When I think about Myakka River State Park, I think of stunning blue water, green canopies, fun trails, and BIG gators.
It’s one of my favorite parks in all of Florida, and the area is gorgeous to visit year-round. One reason I often recommend this park is because it’s friendly to visitors of all ages and capabilities. If you don’t want to or are unable to hike a trail, you can still spot some big gators near the entrance of the park. There’s a bridge (with plenty of parking) where a number of large gators and wading birds regularly hang out. Additionally, visitors can easily access Upper Myakka Lake. There are parking spots and restrooms right next to the lake. And, there’s a gift shop and café right there as well. The “Birdwalk” is also accessible to those in wheelchairs and strollers. You don’t have to be an expert hiker or a pro at dealing with the Florida heat to spot some wildlife and enjoy beautiful views at this park.
Of course, for anyone who is looking to do some hiking, there are some really beautiful trails to enjoy. While there are some long, wet, and full-sun trails for those willing to make more of a commitment, there are also some relatively short trails that are at least a little bit shaded from the sun. One of the most popular trails is the Boylston Nature Trail/Canopy Walkway. The walkway is suspended 25 feet above the ground and guides visitors through 100 feet of hammock canopy. To get a fantastic bird’s-eye view, head up the stairs to the taller tower that climbs up to 74 feet in the air. To reach the top, you’ll have to climb about 100 stairs, so wear comfortable shoes if you plan on enjoying the tower.
Adventures on the Water
Want to get out on the water? Great! You can rent canoes or kayaks from the outpost store (for an additional cost). Or, you can sign up for a boat tour, where you’ll be taken out on a flat-bottomed boat to explore Upper Myakka Lake (costs $20 + tax per adult and $12 + tax for each child, ages 3-12).
What to Know Before You Go:
+ During summer months, many trails can get quite flooded. If you go during the wet season, you might want to kayak or canoe to make the most of your visit.
+ When the water is high during the summer months or after large storms, I find that the alligators tend to spread out more. They are still around but aren’t seen in such large numbers together as they are during the drier months of the year. Have no fear, you are bound to still see some gators if you make a little effort.
+ This is a state park, so expect to pay $6.00 to enter the property.
+ Consider sticking around the park for sunset. During this time of day, the park is extra beautiful and wildlife is out and about in abundance. When I’ve stuck around for sunset, I’ve seen deer, gators, owls, manatees, and more!
+ Like in most of my Florida-related posts, I feel compelled to recommend that anyone visiting the park brings bug spray with them. The repellent will particularly come in handy if you stick around for sunset.
+ As you probably know, it gets hot in Florida, so pack some cool water with you to keep yourself refreshed and hydrated while enjoying the park.
+ There are a ton of gators (and other wildlife) at this park. In fact, I included this park in my list of best places to spot alligators in the greater Tampa area. Remember to always give wild animals their space for your safety AND their safety. Also, please DON’T feed wildlife but please DO properly dispose of any trash you have.
Get in Touch
Have any questions about visiting Myakka River State Park? If so, feel free to comment below or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.