Along a quiet shoreline of the Peace River, an interpretive visitor center, the remains of a Seminole War era fortress, and a memorial are important components of Paynes Creek Historic State Park, which memorializes the flashpoint of the Third Seminole War.
Location: Bowling Green
Fees: $3 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
A trading post. A deadly moment. After the Second Seminole War this creek flowing into the Peace River marked the boundary of an uneasy truce between the Federal Government and the Seminole Nation, pushed southward through Florida.
Several months after the trading post opened, on July 17, 1849, five Seminole warriors (one of whom had been outlawed by his tribe) attacked the trading post, shooting Captain George S. Payne, Dempsey Whiddon, and William McCullough. Payne and Whiddon died.
Despite attempts by the Seminoles to appease the U.S. government after the incident, it sparked immediate conflict. With ground broken in October 1849, Fort Chokonikla was the first fort built at the beginning of the Third Seminole War. The nearby creek was named for the captain killed at the trading post. The fort was occupied for less than a year, since soldiers kept dying of malaria brought on by the mosquitoes that resided along the floodplain of the river.
In addition to its historic sites, the park has a swinging bridge over the creek, a variety of natural habitats to explore on nature trails, and places to fish along the Peace River.
Explore the park
- Peace River Trail - Following Paynes Creek to its confluence with the Peace River, the Peace River Trail at Paynes Creek Historic State Park is a nature trail with scenic overlooks