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Camping at Myakka River State Park

Myakka River State Park quickly became one of our favorite start parks we've been to in Florida. Many of the campsites have nice shade (not all), there was a ton of wildlife to be seen and there is no shortage of things to do. The only bummer was the river being too dry to kayak, however we will be back after the rainy season and enjoy it then.

Padding the Myakka River

Of the 68 miles of the Myakka River, 14 of those miles are located within the state park and are considered the best for recreational paddling. Between the river, Lake Myakka and Lower Myakka Lake there are usually plenty of paddling opportunities. We were excited to check it out, however once we saw how dry the river was we opted to skip it for this trip. We visited right at the end of Florida's dry season, and while we knew the water levels would be low, we were surprised to see just how low it was. It looked pretty darn impassable in many areas, and with so many alligators and having a small child, we just decided it wasn't worth it. We'll be happy to return after the rainy season! Here is a great paddling guide I found, with a great map to see the area.

With the water levels so low, we got a few good alligator shows!
Fish dinner

Coreopsis "Tickseed" Wildflowers

If you come in the late spring, you will be amazed by the massive quantities of wildflowers, especially in the Big Flats Marsh. Corepsis is the official state of Florida wildflower and you will find two varieties at Myakka River State Park. Coreopsis leavenworthii is slightly larger and grows sporadically throughout the year along the river and in ponds and marshes. Coreopsis floridana is slightly smaller, however it accounts for the massive bloom on the Big Flats Marsh and it is quite the spectacle! A sea of yellow as far as you can see to the forest! This big bloom will last for several weeks in the late spring, until the rainy season inevitably washes them away. Their seeds will remain dormant until the following spring.

Coreopsis floridana on the Big Flats Marsh
Coreopsis leavenworthii growing near the lake

Canopy Walkway

It won't take you a ton of time to accomplish, but it's a must to check out this extensively built canopy walkway. My son especially enjoyed running across (he's only 3, I wouldn't recommend adults run). It leads to a taller, 74 foot lookout tower. We didn't make it there for a sunset, but I imagine it would be spectacular!

Wildlife Viewing

One of our favorite things to do was either drive down, or bike, the few paved roads through the park, especially in the early morning and around sunset. We saw incredible wildlife! There were, of course, tons of alligators, but we also saw deer, feral hogs, sandhill cranes, ospreys, hawks and racoons.

Other Park Amenities

Check out their website for a full list.

Whether you are camping, glamping, a local or a tourist, if you're in the Sarasota area this old and beautiful state park should definitely be on your list! Whether you stay for one day or a week, you can keep yourself busy with enjoying the beautiful scenery. If you have any questions, let me know!


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