Florida Travel Blog

Travel destinations, beaches, attractions and fun things to do in Florida. 

Documented by RESIDENTS of Florida.

Myakka River State Park Road Trip by Photographs

Myakka River State Park Has Everything

Nothing to do? How about a 58-square-mile state park with a river, a lake, camping, hiking, bicycling, picnicking, bird watching, fishing, kayaking and airboat rides. Now, that is a Florida road trip! 

In fact, at Myakka River State Park, you have the opportunity to see unique birds, wildlife and fauna all in one location. Stunning views are everywhere.

We could tell you all about it, but we choose to tell a photographic story in a blog format.

Many of the roads within the Myakka State Park are canopy covered. This offers a shaded bicycle ride for visitors.

This Snowy Egret is looking for a meal in part of the vast prairie waters of the park.

This Wild Coffee plant is just one of the many species of fauna found within the park. The wide range of environments from forests to prairies offer many opportunities to view different types of plant life.

The forest floor can be viewed from the tower and walkways. This different perspective can get interesting when wildlife goes about their business below.

This young Blue Heron walking the water’s edge for a snack. As one of the oldest state parks in Florida, the habitat is mature. This means wildlife and birds have been making Myakka home for many decades.

The bird walkway built out into the prairie near the lake offers photographers stunning views of their prey. For a Florida road trip, it is rare you can interact with so many creatures in one location.

Tricolored herons aren’t easily found in normal coastal waters. This one was ready to fly.

If this were ground hog day, this Snowy Egret was casting quite a shadow.

We love the towers at Myakka State Park. One of the reasons this Florida road trip is special.

things you need when flying

If you are on a Florida road trip, there must be an alligator somewhere! Myakka River State Park has a river running through it and a lake. Perfect home for alligators.


Florida has Alligators in every county in the state. They may be the most sought-after photographic target in the state. The beauty of Myakka is that everything is natural. These aren’t photos of penned-up wildlife. It’s just you and the habitat.

We leave you with a photo we did not take. This is the Roseate Spoonbill, one of the cherished photographs. This closeup is difficult to get. The Roseate was more common 25 years ago, but more difficult to find in Florida today.

Photo courtesy Amy Edger
Photo courtesy Amy Edger
Photo courtesy Amy Edger
Photo courtesy Amy Edger
Photo courtesy Amy Edger
Photo courtesy Amy Edger
Photo courtesy Amy Edger
Photo courtesy Amy Edger
Photo courtesy Amy Edger
Myakka Alligator
Photo courtesy Amy Edger
Photo 251819617 / Myakka State Park © Ben Graham | Dreamstime.com

Things To Do In Myakka River State Park

Myakka River State Park, located in Sarasota County, Florida, is one of the state’s oldest and largest parks, offering a variety of outdoor activities and natural beauty. If you’re planning to visit Myakka River State Park, there are plenty of things to do both within the park and in the surrounding area. Here are some highlights:

Within Myakka River State Park:

  1. Wildlife Viewing:
    • Myakka River State Park is renowned for its diverse wildlife, including alligators, deer, turkeys, and a variety of bird species. The park offers excellent opportunities for wildlife photography and bird watching.
  2. Hiking and Biking:
    • The park features numerous trails that wind through prairies, hammocks, and wetlands. Popular trails include the Myakka Hiking Trail and the Birdwalk, which offers a boardwalk into the wetlands.
  3. Boating and Kayaking:
    • The Myakka River and two lakes within the park are perfect for canoeing and kayaking. You can rent boats or bring your own to explore the waterways and observe wildlife from the water.
  4. Airboat Tours:
    • Myakka River State Park is one of the few places in Florida where you can take a scenic airboat tour. These tours provide a unique perspective of the park’s ecosystems and allow for close encounters with wildlife.
  5. Canopy Walkway and Tower:
    • The park features a canopy walkway suspended 25 feet above the ground, offering a bird’s-eye view of the forest. Climb the observation tower for panoramic views of the park.
  6. Fishing:
    • The lakes and river in the park are popular spots for fishing. You can catch bass, bream, and catfish in the park’s waters.
things to do Myakka River State park airboat tour
Myakka River Airboat Tour

Things To Do Near Myakka River State Park

Nearby Attractions:

  1. Sarasota Jungle Gardens:
    • Located about 30 miles from Myakka River State Park, Sarasota Jungle Gardens is a family-friendly attraction featuring exotic animals, tropical birds, and lush gardens.
  2. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens:
    • These beautiful gardens in Sarasota are known for their extensive collection of orchids and other tropical plants. The gardens provide a serene escape with stunning bay views.
  3. Siesta Key Beach:
    • About 35 miles from the park, Siesta Key Beach is famous for its powdery white sand and clear turquoise waters. It’s a great place to relax, swim, and enjoy the sun.
  4. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium:
    Myakka River state park things to do - Siesta Key
    Siesta Key Near Myakka River State Park
    • Located in Sarasota, this aquarium offers interactive exhibits and the chance to learn about marine life, including sharks, manatees, and sea turtles.
  5. Historic Spanish Point:
    • This 30-acre historical, archaeological, and environmental museum located in Osprey, Florida, offers a glimpse into Florida’s pioneer and prehistoric past.
  6. Venice Beach and Venice Fishing Pier:
    • Venice Beach is known for its fossilized shark teeth that wash up on shore, making it a unique spot for beachcombing. The nearby Venice Fishing Pier offers excellent fishing opportunities and beautiful sunset views.
  7. Legacy Trail:
    • A 10-mile trail that runs from Sarasota to Venice, perfect for biking, walking, and running. It’s a scenic trail that passes through several parks and natural areas.
  8. Warm Mineral Springs Park:
    • Located in North Port, this park features a natural warm mineral spring, believed to have therapeutic properties. It’s a relaxing spot to enjoy a soak in the mineral-rich waters.

Exploring Myakka River State Park and its surrounding attractions provides a diverse mix of natural beauty, wildlife experiences, and cultural sites, ensuring a memorable trip to this part of Florida.

Myakka River State Park Makes a Great Florida Road Trip

Myakka River State Park is one of the largest and oldest Florida State Parks. This park is a fun Florida road trip. The location is just south of Sarasota off I-75. Easily a 90-minute trip from Tampa or Clearwater, and about the same from Orlando.

Cruise Critic See the world for less Start saving your ideas
Florida Travel Blog
Join our Mailing list!

Get all our latest posts and our monthly Florida Travel Newsletter with the latest posts and Florida Travel News.