Campground Review: Thousand Trails Peace River

This is a Thousand Trails park and the vast majority of campers will be members.  For my explanation of the Thousand Trails system and the various memberships, click here.

Peace River RV & Camping Resort (Thousand Trails)

2555 US HWY 17 S
Wauchula, FL 33873

Time of year we camped there: Late Fall and Winter

Verizon Coverage: Yes

  • We’ve had strong Verizon signal (4-5 bars) at every site we’ve occupied at Peace River.

Notes about the surrounding area: This campground sits between Wauchula (to the north) and Zolfo Springs (to the south).  Wauchula is a small town, but has all the necessities: Wal-Mart, Winn-Dixie, post office, Ace Hardware, Tractor Supply, car wash and various shops and restaurants.  There is very little nightlife in this area.  If you’re looking for a night out, you will probably want to head East to Sebring.

Our favorite spots are an authentic Mexican food stand on 17 called Tacos Isabel and, believe it or not, burritos from the Marathon gas station at the corner of 17 and 64.  These aren’t the typical gas station fare.  They’re made in-house daily and they offer breakfast, chicken and steak varieties.  There is also a park directly across 17 called Pioneer Park that can be fun to explore.

Particular notes about this campground and/or sites: The Peace River runs along the backside of the campground and there is a boat launch on-site.  Kayaks and other oar-powered watercraft are popular.  Swimming and wading is at your own risk due to the alligator population.  Many people hunt for fossils in and around the river.

This is a campground made up of two distinct sections: upper and lower.  The upper section is largely made up of 50 amp, full-hookup sites.  The lower is much more primitive with 30 amp pedestals and no sewer.  Along with 30 amp electrical, the lower section suffers from pretty severe low voltage issues (it prompted our purchase of the Hughes Autoformer).  The reason for the lower section issues stem from the fact that it spends a portion of the year under water (it rains nearly every day in the summer in this area).  So many of these pedestals are actually submerged for weeks at a time – it’s a miracle they work at all!

Due to the obvious advantage of having a upper section site, they hold a “lottery” during the busy winter months.  This means that when you check-in, you take a lower section site.  At 1PM every day, they run down the list of names, in order of their check-in, and offer those campers who are present vacant, upper section sites.  Often, if you get in before 1PM, you may get your lottery site that day.  If you don’t appear at the 1PM lottery or pass on the available sites when your name is called, you will retain your position on the list for four days (if your name isn’t called, that doesn’t count as a day).  If you have not taken a sewer site after your name is called four times, you have to re-add your name at the bottom of the list.  If you don’t take a sewer site, the campground does offer a “honey wagon” service during the busy months.  The first pump-out is free (as long as you tell them your propane/electric appliances are using propane) and each after is supposed to be $15.

The roads in the campground are decent.  Some are sand, but many are nicely paved.  The sites are mostly sand and grass, with the exception of a few paved sites occupied (or formerly occupied) by annual site-holders.

Amenities: Two nice pickleball courts, a popular pool and hot tub, shuffleboard, a very small camp store, an active activity center (with WiFi), and a large laundry facility.

Our experience: Ehhh… it’s alright.  Our first stay here in December 2015 was not pleasurable.  We had leveling jack issues (no fault of the campground) and then it began to rain… and rain… and rain.  Before long, the lower section (where we were) was either flooded or very soggy.  Luckily, our site didn’t flood, but every time we stepped out the door we were squishing in inches of mud.  We saw numerous big rigs (motorhomes and towables) get stuck and need assistance.  From what we were told, the campground was of very little help to these stranded campers and they were left to rely on the good nature, and big trucks, of their neighbors.  Having that much rain, at that time of year, is rare for this area.  I can’t blame the campground for heavy rains, but I can make judgement on how they handle the situation.  Of course, all of this has a direct effect on our experience, no matter who’s at fault.

We had to change many of our early 2016 reservations here due to the flooding.  They did their best to accommodate, but the campground capacity was nearly cut in half.  We have stayed twice in the upper section and it’s been fine, but the road noise from US HWY 17 can get loud, so light sleepers beware.

