Two hours from Orlando is a park that will make you feel like you stepped back in time, the Myakka State Park. But it’s not just a pretty view, this park has plenty of activities to keep the whole family busy for days.
The park is located east of Sarasota and surrounds the Myakka River, which winds through 58 square miles of prairie, wetlands, pineland and oak hammock. The diversity of habitat attracts a broad variety of wildlife.
The park road meanders along the lake and river often shaded by large oaks with filtered sunlight dappling the road. Watch in the shadows for wildlife – pull offs along the road allow for picture taking.
Campgrounds and log cabins are available for overnight trips, and make the perfect base for bicycling, kayaking or airboat rides. The 39 miles of looped trails provide many options for horseback riding, hiking and backpacking including six primitive campsites.
The large numbers of birds in Myakka make it popular with photographers and bird watchers. The bird walk, a wooden walkway over Upper Myakka Lake, allows birders to get close to birds in their natural habitat. Be sure to pack a camera and binoculars, for not only the birds, but also the wild boar, and alligators, which make frequent appearances near the road.
Near Lake Myakka, a visitor center sells snacks, gifts, tours and some of the best homemade gumbo you will find outside of Louisiana. This is also where you can rent bikes, canoes or kayaks for your stay.
The unspoiled beauty of Myakka State Park, coupled with plenty of activities, makes it the perfect weekend getaway for the whole family.
For information on camping, rentals and hours contact the park at, (941) 361-6511 or visit the park website.