Description - Conveniently located near the pristine shores of Florida's Gulf coast, Myakka River State Park has been a protected parcel long before many individuals considered the idea of protected public lands. The park harbors seven different biological communities, one of the most unique being the Florida dry prairie. This particular habitat supports rare species including caracaras, sandhill cranes and burrowing owls. Developed in the 1930s by the depression-era Civilian Conservation Corp, structures remain in the park today including the sturdy yet modern rental cabins. The "Wild and Scenic" Myakka River flows for 12 miles of its 66-mile distance bisecting the park while depositing two lakes that attract a myriad of wildlife. The southern reaches of the park are a wilderness preserve accessible only by foot. Permits are required to enter this area that contains a protected wood stork rookery.
Copyright: Joyce Rankin - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
An Enjoy Route For Viewing Wildlife
- This fabulous recreation-packed state park has long been identified as a unique and wonderful area. A good place to begin your visit is at the visitor center located off State Route 72. Many wildlife exhibits, films, park brochures, tour tickets, and gifts set the tone for your journey. Enveloping 12 miles of the Myakka River and both the Upper Myakka and Lower Myakka Lakes, wildlife is the central attraction at this year-round park. Two campgrounds, seven primitive sites, and a small cabin community provide the necessary accommodations enabling visitors to enjoy this park for more than a day. Huge 70-passenger airboats take visitors onto the waters three times a day while trams incise the park's backwoods on a less frequent schedule. The 38-mile Myakka Trail is a series of loops oftentimes broken into shorter hikes but still affording a taste of the park's seven different ecosystems. Two picnic areas invite guests to enjoy outdoor dining beneath sabal palms and ancient oaks. The main boat launch area offers a large concession featuring everything from canoe and bicycle rental to fishing tackle and firewood sales. Birders will love two special man-made features: the bird walk that extends over the shallow edges of Upper Myakka Lake and as recent as June 2000, the fabulous Myakka Canopy Walkway. It is the only walkway of its kind in the state and was the dream of many individuals for many years. The walkway and a 74' tower enable visitors to view the park's expansive forest.
Recreation - As one of Florida's oldest and largest state parks, Myakka River State Park offers an extensive list of recreation. To fully enjoy the various offerings, an overnight stay is recommended. Two full-facility campgrounds provide 76 tent and RV sites. Five cabins and seven primitive campgrounds offer alternative overnight options. Three groups sites accommodate up to 20 individuals per site. Horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, picnicking, and wildlife viewing are the pillar outdoor enjoyments. Wilderness hiking is also available as well as tour boating, tram trips, and as of June 2000, walking among the treetops! The visitor center with its multiple exhibits and audio-visual presentations is a great way to orient oneself to the park's amenities.
Climate - Winters in west central Florida are normally mild with occasional temperatures dipping into the 30's and 40's Fahrenheit. However, averages range between 52 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit (11 - 18 Celsius). Summers are normally hot and muggy with temperatures and humidity usually exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Averages range between 81 and 83 degrees (27 - 29 Celsius). Precipitation for the central west area ranges between 52 and 56 inches per year.
Myakka River State Park is located along State Route 72, approximately 9 miles east of Interstate 75 in Sarasota.