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“Wonderful respite from city & stress - true nature, preserved”

Myakka River State Park
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Wild Myakka River Bike plus Optional Kayak Ecotour
Ranked #6 of 141 things to do in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: One of the original Civilian Conservation Corps parks.
New York
Level Contributor
218 reviews
109 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 169 helpful votes
“Wonderful respite from city & stress - true nature, preserved”
Reviewed February 4, 2012

Here's an atypically short review from me, but I may add some photos or details when I'm home... for now I'd like to compliment some of the recent (Feb 2012) reviews, as the Myaka I know and love is so well described.

Some nice photos I see now are of the "Canopy Walk" where one can climb up an internationally-constructed tower, across a plank bridge, and up to the tree line overlooking birds and other wildlife. The description of the easy access to alligators is spot on, as one can drive straight ahead from the State Park entrance, past some trails which are also worthwhile walking (especially to commune with nature and/or do nature photography, as I've often done - photos to follow). One reaches a bridge where typically you'll see cars pulling over to the roadside, and people get out to enjoy the wonderful view of the river and a marsh area with abundant bird life. On either side of the bridge, in the water, almost always (weather conducive) one sees some rather large alligators, either floating or sunning. Sometimes there are kayakers going by too, past the gators. People fish too, and read the signs about not feeding or "molesting" the gators - both against state law.

Further up there is the old/original and also a newly constructed restaurant/gift shop where you can get alligator gumbo as well as ice cream, drinks or gifts post cards, hats, souvenirs, etc. If you park at the end of the road near the old gift shop, to your right in the marsh leading into the lake, you'll see the river/fan boat ("Gator Gal") on which you can take a tour and see gators, wild boar, vultures, and other various local nature.

There is also a land tram, and one might see deer, armadillo, and hundreds of bird species (including at scenic picnic areas along the extensive road system.) This park is one of the largest in America - huge, bequeathed by the legendary Palmer estate to Florida as a gift of Old Florida, to be preserved and enjoyed.

I've not camped here, so can't add anything to the comments. It is a state park, with the usual permits etc. required for camping, and also for some off-road hiking access, which I have done - leading to the far side of the Lake, with legions of alligators, herons, & vultures (one sign warns of parking in one place, as vultures may eat tires!). As others have said, this is real nature, and real wild, no safety rails in some places alongside things like marshes with alligators - so parents, keep your children close! Be safe!

Well, these are the highlights for me. I've tried to go to Myaka every year for decades now, still my absolute favorite "therapy" or meditation tool, along with long walks listening to the sounds of nature, and snapping some photos too.

A treasure. Reasonable fee (park entry, per car), lots of things to do, from a boat or tram tour, to walking, picnicking, camping, hiking, and bird-watching - from the ground or treetop canopy. Enjoy!

Visited November 2011
Thank drmikenyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Burlington, Canada
Level Contributor
34 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great Nature Park”
Reviewed February 4, 2012

This is a great Nature Park. We go there all the time to take walks through the trails

Thank Brenda W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
64 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Glad we looked around.”
Reviewed February 4, 2012

Okay campground if you want an out of the way middle florida jungle camp. Decent bath house and showers.

Visited February 2012
Thank cjjj43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
28 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Reasonable admission, friendly staff”
Reviewed February 3, 2012

$6 for a car load. We went in and down to the bridge, where it's almost always guaranteed to see some gators. We found 3 in the water, and later in the day, we saw 3 more on the bank sunning. Nice little place, wish we would have had more time!

Visited January 2012
Thank CaliforniaCutie74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great scenery, awesome wildlife, nice walking/biking trails”
Reviewed February 3, 2012

Love this place - we come here every year! From the main parking area by the lake (bear left at the fork) you can take the airboat ride or walk to the dam, where there are usually several alligators sunning themselves. There is also a bird watching platform there if the 'gators aren't your thing.

Leaving the main parking area and heading back, hang a sharp left and continue to a small circular parking area on your left. From here, you can walk on the boardwalk out to another bird watching platform that overlooks the lake. There are cute feral pigs running around in the brush (although they typically stay far away) and beautiful birds to be seen here. Last year, a gentleman let us use his spotting scope to see a bald eagle nesting all the way across the lake!

Going back the way you came and heading out, you'll see a parking area for the Skywalk trail. This is a short walk (good for kids) that ends with you climbing stairs onto a platform and then walking on a hanging bridge to another tower. From there, brave souls who are not afraid of heights can climb a very tall tower for a breathtaking view of the park.

Continuing on the way out, stop in the parking area (on the left again, just before the bridge over the river) and take the trail along the river. One year, we almost stepped on an armadillo that could have cared less if we were there! A word of caution: This trail is not heavily traveled and we have walked within 15 feet of giant alligators sunning on the riverbank. They don't bother people, but do not let very small children walk along the riverbank - it is wild country and there are no fences.

This is a great place to visit, and we will continue to come back here year after year to see what other cool things we can see!

Visited March 2011
Thank Rotty2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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