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Myakka River Historic State Park

Sarasota, Florida

Contact Information
13207 S.R. 72
Sarasota, 34241
(941) 361-6511

Florida State Campgrounds
Reservations 1-800-326-3521

Myakka River State Park is one of Florida's largest and most diverse natural areas. The "Florida Wild and Scenic" Myakka River flows through 45 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks and pinelands. The river and its two shallow lakes attract a myriad of wetland creatures making birding, canoeing, fishing and wildlife observation popular activities.A 7-mile scenic drive winds through shady oak-palm hammocks and along the shore of the Upper Myakka Lake. Over 39 miles of hiking trails and many miles of dirt roads provide access to the remote interior.

Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Myakka River State Park

Click here for more pictures
Large expanses of rare Florida dry prairie thrive here thanks to intense restoration efforts. This globally-imperiled community suffered many decades of fire exclusion before people realized how dependent these grasslands were on frequent fire. The park also manages and is restoring the "Myakka Prairie," an 8,249-acre property adjacent to the park, owned by SW Florida Water Management District. You'll find many opportunities to discover the uniquity of Myakka. Brochures and information about park programs and tours are available at the Ranger Station. Stop by the Visitor Center for videos and exhibits of wildlife and their habitats, then discover how plants and animals adapt to survive flood, drought and shade at the nature trail. You can even explore the treetops on Myakka's canopy walkway, and climb the 70-foot tower for an awesome view of wetlands, forest, and prairie.

Hours of Operation
Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.

Driving Directions
Myakka River State Park is located 9 miles east of I-75 in Sarasota on S.R. 72.

Park Activities

Myakka River offers cyclers diverse opportunities to explore the variety of landscapes for which the area is noted. More on Biking

The park is famous for birding opportunities. Shallow lakes, thousands of wetlands and the diversity of habitats account for the nearly 100 species of birds listed as common or abundant on the park bird list. Beginning Birding classes are offered Sunday mornings, Thanksgiving through Easter.

Boat Ramp
A boat ramp provides access to Upper Myakka Lake.

There are 5 historic log cabins that accommodate up to 6 people Myakka River Log Cabins

Fourteen miles of the Myakka Wild and Scenic River flow through the park. Bring your own canoe or kayak, or rent from Myakka River Outpost. A boat ramp on the Upper Myakka Lake provides access to the river and both lakes. Additional canoe launch locations are at picnic areas along the main drive. During periods of low water (winter and spring) it is necessary to portage around the weir at the south end of the Upper Myakka Lake. It may also be necessary to portage along shallow portions of the river or when blockages of water hyacinths occur. More on Canoeing

Myakka Outpost sells camping and fishing supplies, t-shirts and hats, field guides and nature books, souvenirs, and good things to eat such as gator stew, gator jerky, gator sandwiches, ice cream and snacks. They also rent bicycles, canoes and kayaks.

The Myakka River and Upper and Lower Myakka Lakes provide ample opportunity for freshwater fishing. More on Fishing

Full Facility Camping
76 campsites. All have water and electirc. Most sites have 30 amp service. A wastewater dump station is located near Old Prairie campground. All campsites are located within 40 yards of restroom facilities with hot showers. All sites are dirt base; few sites have vegetation buffers. Pets are prohibited overnight in the park.

Horse Trails
Bring your own horse and register to ride the 14-mile, multi-looped trail. Proof of negative Coggins test is required. There’s an additional fee for use of the horse trail. The trail passes through hammock, prairie, and wetlands and is extremely wet and buggy during the summer. More on Horse Trails

Interpretive Programs
Nature Walk--Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. Join a park ranger for a walk in the park to discover the many secrets of nature. Terrain is moderately rough. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Park entrance fee.

Campfire Programs (Thanksgiving through Easter) Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Sit back and enjoy intriguing stories about the “Real Florida” by the light of a flickering fire. Programs last approximately 30 minutes and are usually illustrated with color slides. Park entrance fee.

Beginning Birding (Thanksgiving through Easter) Sundays at 9;00 a.m. Want a fascinating new hobby? Learn the basic skills of birding and discover one of Florida’s premiere birding hot spots. Binoculars and field guides are provided. Easy terrain. Park entrance fee.

Nature Trails
The Boylston Nature Trail is a 45-minute walk through a shady, oak/palm hammock. A spur trail takes you to the Myakka Canopy Walkway and 74-foot high tower. Also, see information on Hiking Trails. More on Hiking

Picnic areas with tables and grills are designated on the park brochure and on the park map (download from right column of this page). Pavilions can be reserved for a fee. Unreserved pavilions are available on a first come basis.

Primitive Camping
Six primitive campsites are located along 37 miles of trails. Myakka River Primitive Campsites

RV's up to 35' are allowed in the park. A dump station is available.

Hop aboard one of the world's two largest airboats, the "Myakka Maiden," or the "Gator Gal" for a scenic cruise on the Upper Myakka Lake. Discover what makes the Myakka unique among America's freshwater lakes. Hear intriguing stories about the alligator, anhinga, and sandhill crane as you become acquainted with the variety of creatures that make their home here.

These air-powered vessels venture into the shallow, grassy areas where traditional crafts of such size wouldn't dare to go. The leisurely ride is so safe and smooth you'll have no problem taking photographs to bring home. Tour schedule & prices

You don't have to "rough it" to take Myakka Wildlife Tours' special "Tram Safari" into the backcountry of Myakka River State Park.

Discover what life in old Florida was like as you see it through the eyes of the early settlers. Learn to detect clues of the presence of resident wildlife as you pass through shady hammocks, majestic pine flatwoods, fertile marshes and sunny prairies. If you want to gain an understanding of the intricate workings of a natural ecosystem in progress, you have to experience it for yourself. Tour schedule & prices

Scenic Drive: A 7- mile drive winds through shady hammocks, grassy marshes and along the Upper Lake.

Visitor Center
Includes displays of wildlife and their habitats, frog calls; also features the Myakka Movies.

Wildlife Viewing
Deer, raccoons, opossums, red-shouldered hawks, turkeys, barred owls, and vultures are commonly seen along the park drive. The river, lakes and wetlands attract huge alligators, ducks, wading birds, woodstorks, sandhill cranes, roseate spoonbills, eagles, ospreys, and shorebirds. Hiking trails lead to the prairies and pinelands that harbor caracaras, Bachman’s sparrows, bobcats, bobwhite quail, and meadowlarks.

Youth Camping
Three group camping areas accommodate up to 20 people each. Preference for reservations is given to groups with more than 50% of campers under 18 years of age. Myakka River Youth Camping