DeSoto County lies in the Peace River Valley, and the river shapes the rhythms of life here.

Aerial view of two people canoeing down a river

The outdoors are important. People are tuned to sunrises and sunsets more than what the clock says. Jobs are centered around what the river provides, from fishing and nature adventures to the fertile lands that gave birth to working orange groves and now make the area one of Florida’s leading producers of watermelon, blueberries, peaches, olives and tomatoes.

Agriculture is the leading industry, occupying nearly 25% of the workforce. The cost of living is nearly 15% lower than the U.S. average. County population is 35,500 – that number swells by roughly 50% during the winter months when Florida’s paradise climate inspires the annual migration of snowbirds and tourists from northern states and Canada. DeSoto County’s 639 square miles has a population density of just 55 people per square mile.

Visitors are often impressed by the wide open spaces and beautiful, endless vistas of ranches, orange groves and farmland.