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Best Day Trip Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2008 - Canoeing and Fossil Hunting on the Peace River

Readers' Choice: Airboat Ride in the Everglades

Be sure to pack your macaroni strainer when you set out for a day of canoeing on the Peace River. Here, it's not just the live oak trees and hawks that are the attraction — it's the camel teeth! Yes, that's right — scientists say that from the Eocene Epoch (50 million years ago) to the Pleistocene Epoch (11,500 years ago), our home turf was trampled upon by sharks, dolphins, mammoths, mastodons, and yes, camels. The limestone earth in Central Florida made a comfy resting ground for lots of their dentures, not to mention the occasional giant armadillo part and a whale ear bone or two. During your canoe ride, take some time to set down your beer (yes, you can bring coolers) to hop in and out of the boat and sift through the bottom-dirt to see if you find any such treasures. Because Arcadia is just a three-hour drive from Fort Lauderdale, a two-hour, five-mile canoe trip or a ten-mile half-day paddle can be easily done in a day. (A 16-mile trip is best enjoyed with an overnight stay; Canoe Outpost rents tents, and you're allowed to have campfires on the riverbank.) What's that, you ask? Gator teeth? Although our scaly friends do call the Peace River home (and yes, you'll probably see some), the folks at Canoe Outpost swear you can make them keep their distance by donning "gator beads" — gator-shaped Mardi Gras beads. They're available for sale at check-in.

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