helpful in giving us info and a map of the area. This type of water is great for experienced paddlers as well as beginners and children with lots to see and places to picnic and swim and enjoy the great outdoors! The phone number for the Marina is 800-308-7506, for info about the area. (the marina also has kayaks and canoes for rent and is an authorized ocean kayak dealer)
There is a boat ramp, parking, bait and tackle, restaurant, canoe and kayak rental, cottages by the weekend/week/month, helpful staff.
The Desoto Marina and Nav-A-Gator grill is located off I-75, exit 31 (Kings hwy, 769) Go east towards Arcadia for 3 miles and turn right at the Nav-A-Gator sign, this road is about one mile and ends at the Peace River.
The Nav-A-Gator grill and Desoto Marina at 800-308-7506.
Waterproof chart #4-E (covers the Peace River and Area).