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Florida State Parks

USA Parks
Central West Region
Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park Duel Flight © Barbara Bowen
As we arrived in the early morning to begin our hike, we spotted over 30 Sandhill Crane at the edge of Myakka Lake.
13208 S.R. 72
Sarasota, Florida   34241

Phone: 941-361-6511
Reservations: 941-361-6511
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.
Nature of the Area
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.
History of the Area
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.
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
 Bike Trailsyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
 Water/Electric Sitesyes
 Full Hookup Sitesyes
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.

Primitive Camping

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.

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.
Visitors Center
Includes displays of wildlife and their habitats, frog calls; also features the Myakka Movies.
Park Store
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.
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.
A boat ramp provides access to Upper Myakka Lake.

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.

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.
Day Use Area
Restroom facilities are located throughought the park. All of Myakka River's restrooms are ADA accessible except for the CCC log cabin rest room.
Myakka River offers cyclers diverse opportunities to explore the variety of landscapes for which the area is noted.
Walk through the treetops and then climb a 74-foot tower for an eagle?s-eye view of hammocks and wetlands.
Nature Programs
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.


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 Comments, Memories and Reviews
January 26 Sherry
Your ticket seller was the most rude individual I have ever encountered in a business situation!
April 2 Where did all the birds go? by Nancy Boyer
We used to enjoy birdwatching at the the park, but now the lake is practically sterile! It is still beautiful, but gone are all the birds, which was the main reason we came to the park.
April 8 i love this park by ray
it has everything you could possibily want to see. i see something different every time i go

Area Campgrounds
Turtle Beach Campground
8862 Midnight Pass Road
Sarasota, FL
CampVenice Retreat
4085 East Venice Avenue
Venice, FL
Florida Pines
150 Satulah circle
Venice, FL
Pets must be kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash and well-behaved at all times. They are not allowed in concession areas or cabins. Pets must not be left unattended, nor taken into restroom facilities or onto playground equipment. Due to the presence of alligators in all waters of the park, pet owners are urged to use caution. Service animals are welcome in all areas and buildings of the park, as required by law.

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


Florida State Parks