TBFC’s only field trip that we invite non-members to join in on the hunt!
Rules at Thousand Trails require that you be an overnight guest in order to hunt fossils from their property. If you’re interested in this trip, make reservations now at Thousand Trails. You will only have access to the Peace River “Mini” Adventure if you are a guest at the campgrounds.
Simply make your reservation at the Thousand Trails Campgrounds to join the fun!
Monthly Peace River Field Trip Update:
Next trip scheduled for May 22, 2021!
Monthly River Trips:
Finally, weather and water levels will allow us to
meet at Brownville Park north of Arcadia. Next trip is Saturday,
February 27. Or, find the time to go hunting on your own! A record
40 fossil hunters showed up for the Peace River Day Trip on Jan 23.
That included 7 students from the Riverview High school Science Club a
nd their advisor, science teacher Michael Hepburn. Joe and Carol
Balsay, a couple from Cleveland, OH, joined us and donated a box
of fossils for our silent auction consisting of brachiopods, horned
coral, trilobites and others from the Ordovician to Carboniferous
Periods. While we all found shark teeth, turtle shell and dugong
ribs, the nicest fossil I saw was an upper molar from a three toed
horse found by Leanna Davis.
The GPS address is 1885 NE Brownville St., Arcadia, FL, 34266. They are open for fossil hunting but no camping or restrooms due to COVID-19. I arrive at Brownville Park around 9AM.
Please watch this page, the calendar and Facebook for cancellations due to high water. It is not unusual for TBFC to cancel river trips in the fall due to high water levels, but now that we are well into February, we should be good to go until the rains become more frequent in May or June. - FRED
2020-2021 Season - COVID-19 Updates for Field Trip Status:
VULCAN - All 2021 trips canceled at this time.
CEMEX BROOKSVILLE QUARRY - All 2021 trips canceled at this time.
PEACE RIVER - Fourth Saturday, water depth allowing. (Check here and the Calendar for Updates)
CEMEX CENTER HILL - All 2021 trips canceled at this time.
Additional details can be found in the monthly club newsletter. Updates to field trips will be updated here.
Below is general information, pre-COVID-19:
Check out the Events Calender for upcoming field trip dates. The club has two field trips almost every month except the summer months when the club is closed. We go to the Vulcan limestone mine north of Brooksville on the second Saturday of the month to collect fossil sand dollars. We go to the Peace River, mostly on the fourth Saturday of the month, to collect shark teeth and mammal fossils.
Vulcan Field Trips:
To reach Vulcan (16313 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Brooksville, FL 34613), take I 75 north to Exit 301, Brooksville/ Rt 98. Go ten miles to Brooksville and follow the signs for Rt. 98 north. Go another ten miles north of Brooksville on 98 and watch for the CEMEX/Vulcan signs on the left side. Wait by the highway entrance. We go in at 9:00 AM, so don't be late.
Here is some information about fossils we commonly find on our trips to Vulcan. (as an image or as a PDF).
Here's some info on echinoids which are a very common find at Vulcan.
The Peace River:
Open to everyone. Here is some information about Recommended Tools for screening in Florida rivers. Below is more information about locations to fossil hunt along the Peace River and other Florida locations.
The water level for the Peace River - Arcadia Florida can be monitored via the US Geological Survey as seen below:
If the water level is lower than 3.5 feet in this graph, you can hunt fossils using the shovel and screen method in the shallows. There are several places to put in and just walk; boats are not needed.
We have started doing our monthly hunts at Brownville Park. The site is 6.3 miles north of Arcadia on Brownville Rd which goes out to a county Park on the river. Park at the boat ramp and walk upstream to the island and hunt the shallows. Yes, it is free. Check the calendar for trip updates.
Another location in that area is the Peace River Camp Ground at Arcadia, ask at the desk, when you check in and pay for a $15.00 pass that covers 2 days, for the wilderness area beach.
The water level for the Peace River - Zolfo Springs Florida can be monitored via the US Geological Survey as seen below:
The water gage at Zolfo is in a deep hole and does not indicate hunting levels at Thousand Trails.
Typically, if it is 6.5 feet or lower there will be good fossil hunting in the shallows.
Folks who like to camp will enjoy Thousand Trails RV Park located at:
255 HWY 17 South, Wauchula, FL 33873
They border a long stretch of the Peace River. You must be a camper to hunt from their property. Screens and shovels are the recommended tools for fossil hunting from this location.
If you are in the Gainesville area you can try Hog Creek, and while there, don't miss the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University, it is first rate.
There are some beach spots. South of Venice at the end of Harbor Drive is a park called Caspersen Beach with good beach hunting. Englewood and north to Manasota Key is OK, but the shark teeth tend to be pretty worn by the waves. It is nice to sit at the waters edge and pick out little teeth or use a screen. If you are a certified SCUBA diver, diving from shore from Caspersen or Venice Beach may lead to larger teeth. There are also a handful of dive charters in the area that can put you on fossil rich spots with depths up to 30ft. If you are lucky, you may find a Megalodon tooth!
Field trips are open to Club members only, with a signed release form on file (unless overwise noted).
For more information on trips contact our Field Trip Director Fred Hendershot.
Club members can learn about Upcoming field trips during club meetings or through the clubs Facebook group page.