Myakka River State Park is one of Florida’s largest parks with 37,000 acres of its own. Home to the officially designated “Wild and Scenic” Myakka River, this state park is the perfect destination for outdoor adventurers who are looking to get closer to the natural, diverse Florida wildlife.
Choose from one of over 80 campsites and get ready to explore!
Bring your kayak and make your way through a variety of waterways where you can spot american alligators, snook, ospreys, and countless species of birds.
Embark on one of many hiking trails to explore more of the unique environments found within Myakka River State Park. Trek to the highlands to get a look at Florida’s traditional wetlands where marshes, cypress dome trees, and grazing birds will welcome you. Go even deeper to reach the diverse array of grasses, wildflowers, and vines that grow freely in the park’s protected dry prairies. Don’t forget to bring your camera with you! Short shrubs in the dry prairies allow visitors to see for miles in any direction.
You’ll also want to bring the camera atop the Canopy Walkway at Myakka River. Just a short walk from the main road, this suspension bridge provides a panoramic view of the entire park from a unique vantage point above the tree canopy. Every camper can find what they’re looking for at this Florida park.
Myakka River State Park is a not to miss Florida State Park. Don't let the proximity to Sarasota Fool You! It is very close to Sarasota which makes it a good stop if you are visiting the area or an outstanding stop if you are from out of town as you can enjoy a little bit of Surf and Turf.
As a Sarasota local who loves the outdoors, I've visited most of Florida's State Parks and this is one of my favorites for sure. We tend to neglect what we can do and see everyday and this is no exception. I'm always amazed.
This time we camped out for the weekend even though we live about 10 miles away and we have never felt so far from home while being so close. Probably my first"staycation".
You can paddle, hike, ride or just chill in this really large state park. Super clean and well run. All the staff are really nice and you can tell they enjoy being there.
This park is the real deal and you will feel you are in another world. Get out and explore!
Sidebar: A lot of people ask me why I share my favorite"secret" places with total strangers and the answer is that the very best places everywhere are under tremendous pressure from growth, development and environmental pressure. Once you see a place like this you will forever be changed and hopefully become an advocate for preserving them wherever you may be.
Took my best friends on their first camping trip. We walked 5 miles to our campground. We took many beer breaks but were able to see so much wild life on our walk there. It was in the middle of nowhere, quiet, green, and perfect for our needs. I loved it and will be returning every year for this biological recharge my soul and body needs.
Let me start by saying that I live very close to Myakka River Sate Park and it has been a place that four generations of my family have been enjoying for over 40 years. It is very large for a state park. You can spends days hiking the trails and paddling the river and lakes. The wildlife is everywhere! What would you like to see? Deer, wild hogs, alligators, birds of all kinds? You will probably see these and more at just about any time of year.
There is a nice interpretive center, picnic grounds, boat tours, canoe and kayak rentals, and a tram tour through the park. Don't miss the canopy walk. It's a great way to see a part of the park's ecosystem that we normally only see from below. You also get a great view of the park in all directions from the top of the tower. Florida is flat and views like these are hard to come by. There is also a restaurant and store where you can get pretty good food with a view of the lake. My wife wants to make sure you know you can also get ice cream at the restaurant.
There are three camping areas for tents and RVs. The two older areas are called Big Flats and Old Prairie. The sites in these areas are close to each other and there is little or no under story between them. There is water and electric at each site with clean but older bathroom facilities. Both of the campgrounds are also close to the main road with some sites backing up to the road. There is a convenient dump station inside the park but no sewer hookups in these two campgrounds.
The third and newest campground is called Palmetto Ridge. This one was obviously built primarily for large RVs with water, electric and sewer connections at every site. The bathroom facilities are more up to date and very nice. They are also not used as much by the campers because this area is mostly filled with huge motor coaches and fifth wheels that all have their own facilities and do not need to worry about their holding tanks because they have full hookups. The sites are pretty roomy and there is plenty of under story in between to keep you from feeling like you are right on top of your neighbors. There are quite a few pull trough sites in this area. They are improved gravel sites and most are very level. The sewer hookups are a little higher than you would expect. It will take some supports to keep a positive flow. If you know how much it rains here in the Summertime you will know why these must be kept above the flood stage level.
A note about rain: Florida gets a lot of rain in the Summertime. It is not uncommon to get multiple inches of rain in a very short time and this can happen almost any day between June and the end of September. The river and lake do flood and large parts of the park are in their flood plain. the Big Flats campground can be shut down because it is the closest to the lake. This is not a reason to avoid Myakka in the Summertime. We have camped there in June and August and if you find someplace cool to hangout during the day you will be rewarded with very pleasant walks and paddles with lots of wildlife to see in the mornings and evenings. Pro tip: If you are staying in the park, get up really early to see the sunrise from the top of the canopy walk.
