Southwest Florida is overflowing with fun ways to pass the time, and Desoto County stands out as a weekend destination for family, couples, and solo adventurers.

From the quaint streets of Arcadia to the natural beauty of the Peace River, Desoto County has something for everyone! This curated list of things to do in southwest Florida this weekend will help you to plan your ultimate escape – but if you can’t fit all your “must-do’s” into one weekend, don’t be surprised if you find yourself coming back after your next work week is over.

#1 – Paddle the Peace River

The gentle waters of the Peace River make it the perfect spot for canoers and kayakers to take in the serenity of the surrounding nature. If you don’t have your own canoe or kayak, there are a plethora of companies located close to the river from which you can rent equipment. Many of those same outfitters also offer tours with an experienced river guide, so you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the sites safely.

#2 – Tell Ghost Stories Around the Campfire

Camping is a relaxing, family-friendly way to experience even more of Desoto County’s beautiful outdoors. Many of the local RV parks include access to amenities that will keep the whole family comfortable. Beyond bathrooms and showers, though, some campgrounds focus more heavily on fun activities and social events. The Peace River Campground, for example, hosts live music, food trucks, and ice cream socials – in addition to the swimming, ATVing, and other on-site activities!

#3 – Hunt for Fossils

The banks of the Peace River are rich with history, and fossil hunters often have success with digging in the area. Sift through the silt around the river, and you could find fossilized bone and fossilized shark teeth – even including the rare megalodon tooth!

#4 – Go Antiquing in Historic Downtown Arcadia

Antiquing enthusiasts and casual browsers alike will find plenty of unique gems in Arcadia’s shops. The charming town is renowned for its array of antique shops, and each one is brimming with vintage treasures and collectibles that span the decades. A stroll through the antique district will take you back in time, and you might just find that perfect piece to add to your collection or your home’s eclectic decor.

#5 – Attend a Rodeo Event

Arcadia’s All-Florida Championship Rodeo in March is an exciting four-day affair that you won’t want to miss. Over four days, you can watch a variety of events from bull riding, bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping, and mutton bustin’. If you can’t attend the All-Florida Rodeo, though, you still have a chance to come and experience cowboy culture. Smaller rodeos happen throughout the year, so be sure to watch for updates and events from the Arcadia Rodeo website.

#6 – Check Out Local Vendors at the Oak Street Market

Arcadia’s farmers market, the Oak Street Market, is held every 2nd Saturday, October-May from 9am to 3pm. You’ll be impressed at the fresh, locally-grown produce, but the farmer’s market is about more than fruits and vegetables! Live music, artisanal crafts, food trucks, and local shops are all common at Oak Street, so there’s a little something for everyone.

#7 – Have a Picnic and Nature Walk at Brownville Park

Located right on the Peace River, Brownville Park is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Bring lunch and share a picnic with family or friends, but take your time packing up! The 75-acre park features a loop nature trail that’s perfect for kids, and hikers looking for more of a challenge will enjoy the more extensive trails on the north side of the park. Day passes for Brownville Park are just $2, and if you become a frequent visitor, you can purchase an annual pass for $25.

DeSoto County: Your Southwest Florida Adventure Spot

As you explore DeSoto County and its surrounding areas, you’re likely to find a few favorite spots and activities that bring you back time and time again. The peaceful wilderness around the Peace River and the quaint town of Arcadia team up to deliver a phenomenal weekend experience, and we can’t wait to see you here.