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Myakka River State Park
Ranked #17 of 150 things to do in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: One of the original Civilian Conservation Corps parks.
Reviewed January 19, 2013

Myakka River State Park is (the brochure states) one of Florida’s largest and most diverse natural areas. The Myakka River flows through 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands. The park was developed in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. There are numerous activities for park visitors: a bird walk, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and bicycling, camping but no swimming. Why no swimming? Because of the residents of the lake, namely alligators and snakes.

Getting a glimpse of the alligators is perhaps the magnet attraction for most visitors. Boat tours occur year-round and three or four times a day depending on the season. The canopy topped wooden vessel carries forty some odd paying passengers and the pilot/tour guide on a one hour trip around the lake stopping periodically to view birds and alligators either swimming in the water or sunning themselves on the shore. The tour narrative is informative and peppered with bits of humor designed to lighten up the crowd.

There were at least twenty alligators seen on my boat tour, the last of the afternoon. The weather and the temperature combined favorably to provide an incredible show of alligator panache. These “critters” sometimes sunned themselves with their jaws open displaying rows of teeth. We were informed by the guide that the gators were just proud of having flossed so well. At other times, they simply lay supine on the ground viewing their world quietly.

The hour trip went by too quickly. Nonetheless, everyone on board the boat had an ample opportunity to view this native wildlife from either the port or starboard side of the boat. The pilot would slow the motor allowing the boat to glide quietly towards the shore, then later come about from a different vantage point. Everyone certainly got their money’s worth!

Hoping to return from Florida having witnessed the “gators” and intending something different than the university football team? Try the Myakka Wildlife Boat Tour; it’s a great excursion. Passengers dock learning a great deal more about many aspects of this unique ecosystem than when they first set out. You, go gators!

Thank Hoosiergadabout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"airboat ride"
in 235 reviews
"canopy walk"
in 499 reviews
"air boat"
in 116 reviews
"bird walk"
in 96 reviews
"wild pigs"
in 56 reviews
"hiking trails"
in 72 reviews
"deep hole"
in 34 reviews
"rent a canoe"
in 30 reviews
"real florida"
in 80 reviews
"gator stew"
in 26 reviews
"observation tower"
in 45 reviews
"roseate spoonbills"
in 36 reviews
"suspension bridge"
in 42 reviews
"bird watching"
in 61 reviews
"gift shop"
in 131 reviews
"tree canopy"
in 29 reviews
"old florida"
in 85 reviews

2,229 - 2,233 of 2,766 reviews

Reviewed January 16, 2013

We spent the day exploring the park. The entrance fee is extremely reasonable, trails are very good with a wide variety. You can do a tram tour or airboat tour. We found the airboat tour informative and we saw many birds and gators. The canopy walk is pretty neat and the tower at the end gives you a splendid view of the park. We enjoyed this venture greatly complete with a picnic lunch.

Thank NancyfromSC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013

If u want to see alligator,buzzards,armadellos,deer and other wildlife than myakka state park is the place for you and your family,bring a lunch or visit their snack bar,take a ride on the train, or relax on a cruise.dont forget water,camera and bug spray

Thank heather p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013

I would say the land or tram tour is somewhat tedious and I would recommend you skip it. Over rough roads through somewhat interesting terrain but it is mainly a history tour and we got pretty bored fairly soon into it. We saw one alligator and you can see dozens of them on the boat tour which I thought was much better. The lake is beautiful, birds along the shoreline are abundant and the number of alligators both on the shoreline and in the water positively staggering. Worth doing, but I would skip the tram. The gift shop has some really nice items and the snack bar offers good, fresh fare at slightly inflated prices. Beautiful park!

1  Thank Salt Water Diva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 12, 2013

Great place. Amazing forest, nice easy trail (a stroll, not a hike), lots of birds, and of course gators. We had a chance to see gators in the Everglades Park and on a farm, but in Myakka our "gator encounters" were the most thrilling and authentic. We rented a canoe and rode on a lake because during the dry season the river was very shallow and only the lake was open for boating. At first we only saw birds but when we crossed the lake we saw several alligators in the water and sunbathing on the beach. See photo to prove it, taken without zoom-in lense though.
We highly recommend renting a canoe, note where the airboat goes and go to the same location, they may know better gator favourite spots.
Canopy walk was fun though short. Haven't tried the gator stew :(. Service was ok except the guy who rents canoes: snappy and unpleasant.

Thank Xroust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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