There are two other ways to spend the night in Myakka River State Park. There are cabins available to rent and primitive camp sites in the hiking areas. The cabins have recently been rebuilt and I must admit I have not seen the new ones. We did stay in the original cabins before we got our RV and they were very nice for a family getaway. With a kitchen, bathroom and air conditioning they are a very comfortable way to spend some time in the park. The original cabins were built with palm logs by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). The CCC was a program to create jobs and improve public facilities during and after the Great Depression. Some of that construction can still be seen at one of the picnic areas in the park. There is also a monument to the CCC inside the park. Backpackers can spend a few days hiking the trails and camping at the primitive sites. Haven't done that myself since I was a kid back in the 70s but they were great trips. No noise or light pollution. On a cool, clear night the star gazing in fantastic. My wife wants me to make sure you know that she won't be at the primitive campsites but hopes you enjoy yourself and not to forget about the ice cream.
For native Sarasotans, Myakka River State Park is a beloved point of pride. Most people never leave the beach when they come here for a visit and miss what the rest of Florida looks like. It is well worth your time to spend a few nights away from the beach and see what else makes this such a special place. This is a very popular spot and the campsites and cabins book up early especially for the Winter months. Reservations can be made 11 months in advance on the reserve America website.
Hidden cabins, hiking, off-road biking, boating, wildlife…so much beauty and activities to enjoy in this park! The cabins are off the main path, tucked away and private. They are super roomy and comfortable with their own picnic tables and grills. You can launch canoes/kayaks or book a trip on the boats in the park. If you like off-road biking there are several nice trails. Really family-friendly!
This was a great state park. Sites are close together and not much barriers between. Bathrooms were clean, good hot shower. Plenty of wildlife to see. Alligators, birds, wild hogs, deer, and more. If you are a bird lover this is a place you should stop. Hiking, fishing, kayaking, plenty to keep you busy. They have an observation tower and suspension bridge. Park is not far from beaches or city of Sarasota. We stayed 5 days could of stayed longer. Park is busy on weekends, not so bad during week. Park staff were very friendly and helpful.
we stayed at Big flats in site # 10, secluded. bike up the roads in a.m or evening and you will see lots of deer romping around. 5 deer crossed the road right in front of us. the views are terrific and you can canoe, kayak or take a tour ride. There Is an overhead canopy walk but it was too wet to get there this time
YESS!! Myakka is the ultimate adventure getaway. I stayed in the primitive grounds so it was about a 5 mile hike in with a pack. We set up camp and could not wait for the sun to go down for stargazing. This park is epic, at the entrance are there is a huge bouldering rock as well which is fun. Outside of the beauty and trails there are Floridas wildest animals. Panthers, hogs and alligators. Bring a flashlight and hide your food at night but dont forget to listen and look for these amazing creatures.
Very clean, well kept
What isn't there to do at Myakka River SP. First of all, this place is huge. I think it took me about 10 minutes to drive from one end to the other, but it is full of wonderful things to do along the way. There are two entrances to the park because it is so large, but one entrance is not always open, so its important to check that online before heading over. The main entrance has a nice Welcome Center right at the front with a small store shop. There are three different loops to camp in, one is specific to tent camping and is not open year round called Big Flats Campground. Its further back in the park and surrounded by beautiful trees. The other two are tent/RV, one being very shady called Old Prairie and the other having drive through sites called Palmetto Ridge which does not have many trees for shade. There are also cabins and these are remodeled versions of the original cabins that were built back when the park first opened in the 30s.
The activities on site vary. because the park is so large, its great for long morning jogs and bike rides. The view is beautiful only the Myakka river and your bound to run into wildlife (i saw deer, gators, hogs and so many different birds)! There are also 39 miles worth of hiking trails, which all vary in distance. Some even have primitive campsites for those that enjoy backpacking. Along one of the hiking trails, is an observation desk with a canopy walkway. The tower soars 76 feet high so you have a great view of the park! There is also a pretty bird watching area for those that enjoying this activity. Even if you don't the view is amazing and a great place to sit and watch for wildlife.
The last part of the park I want to touch on is the Pink Gator restaurant/gift shop. I think it is one of the largest shops I have ever been in. The food at the cafe was wonderful! I had the chicken salad (way too good!). And they have a small Edys IceCream Parlor. This part of the park also allows access to the river, where you can canoe/kayak or what ever water sport you are into. The one thing that stood out to me is the Airboat ride. This boat hold about 30 people and takes you out on the the lake for a tour. I don't think I have ever seen an air boat that large.
The facilities were all very well taken care of as well and I cannot think of one complaint! I definitely recommend visiting this park.
Visited back in 2011 & 2014. We tent camped on both occasions. Took the boat tour & saw more alligators than we could count. Lots of armadillos around the campsites at night/in the evenings. Being from further North, armadillo are a pretty exciting animal to spot. The park has lots to do, & they've actually got 3 separate campgrounds. I can't recall which we stayed in, but they were decent for all your tent camping needs (can't attest to RV camping though).
The park is really lovely and being that your in FL your still close to beautiful beaches too.