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Go antiquing or canoeing in this charming corner of Florida

Antiques are the apple of just about everyone’s eye in the quaint southern Florida town of Arcadia, but there’s more to this corner of the Sunshine State than vintage finds. Situated just an hour east of Sarasota, the seat of DeSoto County was built by farming and ranching and has evolved into a wonderful weekend getaway, with outdoor activities, laid-back entertainment options and unique shopping experiences.

In addition to the two dozen antique shops that occupy space in Arcadia, the Antique Association of Arcadia hosts a fair once a month along the city’s historic downtown corridor, drawing thousands of shoppers to visit more than 100 dealers.

Arcadia is dotted with historic buildings, such as the Ingraham House, a dogtrot-style cabin that was typical for turn-of-the-century residences. Adjacent to the house is a seed and fertilizer store that has also been restored and now is home to records left by early Arcadia residents.

Kick Up Your Heels

Floridians love their festivals, and Arcadians are no different. Pioneer Day in March introduces guests to “old Florida,” with hands-on history lessons and opportunities to taste traditional Florida foods. Stop by the DeSoto County Watermelon Festival in May, featuring a classic seed-spitting contest and other family-friendly fun. Early fall means pumpkin season, and the DeSoto Pumpkin Festival draws crowds with its live music, hayrides, costume contests, and food and craft vendors.

Saddle up for some bronco-busting fun when the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo comes to town. Each spring, Arcadia welcomes cowboys and cowgirls to compete in barrel racing, steer wrestling, mutton busting and bull riding.

A woman kayaks through swampy river.

Paddle Along Peace River

Arcadia’s location in south-central Florida allows visitors to experience the wild natural beauty of the state up close and personal, and boat tours along the Peace River give visitors front-row views of native wildlife. The lazy waterways that course through the region are ideal for casual canoe trips, too.

Golf, Florida Style

Mild winters and tolerable summers mean ample time on the golf course. Sunnybreeze Golf Course in Arcadia is a nine-hole course replete with tree-lined fairways that stretch across lush landscapes. The Peace River runs adjacent to the par-35 course, which takes advantage of the terrain and offers guests frequent wildlife sightings.

Juicy Seafood

Savor the local delicacies in a tropical setting at the Nav-A-Gator Grill and Marina in Arcadia. Overlooking Deep Creek, which branches off the Peace River, this fish camp-style spot is popular with boaters and campers. The popular eatery serves up grilled grouper or fried gator tails accompanied by lively entertainment. The cover charge usually goes to school supplies or nonperishable food.

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