Two of our stays have had some really nice surroundings.  Once we parked under an arch of large trees with tons of Spanish Moss hanging down.  That site had 50 amp, full-hookups and a really nice concrete patio (this was in November when there was plenty of open sites and the lottery was not operating).  For our current stay (December 2016), the upper section is full and the lottery is in full operation.  We’ve never participated in the lottery for a few reasons: 1.  We can go roughly two weeks before needing to drain the gray tank, and longer for the black.  2.  We like to get set up and stay set up.  With the lottery, we would either have to wait before setting anything up to see if we get a site or tear everything down to move 1/10th of a mile and redo it all.  3.  With our autoformer, the lower section low voltage isn’t an issue.  4.  We can comfortably run both A/C’s on 30 amp.  Back to our current stay, we pulled in and decided that if we were going to take a lower section site, let’s get a scenic one!  So, we’re currently backed up directly to the Peace River.  Our patio looks right out over the river and it’s really quiet back here – no complaints as long as the skies don’t rip open and turn this area into a lake.

The final comments to wrap this up are based on the area, outside the campground, and the employees.  First, there isn’t a whole lot to do.  Compared to TT Orlando, this is the boonies (not really, but there is no Disney World nearby).  This area is largely populated with orange groves and the workers to support them – hence the abundance of Mexican food.  The sidewalks tend to roll up around 8PM.  Secondly, many of the employees are super friendly and helpful, as they should be, but we’ve run into a couple at this park that seem to be stuck in rude mode.  Yesterday when I pulled in and was walking in to grab my registration paperwork, Kim was rolling up the Tow Defender (protects the car from road debris while being towed).  An older, male employee yells at me from across the parking lot that I cannot unhook there.  I asked where he wanted me to unhook.  He told me to go through the gate and “park somewhere”.  I told him that I would be directly in front of other RV’s (and their patios) and they may not like that.  He blew it off like that wouldn’t be his problem… not exactly good customer service.  If you tell me not to do something, that has to be done, at least give me a reasonable alternative and maybe, just maybe, do it in a manner that respects me as a person who helps pay your salary.  Rant over.

SOH Score (1-10, 10 being the best campground imaginable): 5.5* – It’s been decent overall, with a few really enjoyable stays, but with a few shortcomings.  If we have the choice of here or Orlando (or one of the Orlando overflow parks), we will likely opt for Orlando.  Of course, being able to be here without having to spend any money is what keeps us coming back to every Thousand Trails park. (*We originally scored it at 4.5, but after our last stay where we had a spot right on the river, we upped it a point.  We really enjoyed our last stay with nice site, great weather and we met some really great people while we were there.)

Have any questions about this park?  Have you stayed there and have a different take or something to add?  Send us a message or comment below!

See you on the road!

Ryan, Kim and Jet

6 thoughts on “Campground Review: Thousand Trails Peace River

  1. I’m at Peace River right now and your review is spot on. While this place is just OK, it’s kind of in desperate need of some TLC. Half the sites are down because of the recent hurricane (that’s what they told me anyway), yet after being here for almost a week I’ve yet to see a single person out there working on anything. However, and as I’ve said on other threads, I’ve learned to lower my expectations at TT parks because it’s a cost effective way to live the lifestyle. As fulltimers it’s not like every park is a vacation destination.

    1. Hey, Andy! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment! When it comes to being in Florida, during the winter, and not spending any money out of pocket, it’s tough to complain. We’re disappointed that the lower section is closed – down by the river had become our go-to spot. We saw a crew working on the electrical lines one day, but that was it. After all that, we are still very appreciate of our TT membership. See you around! -Ryan

  2. We got a TT zone pass membership when we started out in August, but for various reasons, we haven’t really used it. It seems they are definitely a mixed bag Some great parks, and some pretty terrible. I am totally with you on the bad customer service aspect. It all might seem minor, but when you have a bad interaction with an employee right in the beginning, it really does kinda ruin the experience… Anyway, here to better campgrounds for 2017!

    1. Thousand Trails can be a great deal, but only if it’s used. I know that sounds elementary, but we hear of many people who complain about their membership, but yet they don’t use it. They frequently blame it on park locations, but those locations were known when they paid. Anyways, hopefully you can begin using it more and enjoy it. It has been a really great thing for us!

      1. Yeah, we got the northeast/southeast zone pass. We’d booked a bunch of campgrounds in the northeast, but then I broke my leg and we got stuck at the (non-TT) park we happened to be at. By the time we could leave, we had to hurry down to Florida to get to my in-laws for Christmas (at a non-TT park booked months before), and now we’re making our way across Florida (using Florida state parks, since they’re great). We’re hoping to use the TT parks in Texas and again when we get back to the northeast next summer. Hopefully we won’t have any more distasers that screw up our best laid plans…..

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