MYAKKA RIVER STATE PARK
One of the oldest and largest state parks, Myakka protects one of the state?s most diverse natural areas. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, flows through 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing from a boardwalk that stretches out over the Upper Myakka Lake, then take to the treetops with a stroll along the canopy walkway. The park?s river and two lakes provide ample opportunities for boating, freshwater fishing, canoeing, and kayaking; a boat ramp provides access to Upper Myakka Lake. Hikers can explore trails that cross large expanses of rare Florida dry prairie. Scenic lake tours are offered daily on the world?s two largest airboats. Safari tram tours of the park?s backcountry are offered from mid-December through May. Full-facility campgrounds and primitive campsites are available. Five palm log cabins, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, have been modernized for comfortable lodging. Located nine miles east of Sarasota on State Road 72.
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.
The Seminoles called the river, 'Myakka,' translation unknown. From the 1850's to the early 1900's cattle grazed freely on the dry prairie. This vast land of grasses and low shrubs was dotted with thousands of wetlands.
In the early 1900's, most of what is now state park was a cattle ranch. The first parcel of land for the park was purchased from the Palmer family who owned the ranch. Today, visitors can walk the road where the ranch foreman's house once stood.
Between 1934 and 1941, the Civilian Conservation Corps, with help from the National Park Service and Florida Park Service, constructed facilities and developed the park. Myakka River State Park was opened in 1942. Many of the original buildings are still in use today.
Historically, lightning ignited fires across the prairie and wetlands. Plants and animals depended on this natural burning for their survival. Then people suppressed fire. Much of the prairie grew into shrub or treed areas.
Many endangered plants and animals such as the Florida grasshopper sparrow need the prairie to survive. People also benefit from the stores of fresh water that the prairie provides.
Myakka River State Park is dedicated to restoring the prairie. Methods include prescribed burns and mechanical treatment. The prairie is emerging once again.
Full Hookup Sitesyes
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.
Includes displays of wildlife and their habitats, frog calls; also features the Myakka Movies.
There are 5 historic log cabins that accommodate up to 6 people.
76 campsites. All have water and electirc. Most sites have 30 amp service. Tent campers can pick up an adapter for a fee from the ranger station. 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. More on Camping For more information on camping in our park simply click on the Reserve America link. Clicking on the park map or selecting one of the camping area links just below the park map will allow you to see a map of the individual campsite locations. Select any campsite icon to see a detailed description of the individual campsite and what it has to offer.
Six primitive campsites are located along 37 miles of trails.
RV's up to 35' are allowed in the park. A dump station is available.
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.
A boat ramp provides access to Upper Myakka Lake.
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.
The fishing pier is ADA accessible, this partly roofed platform enhances fishing opportunities where the Myakka River joins with Upper Myakka Lake. The pier is accessible to wheelchairs. You?ll also find an interactive alligator display with sounds of pigfrogs and alligators.