Scenic Myakka River State Park lies along the Myakka River in Sarasota, Florida, only an hour’s drive south of Tampa.
The Myakka River flows through 66 miles of wetlands, prairies and pine forests once used by cattle ranchers and later developed into a Florida state park by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
This beautiful recreational area is one of Florida’s largest parks and it is located within the second most biodiverse ecosystem in North America.
Visitors enjoy exploring trails through the forest and wetlands as well as kayaking, fishing, camping and birdwatching.
You’ll discover a nature lover’s paradise within Myakka River State Park. Upon your arrival to the park stop by both the visitor center and the ranger station to pick up guides, maps and more information about all of the wildlife, nature and history surrounding the park.
After you’ve explored the trails or taken a ride on the glass bottom boat stop over at Myakka Outpost and have lunch, dessert or even a craft beer at the Pink Gator Cafe. And don’t forget to visit Myakka Gifts & Boutique for souvenirs of your visit.
Here are some more activities that you can do during your visit to Myakka River State Park:
Boating at Myakka River State Park
Take a trip around the Upper Myakka Lake on the glass bottom boat during your visit. Tours run daily and are 45 to 60 minutes long.
Bring your canoe or kayak (or rent from the park’s concessionaire) and paddle along the Myakka River. A boat ramp is located near the concession area.
Be sure to check with the rangers before setting out on your own to learn about weather hazards (water levels, strong currents, etc.) and any boating restrictions.
Hiking at Myakka River State Park
Hike through the woods, across the prairie and along the lake during your visit to Myakka River State Park. You’ll discover lots of wildlife and nature to make your walk memorable.
Late fall to early spring are the best times to hike but if you will be visiting during the warmer months be sure to wear sunscreen and carry plenty of water.
Here are couple of the trails at Myakka River State Park:
- Myakka Trail – An easy 38.9 mile loop through back country roads and along the woods, prairies and marshland. Wear comfortable sturdy shoes and be aware of alligators near the marshes.
- William Boylston Nature Trail – An easy 0.8 mile walk through the woods and along the boardwalk over the marsh. This trail leads to the Canopy Walkway and spectacular views of the park from above.
Biking at Myakka River State Park
The park’s 7 miles of paved roadways provide bikers with a smooth ride through the woods and past grassy marshes and the lake. Or ride along the Myakka Island Trail to the Carlton Reserve and experience a grassy, sandy or muddy ride.
Horseback Riding at Myakka River State Park
Explore the 12 miles of horse trails at Myakka River State Park. Be sure to bring a negative Coggins test for each horse brought into the park so that the ranger station can provide you access to these trails.
Fishing at Myakka River State Park
Bring your fishing poles and supplies (and a Florida freshwater fishing license) for a relaxing day along the Upper Myakka Lake or Myakka River. Just be aware of the alligators and please do not feed them.
Birding at Myakka River State Park
The park’s 37,000 acres of natural habitat provide ideal conditions for birdwatchers and nature lovers of all ages. Both native and migratory birds may be seen from within the park, especially from the top of the Myakka Canopy Walkway. See songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl and raptors.
Stop by the ranger station during your visit and pick up the Wings Over Florida guide for a more detailed list.
Nature and Wildlife at Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park is located inside the 2nd most biodiverse ecosystem in the country. This protected natural area is showcased along the Myakka Canopy Walkway. From this walkway visitors are able to see the park’s diverse wildlife such as songbirds, waterfowl, alligators, otters, bobcats; all from a tree top observation area.
Pets at Myakka River State Park
Pets (leashed and supervised) are allowed everywhere at Myakka River State Park except inside buildings and on the Canopy Walkway. Service animals are not considered pets and are welcome throughout the park.
Camping at Myakka River State Park
Experience more of nature by spending the night inside Myakka River State Park. The park’s 3 modern campgrounds, 6 primitive campgrounds and cabins provide guests with accommodations to suit each individual’s tastes.
The 3 modern campgrounds contain 90 sites with electric and water hookups. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring and is conveniently located near restrooms and hot showers.
The 6 primitive campgrounds are located along the trails. All of these sites have fire rings and a post for hanging items.
The park also has another 3 group camping areas available for youth groups. These campsites fit 6 tents and up to 20 people each and are close to bathrooms and drinking water.
The rustic log cabins, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the late 1930s, sleep up to 6 guests in a large common room. Each cabin has a full kitchen, bathroom with shower, fireplace and porch. Linens are also included. No pets are allowed inside the cabins.
Myakka River State Park
13208 State Rd 72
Sarasota, FL 34241
Here is a great YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Myakka River State Park: