Introduction To Myakka River State Park
The collaboration of the Civilian Conservation Corp with National Park Service and Florida Park Service led the establishment of Myakka River State Park in 1942. The Myakka River holds a special status of being recognized as the Florida Wild and Scenic River by the State Legislature. The sublime Myakka River flows majestically through 58 miles of one of Florida’s largest parks. You can hear the cries of the Ospreys and Limpkins on the river banks while the alligators and turtles laze around on the logs. The scenic river looks more mesmerizing as the flashes of palm trees and lives oaks reflect on the streams. This park is home for a number of bird species and hence birding is popular along the lakeside and riverbanks of this State Park. This is one of the finest state parks of Florida, which is alluring and exotic.
Excellent Trails For Dirt Bike Lovers
Getaway from the daily hustles by opting for hiking in this picturesque trails of Myakka State Park. Horseback riding is another interesting activity in this region, as the park has 12 miles of horse riding trails. The tourists need to get permission from the Ranger station to access the horse riding trails of the state park. The road trails for mountain biking are flooded during summer. You might see grassed over roads, sandy roads or even mushy roads in these trails. Do not be surprised if you happen to pass through the trails which are heavily dug up by the feral pigs. As we read bicycle rides are a popular pick with the tourists here. Childrenâs bicycle, tandem bicycle, and single bicycles are available for rent to cater to both adults and children.
Its All About The Water
If you are accustomed to filtering your own water, you may be excited to hear that three of the primitive campgrounds, Bee Island, Prairie, and Oak Grove, have wells with pumps. Yay, I dont have to carry much water! you shout gleefully.
But there are some catches to this. First of all, this well water needs to be treated or boiled. filtering isnt enough Secondly, it can turn red after it has been sitting for about ten minutes or so.
Yes, the water turns red.
The reason for this is iron. Once the water hits the air, the iron oxidizes and turns your water red. It also makes it taste like the undercarriage of an abandoned 58 Buick.
So, this is the best way Ive found to deal with the well water:
You said you wanted adventure
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Camping And Campfire Program
Choosing this state park for picnicking is wonderful if you prefer a soothing environment away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This state park four picnic Pavillion which are reservable and many such informal places with benches and grills for happy picknicking.
Camping is a popular choice at Myakka River State Park as it holds three camping grounds with 90 campsites for an unforgettable experience. All the campsites are well equipped with electricity, campfire, picnic tables and water which is necessary to make your stay great. Restrooms with hot showers and laundry services are other amenities available here. Not just organized camping there are also 6 primitive camping grounds. It has rustic settings, especially for the backpackers.
Youth And Group Camping At Myakka
Guests who are renting cabins are asked to bring their own kitchenware . If you are unable to bring your own items, we will be happy to provide those for you.
Overview of Myakka Youth Area 3
Myakka’s group camping areas are for organized, non-profit groups, with special privileges given to youth groups. Boy/Girl Scouts, church groups, school classes and clubs all love spending the night experiencing nature at these primitive sites.
Reservations can be made 11 months in advance for youth groups and 30 days in advance for adult groups. A youth group is defined by having more than half of the members being under the age of 18.
Each campground holds up to 20 people. There are three campgrounds total.
- Campground #1 is closest to the bathroom.
- Campgrounds #2 and #3 are connected via trail, which makes them nice for larger groups.
All campgrounds come with benches, a large fire ring and a water spigot . There is no electricity available at the youth areas.
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Bring Plenty Of Water
The trails can cross vast expanses of prairie and scrub, and this is Florida, so even if it is January, dont assume you wont get parched. Carry as much water as you can!
Remember that even on a day hike the weight you carry is critical. A small backpack with a bladder is an ideal way to make sure you have enough water with you and it is not awkward to carry. My favorite daypack setup is the Osprey Daylite Pluswith whichever one of my Platypus water bladders happen to be the cleanest.
If you dont have a water bladder, avoid heavy containers like aluminum canteens and Nalgene bottles. A better option is simply to reuse several 1 liter disposable plastic water bottles. They are ultralight, cheap, and shouldnt be single use anyway.
If you are going to go on an extremely long day hike into the backcountry and are considering taking along a water filter, make sure you read below under Backpacking for details on that.
Rv Resorts & Campsites In Myakka River State Park
The RV campgrounds at Mykka River State Park have electricity and dump stations and are pet-friendly. If you do choose to use an RV, consider renting one from us at RVshare.com. Youll find the perfect motorhome for your travels, at a price that suits your budget. All rentals come with nationwide insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance, and a world-class team dedicated to helping you succeed. You can rent an RV at your home and drive it to the park, or if youd prefer, you can fly to Florida and then rent an RV there to head to the park.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Myakka River State Park
What is the climate of Myakka River State Park?
Myakka River State Park and the surrounding area experience a humid subtropical climate. Summers are hot and damp, and winters are warm but somewhat drier.
What is the best time of year to visit Myakka River State Park?
The area around Myakka River State Park experiences rainy and dry seasons. The dry season, which lasts from October through May, is considered the best time to visit.
What kind of wildlife can be found in Myakka River State Park?
Myakka River State Parks diverse ecosystems are home to a range of wild animals, including alligators, snapping turtles, black bears, salamanders, frogs, snakes, and many bird species.
Are pets allowed at Myakka River State Park?
Pets are welcome at the park but cannot be brought into the buildings, including restrooms, unless they are service animals. You can bring your well-behaved pets camping with you, too.
Are there designated RV camping spots in Myakka River State Park?
There are three campgrounds in Myakka River State Park, which offer a total of 90 campsites. Each site has a water hookup, a fire ring, a picnic table, and an electrical hookup. The Palmetto Ridge campground also has sewer hookups.
Myakka River State Park Fl: What To See & Do And How To Get There
Located in Sarasota County, Myakka River State Park is one of the oldest and largest state parks in Florida. Its a wilderness preserve of mossy palm trees hovering over a wild and scenic river, with the sounds of songbirds fluttering throughout the canopy.
The mix of hiking, biking, and kayaking trails provides those who love the outdoors with a full slate of action. Myakka River State Park is an ever-changing landscape that quickly shifts from marshes to forests to plains. You can see it all on the hiking trail that ventures into the backcountry, enjoy a scenic bike ride with family and friends, or get out onto the water where gators loom beneath the surface.
Not sure what to do in Myakka River State Park? Kick start your planning with our complete Myakka River State Park guide.
Looking for more ideas for your trip? Check out our Florida Travel Guide for more recommendations on when to visit, where to go & what to do!
Hit The Hiking Trails
Myakka River State Park boasts 39 miles of hiking trails that will take you through all the parks ecosystems from pine flatwoods to dry prairie on your way to one of the six backcountry campsites.
Forming the longest loop in any Florida state park, these hiking trails are the perfect way to see it all if you have multiple days to explore the Myakka River.
The Myakka Hiking Trail begins at the parking area and guides you via blue blazes. If you plan on doing it all then youll want to pack some sturdy, waterproof boots: the palm hammocks and floodplains can get boggy after recent rain, but thats all part of the adventure.
A shorter, but equally memorable alternative is the Deep Hole Trail. This 4.4-mile round trip leads you to a massive natural sinkhole, a magnet for alligators.
Bikepacking And Adventure Biking
Bikepacking is great option for the park, but you dont see many people doing it. As mentioned above, a bicycle lets you cover more ground and carry more water, so it makes it a bit easier to get out to and stay at the farther out campsites. Keep in mind that you will have to walk your bike on the hiking trails, so consult the park map to plan out your adventure before making reservations.
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Mountain Bikes Gravel Bikes And Cyclocross Bikes
Once you get off the pavement, Myakka River State Park can offer a unique cycling experience. Again this is not about the riding, but rather using a bike to get over challenging terrain. The difficulty of the trails comes from sand, mud, sun-baked mud, and wild hog wallows.
Backcountry cycling here is slow going with frequent stops to regroup. But it does let you cover quite a bit more distance and see more of the park. And the farther out you go, the more solitude and nature you can experience.
The rule of thumb for bike choice is definitely the fatter the tire, the better. However, Ive logged a lot of hours riding a cyclecross bike out there, and found the experience very enjoyable. Just know that you are going to be ripping up the miles.
Its also important to note that cycling is not allowed on the hiking and horseback trails. Consult the park map before planning your day.
Car Camping With A Tent
If you are looking for a more natural tent camping experience but need to camp next to your car, Im going to be straight with you Myakka blows.
Again, this isnt so much the fault of the park, but rather the more touristy crowd that the park attracts. The sites are pretty open and close together . While camping you can hear everything going in on the campsites around you including radios, arguing, and TVs. Yes, I did say TVs.
I wish the park had a more primitive camping area for car campers that was without power and had better vegetation blockage between sites. If you ever end up getting stuck in the RV area as I did one year due to the park being nearly full, then youll have the added trauma of that awful gravel that state parks think is adequate for tent camping sites. I still shudder thinking about that particular campsite.
*sigh* If watching TV in your campsite with party lights strung up is your idea of getting back to nature in a state park, then disregard everything Im saying here and party on!
Tribal Secret: For a more quiet and natural car camping experience, go to nearby Oscar Scherer State Park instead. The best campsites are 83-87. Dont tell anyone!
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If You Have Kids Along For Any Length
The is a must. Like many State Parks, Myakka River State Park participates in this outstanding program that gets kids hands on and knee deep in the history, preservation, and natural surroundings of the world around them. My kids take this very seriously. And by participating in these Junior Ranger Programs, kids-and their adult companions-learn about an area, its contents, and the responsibility of those who enjoy it while having fun and reaching the goal of their stamp or patch. Plus, it gives kids who may not be into hiking an extra activity to keep them engaged. Materials can be obtained at the Park or printed out in advance to get the ball rolling.
If You Have A Few Days
Myakka State Park features three types of sleeping situations primitive camping, campground camping, and cabins. Hiking a few miles into the depths of the Park and spending the night with nothing around but the hooting of owls and rustling of trees gives primitive camping an irresistible appeal. Once youre in, youre in, so pack carefully and prepare for the ultimate nature submersion. Campground camping leads to less planning, more amenities. Restrooms and access to the Camp Store solve the what-if-I-forget-toilet-paper dilemma. Nearby campers are always happy to share their stories of critters and hikes. Cabin lodging gives the blast from the past, in the woods but with walls experience. The log cabins are adorable and come fully equipped with kitchen and restroom facilities. Fully emerge in the experience and catch dinner to cook over the fire. Fishing abounds in The Myakka River or one of the Parks two lakes, Upper Myakka Lake and Lower Myakka Lake.
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Whether You Have Only A Few Hours Or A Few Days Myakka River State Park Offers The Perfect Adventure
Myakka River State Park, with its dozens of miles of hiking trails, palm trees and slash pines, wetlands and canopies, seems so unlike Sarasota and a world away. But driving to Myakka only takes 11 minutes from the Clark Road/FL-72 exit of Highway 75, making it an easy adventure for any time frame. Whether you have only a few hours or a few days, Myakka River State Park offers the perfect adventure.
Biking And Hiking At Myakka River State Park
There are seven miles of paved roads for bicyclists, all accessible from the campgrounds, ranger station and the Myakka Outpost concession area on Upper Myakka Lake. In addition, there are miles and miles of unpaved park roads that branch off the main park road, offering riders access deep into the remote interior of the park.
Bicyclists would be advised to check trail conditions with the ranger station before tackling the back country or trails that are shared with horses, especially after a good rain.
In all seasons, the North Drive is a quiet, scenic paved roadway that kisses the Upper Myakka Lake and offers access to several unpaved park roads.
Compared to the main park road, there is very little traffic here because there is no outlet during the week. On weekends and holidays, the parks North Gate opens. Even then, vehicle traffic is sparse, making it comfortable for bicyclists.
Theres also a birdwalk along the North Drive where you can walk out onto a long pier into the grass wetlands of the lakes perimeter, an ideal habitat for the many varieties of birds that make this park home.
Hikers can enjoy 39 miles of trails that will take you far from civilization, offering unique opportunities to observe wildlife and enjoy the parks hardwood hammocks and pine forests, wetlands and prairies.
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Day Hiking And Adventure Picnicking
Hiking through the Myakka backcountry is sublime. The trail system is extensive and winds through a surprising array of habitats including pine forests, marsh, dry prairie, live oak hammocks, and saw palmetto scrub.
Pictures cannot possibly convey the serenity and peace you will experience out on the dry prairies. It may look hot, featureless, and flat, but there is a stillness out there that is rare to find these days and it is that sort of stillness you take with you when you leave. The only sounds you generally hear out there are the wind through vegetation and an occasional bird, so turn off the smartphone and leave chatty friends behind if you want the full effect.
The trail system is crossed by several backcountry roads that are closed to traffic. If you are looking for a shorter hike, but want to get farther out, these roads are like an expressway to shave some time and distance off your travels. More than once while out exploring on a day hike, Ive gotten myself a bit farther out than planned and thankfully could jump onto Powerline Rd or Ranchhouse Rd to shorten my time back to the car.