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First Time Seeing A Limpkin

Myakka State Park: A Haven for Nature Lovers

Florida’s Myakka State Park, accessed via an easy drive from Sarasota, is truly a nature lover’s paradise. With twelve of its 68 miles protected in the park, the wild and scenic Myakka River attracts a huge number of birds and animals.

To experience Myakka State Park, you can do any number of activities ranging from leisurely drives along a scenic seven mile road to the full multi-day backcountry hiking experience.

A pretty section of the Myakka River in Myakka State Park
A pretty section of the Myakka River in Myakka State Park

Myakka State Park – what you can do on a visit 

On our visit we limited ourselves to several nature walks, including the Canopy Walkway. But because of our relaxed pace, we were able to see a lot of birds we would have otherwise missed. Over its 37,000 plus acres you can expect to see everything from raptors to song birds, wading birds along with ducks galore. 

On another occasion, I would be inclined to rent a bike and cycle the Myakka Island Trail. It takes you between the park and Carlton Reserve – a Sarasota County Park. Be sure to check ahead on the status of the roads, especially in summer when much of the trail may be flooded.

If you’re a backpacker, then consider the 38.9 mile Myakka Trail. It can be done as a loop. Or do a smaller circuit using various combinations of horse trails and roads. You’ll find six primitive campgrounds on the trail. A few of the campsites at each campground can be reserved up to 11 months ahead of time.

Plan to hike in late fall, winter and early spring. Beware of flooded trails after big rains. Biting insects can make your life miserable, especially in the summer

The photographs below are a sampling of what you might see in Myakka State Park.

A forest in Myakka State Park filled with moss covered trees - Myakka River State Park
A forest filled with moss covered trees – Myakka River State Park
Dark tree limbs stand in contrast to the sunlit background
Dark tree limbs stand in contrast to the sunlit background
Reflections in the Myakka River in Myakka State Park
Reflections in the Myakka River
Count the alligators (there are four)
Count the alligators (there are four)
Snowy egret
Snowy egret
First time seeing a limpkin
First time seeing a limpkin
Colourful air plants and mosses in the trees
Colourful air plants and mosses in the trees
Fishing on the river - with alligators for company in the distance
Fishing on the river – with alligators for company in the distance
Blue skies frame the palm trees
Blue skies frame the palm trees
The canopy walkway - an 85 foot long suspension bridge - in Myakka River State Park
The canopy walkway – an 85 foot long suspension bridge – in Myakka River State Park
John is waiting for his 82 year old mother who we've talked into doing the canopy walk
John is waiting for his 82 year old mother who we’ve talked into doing the canopy walk
Expansive views 75 feet up from the forest floor
Expansive views 75 feet up from the forest floor
Nothing but Sabal Palms
Nothing but Sabal Palms
The view of the canopy walkway from below
The view of the canopy walkway from below
The prairie warbler
The prairie warbler
The palm warbler
The palm warbler
Myakka State Park - barred owl sighting
Barred owl sighting in Myakka State Park
Checking out the birdwalk on Upper Myakka Lake
Checking out the birdwalk on Upper Myakka Lake
Glossy ibis - another first seen in Myakka State Park
Glossy ibis – another first
A grebe I believe
A grebe I believe
White-throated sparrow in Myakka State Park
White-throated sparrow

Useful information about the park

The entrance fee to the park is $6 per vehicle. For more information visit the park website.

You can fish for bass, bream and catfish but you need a fishing license if you’re over 16.

There are airboat and tram tours – and in high season they do sell out. You can rent canoes, kayaks and bicycles from the Myakka Outpost.

The park is open 365 days of the year from 8 AM until sundown. The north entrance is only open on weekends and state holidays.

Pets must be on leash. There are many areas where you can’t take them.

Call Reserve America for cabins and campsites at 1-800-326-3521.

Further reading on things you can do in Florida

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Myakka River State Park: A Haven for Nature Lovers

 

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Nature tripping gives you serenity and peace of mind. It is a good break from the usual city adventure many travelers do.

  2. I’m not particularly fond of Florida, but it has its moments. Did not like Miami (years ago) but we did enjoy St. Augustine. Your photos are terrific and really captured great moments of Mother Nature.

  3. Nice shot of the owl, Leigh! That would be cool to go through there at night with only the moonlight…make for an entirely different experience, eh? 🙂

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