River State Park
||Scenery: Very Good
|Distance: 6 miles
round-trip from the Myakka Outpost Concession to bridge at Park
|Atlas: Page 97 B-3
|Last Update: January 2003
||Canoe OK: Yes
- limited details.
With over 45 square miles of land and waterways, Myakka River is
Florida's largest state park. It's an area brimming with wildlife
and recreational opportunities. For paddlers, the main attractions
are the Upper and Lower Myakka Lakes and the tannin-stained blackwater
river that flows between them.
Starting at the Myakka Outpost Concession on Upper Myakka Lake,
a six mile round-trip paddle to the Park Drive bridge offers wonderful
opportunities to see many different species of plants and animals.
Although a lot depends on water levels, the current is usually mild,
making it easy to go in either direction.
Be sure to be on the lookout for alligators. Myakka is famous for
them, and it's not uncommon to spot 20, 30 or more if you spend
a day at the park. The biggest 'gator we saw on one warm November
day must have been 12-13 feet. If you are squeemish about paddling
around these ancient reptiles, bring a few friends along. That way
you'll all have great stories to tell at the end of the day.
From Sarasota travel south on I-75 to SR 72 (Exit 205, old #37).
Turn east (right) towards Arcadia and go 9 miles to the park entrance
at 13207 State Road 72. Turn north (left) into the park. A small
entrance fee is required. Follow Park Drive to the Myakka Outpost
Concession area located at the boat basin on Upper Myakka Lake
Myakka River State Park Photographs
This shallow blackwater river follows a twisty path for 14 miles through the park from the northeast end of Upper Myakka Lake continuing to Lower Myakka Lake in the Wilderness Preserve area.
In 1985 the river was designated a Florida Wild and Scenic River.
||Canoeing at Myakka
Canoeing is a popular activity at Myakka River State Park. Bring your own boat or rentals are available at the Myakka Outpost Concession on Upper Myakka Lake. A canoe ramp is located directly across from the concession building.
The Myakka River and its two lakes are surrounded by freshwater marsh wetlands,
hammocks, dry prairies and pine flatwoods. At low water levels
it may be necessary to portage over or around the weir dam at
the south end of Upper Myakka Lake.
As the park literature states, alligators are abundant within the park. Don't approach, feed or harass them. From the safety of your canoe or kayak you'll be sure to see plenty of these prehistoric creatures, many exceeding 10 feet in length.
Myakka is home of thousands of big and small creatures including colorful butterflies, raccoons, wild boars, deer, turkey, bald eagles, rosette spoonbills, ducks, sandhill cranes, turtles and of course, plenty of alligators.
The park office provides a wildlife list identifying over 250 species of birds.