Discover Myakka River State Park, Florida

Located in the heart of Sarasota County, Florida, Myakka River State Park is a breathtaking natural haven that promises a captivating escape into the wild. Spanning over 37,000 acres, this park is one of Florida’s oldest and largest state parks, offering diverse ecosystems, from sprawling wetlands and prairies to dense hammocks and pine forests. Established in 1941, Myakka River State Park is named after the Myakka River, which winds through the park for 58 miles, providing a lifeline for various flora and fauna.

Myakka River State Park visitors can embark on numerous adventures, including hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife spotting. The park is renowned for its impressive biodiversity, housing alligators, bobcats, deer, and abundant bird species, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and photographers. One of the park’s standout features is the Myakka Canopy Walkway. This 25-foot-high suspension bridge offers panoramic views of the treetops and wetlands, providing a unique perspective on the park’s intricate ecosystems.

Whether paddling through the tranquil waters of the Myakka River, exploring the scenic hiking trails, or enjoying a leisurely drive along the park’s scenic routes, Myakka River State Park promises an unforgettable experience.

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Top 3 Facts about Myakka River State Park

01

Oldest & Largest

Myakka River State Park, established in 1941, is one of Florida’s oldest state parks and one of the largest, encompassing over 37,000 acres of diverse ecosystems, including prairies, wetlands, hammocks, and pinelands.

02

Canopy Walkway

The Myakka Canopy Walkway, constructed in 2000, is Florida’s first public treetop trail. This 25-foot-high suspension bridge and 74-foot-high observation tower offer visitors a unique view of the park’s diverse habitats and the chance to spot wildlife from above.

03

Diverse Wildlife

The park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, home to many species. Visitors can encounter alligators, river otters, bobcats, wild turkeys, and over 100 species of birds, including the elusive roseate spoonbill and the majestic bald eagle.

Where to Sleep

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Mason Street Getaway

555 Mason St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, USA
Number of Guests 5
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 2
Sq Footage 1,165
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$475.00 / day
sparkles New

JP Rest House

V262+C5P, Manikganj, Bangladesh
Number of Guests 4
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 4
Sq Footage 2,400
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$300.00 / day
sparkles New

Juniper Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$198.00 / day

Hemlock Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$194.14 / day

Greenash Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Dogwood Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Camping and transportation in Myakka River State Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Myakka River State Park

By Car: Myakka River State Park is conveniently located in Sarasota County, Florida, and is accessible by car from several major cities in the region.

  • From Sarasota: Take I-75 South to exit 205 (Clark Road/State Road 72). Head east on Clark Road/State Road 72 for approximately 9 miles, and the park entrance will be on your left.
  • From Fort Myers: Take I-75 North to exit 205 (Clark Road/State Road 72). Head east on Clark Road/State Road 72 for approximately 9 miles, and the park entrance will be on your left.

By Air: The nearest major airports are Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) and Tampa International Airport (TPA).

  • From Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ): The park is about a 30-minute drive. Follow signs to I-75 South and then take exit 205 (Clark Road/State Road 72). Head east on Clark Road/State Road 72 for approximately 9 miles, and the park entrance will be on your left.

Places to Stay Near Myakka River State Park

Inside the Park:

  1. Campgrounds: Myakka River State Park offers several campgrounds with primitive and developed sites. The park has three main campgrounds:
    • Big Flats Campground: Features 26 sites with water and electric hookups.
    • Old Prairie Campground: Offers 20 sites with water and electric hookups.
    • Palmetto Ridge Campground: Provides 38 sites with full hookups (water, electric, and sewer).
  2. Cabins: The park has five rustic log cabins available for rent. Each cabin can accommodate up to six people and includes amenities such as air conditioning, a kitchenette, and a bathroom with a shower.

Nearby Accommodations:

  1. Hotels and Motels in Sarasota:
    • The Westin Sarasota: A luxurious option with modern amenities, located about 30 minutes from the park.
    • Comfort Suites Sarasota-Siesta Key: Offers comfortable and affordable accommodations with easy access to the park.
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Best Time to Go to Myakka River State Park

Summer

Summer

Summer in Myakka River State Park is characterized by hot and humid weather, with temperatures often reaching the mid-90s. Afternoon thunderstorms are common, providing brief but heavy rain showers. Despite the heat, summer is great for water-based activities such as kayaking and canoeing on the Myakka River and Upper Myakka Lake. The park’s lush vegetation provides ample shade, and early morning or late afternoon visits can help avoid the day’s peak heat. Be sure to stay hydrated and use sun protection during summer visits.

Winter

Winter

Winter is the peak season at Myakka River State Park, with mild and comfortable temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the mid-70s. This is the ideal time for all outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing, as the weather is generally dry and pleasant. Migratory birds flock to the park during winter, offering spectacular birdwatching opportunities. However, the park can become quite crowded, especially during holidays and weekends, so early arrival is recommended to secure parking and enjoy the attractions without the crowds.

Spring

Spring

Spring is an excellent time to visit Myakka River State Park. The weather is typically mild and pleasant, ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-80s. The park’s flora is in full bloom, creating a vibrant and colorful landscape. Wildlife activity increases during this season, making it an ideal time for birdwatching and spotting deer, alligators, and bobcats. Spring also sees fewer crowds than the peak winter season, offering a more serene experience for hiking, biking, and kayaking.

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Fall

Must-See Attractions

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Myakka Canopy Walkway

This 25-foot-high suspension bridge allows visitors to walk among the treetops and get a bird’s-eye view of the park’s diverse flora and fauna.

Upper Myakka Lake

Upper Myakka Lake is a prime location for wildlife viewing, with abundant alligators, wading birds, and fish. Visitors can enhance their experience by taking a guided airboat or pontoon boat tour to explore the lake and learn about its inhabitants.

Myakka River

The scenic Myakka River provides perfect conditions for kayaking and canoeing, offering a peaceful way to explore the park’s waterways. Fishing enthusiasts will also find great opportunities to catch bass, catfish, and other freshwater species along the river.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Myakka River State Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Check the park’s website or contact the ranger station for current information on hours of operation, entrance fees, and any special events or programs. This ensures you’re well-prepared for your visit.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Appropriately

Pack sunscreen, insect repellent, water bottles, comfortable walking shoes, and a hat. The Florida sun can be intense, so protect yourself from UV rays and stay hydrated.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Keep a safe distance from wildlife and never feed or approach animals. This helps protect you and the animals and maintains the natural behavior of wildlife within the park.

Stay Informed

Explore Early or Late

Plan to avoid crowds and the heat and visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Wildlife activity is often more abundant during these times, providing better opportunities for sightings and photography.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Myakka River State Park

The park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, birdwatching, wildlife viewing, picnicking, and camping. Guided tram tours and airboat tours are also available.

Yes, there is an entrance fee per vehicle, which varies depending on the number of occupants. Additional fees apply for camping, boat rentals, and guided tours.

Yes, Myakka River State Park has several restrooms located throughout the park, including at the visitor center, campgrounds, and picnic areas. Picnic areas are equipped with tables, grills, and scenic views.

Myakka River State Park offers campsites with primitive and developed options, including cabins. Reservations are recommended, especially during peak seasons.

Maintain a safe distance from wildlife and never feed or approach animals. Respect their space and behavior. If you encounter aggressive wildlife or an emergency, contact park staff immediately.

No, there is no public transportation within the park. Visitors are encouraged to use personal vehicles, bicycles, or explore the park on foot.

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