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Travel Tips

Something to satisfy every outdoor explorer

If you envision a vacation filled with active outdoor adventures, Myakka River State Park is the place to be during your time in Sarasota. Donít bother asking if there is enough to do at Myakka because you couldnít possibly run out of fun outdoor activities even if you visited the park every day on your vacation. Myakka River is the oldest and largest state park in Florida, with 45 square miles of wetlands, prairies and woodlands for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and bird watching.

You canít visit Myakka without taking a stroll across the Canopy Walkway that straddles the Myakka River with a suspension bridge and a 74-foot tower for magnificent views of the Florida ecosystem.  The Canopy Walkway was originally conceived to provide more knowledge to researchers regarding the treetops of Florida trees, but researchers decided to build the walkway in a state park so that the public could also learn about the trees and wetlands of Florida. Before you head out to Myakka, check out and download a printable brochure that provides details about Florida native trees and other native landscape you will see along the hiking trails. You can also pick up brochures of the native birds for the birdwalk and native trees for the Canopy Walkway at the concession stands located in Myakka park.

Donít miss out on an opportunity to hike the remote nature trails that seem to go on forever and provide both a dayís exercise and a refreshing view of the beauty Florida has to offer. If you donít feel like hiking, the concession stands offer bicycles for rent to give you the opportunity to further explore the park as well. You can also rent canoes and kayaks at the concession stand, if you donít want to use your feet, but instead your hands to get a feel for the park from the riverside. If you already have your own gear at home, feel free to bring it with you and head right to the river for a relaxing day of canoeing or kayaking on the peaceful Myakka River.

The freshwater Myakka River is also large enough for two large airboats affectionately called the Myakka Maiden and the Gator Gal that you can hop on to take a scenic cruise of the Upper Myakka Lake.

There are still plenty more opportunities for outdoor adventure at Myakka. Even if you show up on a rainy day, donít turn around and head home, at least spend time enjoying the 7- mile scenic drive that takes you through the marshes and wetlands and along the Upper Myakka Lake.

Unfortunately, Myakka does not offer horses to rent for the day, but if you happen to have your horses with you on vacation, feel free to bring them to Myakka to stretch their legs on the wilderness backcountry of the 45 miles of Myakka State Park land.

Even with all these possibilities there are still many more opportunities for exploration at Myakka River State Park. Throughout the week, the park offers a visitors center providing detailed information about wildlife and their habitats and a series of movies about the landscape and wildlife at Myakka River State Park. If you are planning to stay for primitive, RV, cabin or tent camping over the weekend, the park ranger offers guided tours on Saturday nights that take you out into the woods for campfire programs.

Myakka River State Park is located inland between Sarasota and Venice. From US-41 take 681 N to 75 N and get off at Exit 205 or SR 72. Within a few miles you will come to the entrance of Myakka River State Park. Remember that there are small fees for a carload to enter the park for the day and there will be other fees if you are interested in camping overnight or renting canoes or kayaks.


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