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This is a beautiful park close to the Tampa area. The campsites are separated into 2 areas. Most are small and open. On our visit, there were NO friendly people here. Some good hikes in the park. There are a few places to launch kayaks and I went from campground up to rapids and back down. Good paddle, lots of birds. Roads are paved in park and its a big circle so great for bike riding. There are large day use areas and a beautiful huge pool. Concessions were closed not sure if seasonal or covid? There is a neat suspension bridge and class 2 rapids along hike. Also a CCC museum (closed). Don't arrive before check in time because you have to wait in day use area until "it's time" for you to check in. Great park but not a great vibe.
This is kind of our go to Florida State Park as we live very close and really enjoy the hiking, biking and paddling the river and lake. We typically book last minute as“In-Season” campsites are often difficult to find. In addition, the lower campground is sometimes flooded out or closed for repairs putting even more pressure on the two campgrounds closer to the main park entrance which is further from the lake and general store.
I may have reviewed this park before but always find different things to share. Their are three main campgrounds:
(1) Old Prairie where we usually stay. This is an older campground with a more rustic, state park vibe. Maybe 20 sites typically hosting smaller trailers, vans and tents etc.
(2) Palmetto Ridge is more more or less across from Old Prairie with a more open and modern looking vibe and where you will see more of your typical RV crowd of Big Rigs and larger trailers
(3) Big Flats is about 3 miles down the road from the entrance close to Lake Myakka where the tour boat, boat ramp, general store etc is found. We have never stayed here as it has been closed for repairs, maintenance and flooding on numerous occasions. Perhaps something to consider if you are booking way in advance.
The reason Myakka is so popular to Florida visitors is it has outstanding beauty, a real Jurassic Park feel but is very near Sarasota with all the beaches, museums, restaurants and activities literally less than 1/2 hour away. Lots of people vacationing Florida on the cheap like to set up home here“in-season” and jump from site to site and stay as long as they can. Summers are much easier to find a site.
We are lucky to live so close. We are here more in the summer and swing seasons. This park makes an excellent 2 or 3 day adventure or a great Basecamp for your Florida vacation. You won’t be disappointed.
NOTE: Some of the public facilities have been closed due to COVID including the “Canopy Walk” which is very cool so you may want to check if that sort of thing interests you.
It is always interesting to me how all the Florida State Parks are a little different as the park manager seems to have some autonomy. Certain parks have public facilities closed like the Canopy Walk here at Myakka but another Florida State Park might have their observation tower open even though the structures are similar. Go figure.
Really enjoyed our stay here, good size lot, #10, with electric, water, picnic table and fire ring. Clean dump station. Natural trees providing privacy between lots. A lot of walking trails for people and horses. A surprise was the amphitheater. Washers and dryers are located outside the bathrooms. Friendly hosts and other campers. Would came again.
Lovely and hugs state park with a mix of prairie and forest (palm, oak with Spanish moss and other epiphytes). We stayed at Old Prairie Campground site 38 and it was a lovely spot at back of the loop. The OP. Amp hound is a bit tighter than the Palmetto campground in terms of space, but I really liked the feel of the campground and people were all friendly. Clean bath house and laundry facilities (bring quarters). Weather was in the 80s in early February. We did the nature trail (short), the canopy walk, and also got permits for the wilderness preserve. The hike there is beautiful - about five miles round trip. Feels like the Serengeti - wide open prairie with occasional trees. There’s a lake with TONS of alligators and lots of amazing birds. You have to get a permit from the ranger station at 8 am and they only give out enough for 30 people each day. Well worth it. The only bummer with this campground is that there isn’t trail access from the campgrounds themselves (at least not from Old Prairie or Palmetto). I like state parks where you can access the trail network straight from the campsite. Other than that it was beautiful.
Tent camped at a site in loop one. Weather was nice, though we were warned it can get a bit muddy when it rains. Crowds were a bit higher on the trails during Saturday afternoon but Sunday morning was much more quiet and we saw lots of wildlife.
We needed a campsite near Tampa FL for a few days to meet friends visiting the area from up north. Being a Floridian, we’ve experienced FL’s state parks and found them to offer privacy between sites. We weren’t disappointed with Hillsboro River State Park. Weather was cool in February that allowed for comfortable hiking and biking. Good Verizon signal to allow for plenty of streaming.
Stayed at Ashley campground, which is free with a reservation through Southwest Florida water management. They provide a Lock code for you to enter upon entering so there’s always a locked gate during your stay. The sites are very well-kept and I’ll have a firing and covered picnic table. The sites are a little close as there are not a lot of trees for privacy but overall a really nice camp spot. Has two vault toilets which were relatively clean. Mixture of equestrian campers and non-equestrian campers. Barely any cell service so wasn’t ideal for my work situation and had to go into town. 1-2 bars of 4G via AT&T.
Starkey is an amazing spot. After having such a good time recently at campsite #9, I decided to venture back.
The site was spacious and many trees to hammock from, but the best part was the field directly in back of the site that is easily accessible. Bathroom was also directly across from site. Unfortunately, these were really the only good things about site #14.
Site #14 is practically on top of 13 and 15 giving very little privacy.
IF YOU ARE HOPING FOR PEACE AND QUIET, DO NOT GO ON A WEEKEND
I went on a Friday night, and the entire campground was PACKED. Very loud, too many tents packed into each site (2 maximum per site, saw almost 8 tents at campsite 12). Though the field behind 14 is super nice, on a Friday night, all I could hear were screaming cars blazing on Starkey blvd.
Over all, this would have been a great site to stay at had it been during the week.