(Click here for an article I wrote about Thousand Trails.)
Address: 2555 US HWY 17S, Wauchula, FL 33873
Phone: (863) 735-8888
# of sites: 460
Full hookup price: From $57 /day (30 amp)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Warnings: High demand park, sewer not available on all sites, alligators (?)
Peace River RV Resort is located in the woods along the Peace River just outside of Wauchula, Florida. It is about 45 minutes from the Gulf coast and just under two hours from Orlando. It is one of only two full Thousand Trails resorts in the Sunshine State and sites here are very much in demand during the tourist season of January through March.
There are 37 Encore (Trails Collection) resorts and only two TT parks in Florida. Along with the Orlando Thousand Trails Resort, this park is part of the "Florida shuffle" for TT members, where they come and go between Encore properties. Following a stay, members must be out of the Encore system for at least seven days before staying at another Encore property, but there is no waiting period if they stay in a full TT park. Thus, the TT campgrounds are a huge convenience and cost savings if you want to spend a considerable time if the state.
Proximity to Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Punta Gorda on the Gulf and Orlando in Central Florida is a big plus for this park's location. Even Vero Beach on the Atlantic coast is only a two-hour drive away. The wildlife is abundant and birding is exceptional in Central Florida, where you'll see many species that are only found here. Fishing is also popular everywhere in the state.
The park itself has the usual resort amenities and it sports a very nice nature trail along the Peace River. Sites are above average in width and we were able to snag an excellent space in which our front door faced the woods.
As I alluded to in the warnings, there are often far fewer sites with sewer drains than there are RV's checking in. To make matters worse, you are left on your own to find them while avoiding the empty sites with sewers that are reserved for seasonal or annual campers. When we return in January, I'm told we will be participating in a lottery system for the sewer sites but need to be waiting at 9am to get into the drawing, which happens around 1pm. If we don't get a sewer site in the lottery, there are always several dozen dry sites or with water and power available we can stay overnight in and get in the next day's lottery. Not ideal. It seems to me that with the popularity of the park they would expand the number of sites with sewer hook-ups.
Like many resorts, the dog park is about a half-mile walk from much of the resort and is very small. There are dog waste baskets scattered around the park but none have bags, so you do have to provide your own. With two dogs, sometimes I will run out while on a walk and I really appreciate it when a resort provides the poop bags around the park. In addition, there are signs around the park warning of alligators and snakes, making for a nervous time walking near the river.
The staff here wasn't always friendly. For example, the office here has a rule that you can’t pick up a package before 2pm and sure enough, they stuck to that rule when we tried to pick up one at 1:53. Okay, that’s the rule. Knowing this and that they close the office at 4:30pm, I was able to get there in time, with 4 minutes to spare, or so I thought. I followed a few paces behind a young woman up the stairs and to the office. When she went in, she closed the door behind her and locked it, pulled the shades down and deadbolt locked. It was still 4 minutes before 4:30 and the gal had seen me behind her. Now I have to wait until 2:00 the next day.
As we were leaving the resort on travel day we heard what sounded like assault rifle gunfire is several short bursts. It sounded like it came from down the aisle next to us and we were a bit taken aback. Was there an active shooter in the park? It turned out that there is hunting in the bordering properties and that's where the gunfire was coming from. It's a bit unnerving to think we'll be returning to a place where hunters are using assault rifles nearby.
All-in-all, the Peace River RV & Camping Resort is adequate and convenient for a stopover between other campgrounds. As an alternative location, I would probably recommend the Orlando Thousand Trails, a much nicer and better run facility, for an interim stay, but if that's not a good option, Peace River will still hold you over.
Click here for an article I wrote about Thousand Trails.
Jack Huber is a novelist with 7 mysteries published, along with several books of poetry and photography. Now retired, he and his wife, Nadyne, are free to travel the country in their 32' 5th wheel and 1-ton Ford pickup.