Fitz Edward O.
Sarasota, FL
Joined July 2019
Close to town with a little history

  We recently stayed at Koreshan Historic State Park because our son and his family moved to the Ostero area and this is very convenient to their house. We had heard of the park and took the chance to drive trough before staying there. The campground is pretty small with a total of 54 sites and only 42 open to RVs with the rest reserved for tent campers. There is one bath house for the entire campground. It is located closer to the front of the camping loop so campers in the sites towards the back will have longer to go. The sites are equipped with electric and water. The sites are narrow and quite close to each other. There is some under story in between but they are so close that it makes little difference. They are sandy sites which I imagine can get quite soft in the dry season. We stayed in July and the rain tends to keep things fairly easy to drive on but it sticks to everything. Be sure to bring leveling blocks for your RV. The sites are very uneven. The park is close to Tamiami Trail so you do hear some traffic noise at night. We stayed in site 28 which is near the back corner of the loop and the traffic noise was minimal. There is a path that runs behind the sites that leads to the bathroom facilities but the trail from our site to that path was overgrown and unusable. This was not the case on all the sites.

    The rest of the park is very nice with a newer picnic pavilion and nature trail along the Ostero River. There are canoes and kayaks to rent with a well maintained boat ramp. The nature trail runs from the picnic area through a large stand of bamboo to the historic site from which that park gets it's name. The Koreshan settlement was founded in the very early 1900s by a religious sect from the Chicago area. Many of the original buildings are still in the park and there are daily tours of the buildings and lots of information about the people who settled here.

   As I mentioned, this park is close to Tamiami Trail at the end of Corkscrew Rd.. You are minutes from grocery stores, hardware stores, restaurants and all kinds of retail shops. The Coconut Point Mall is right down the road. There is a movie theater, restaurants and the typical collection of upscale retailers you would find in a mall. The park's entrance is across an intersection from a good size strip mall with a Publix.

  Overall, we liked this park and found it a very convenient place to stay and hang out with our family. Not exactly "getting away from it all" but that's not why we came.

One of Florida's finest attractions

   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.