The Treasure Coast and Beyond: Myakka State Park

Where is Myakka State Park?

On the West coast of Florida, between Tampa and Ft. Myers, one of the oldest and largest state parks can be found.  If you have never been to Myakka State Park, it is definitely worth a visit.  Click on the address below for directions on Google Maps:

The adventure continues…

For memorial day weekend, my wife surprised me by having already called in advance and reserved a campsite for the family!  This may not sound like a big deal to many of you reading this but if you knew my wife then you would know how big of a surprise this really is.  Don’t get me wrong, she loves to visit parks with me and truly enjoys the beauty of nature.  Now I love camping and backpacking.  Roughing it in the truest sense of the word.  She, however, prefers to experience nature in the day and be home in a nice comfy bed at night!
According to the Florida State Parks website, “One of the oldest and largest state parks, Myakka protects one of the state’s most diverse natural areas. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, flows through 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing from a boardwalk that stretches out over the Upper Myakka Lake, then take to the treetops with a stroll along the canopy walkway. The park´s river and two lakes provide ample opportunities for boating, freshwater fishing, canoeing, and kayaking; a boat ramp provides access to Upper Myakka Lake. Hikers can explore trails that cross large expanses of rare Florida dry prairie. Scenic lake tours are offered daily on the world´s two largest airboats. Safari tram tours of the park´s backcountry are offered from mid-December through May. Full-facility campgrounds and primitive campsites are available. Five palm log cabins, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, have been modernized for comfortable lodging. Located nine miles east of Sarasota on State Road 72.”

Early Father’s Day Gift

I mentioned that I was really into camping and hiking… especially backpacking.  Well, my family also surprised me with an early Father’s Day present.  I was given a BioLite CampStove!  Normally, when I went camping, I would always take my portable camp stove which was fueled by either propane (Click here to see the propane stove) or ISO-butane (Click here to see the ISO-butane stove).  The new stove is different because it is fueled by sticks and get this… the heat produces a small amount of electricity and there is a USB port that you can use to charge your phone!  Click here to read my review of the BioLite CampStove and feel free to check out their website at www.bioliteenergy.com.

Alligators

Florida is known for being home of the alligators. Let me be the first to tell you that Myakka State Park does not disappoint! After passing by the gate house, when driving up the road, you will come across a bridge and will most likely see a few people staring over the side.  Do yourself a favor and park your car.  If you want to see some gators, this is the place to do it.  When we were there, this enormous alligator was just lounging right under the bridge.  While most of his body was concealed under the water, his head must have been three feet long!  I would guess that he must have been at least 12’… It was a monster!  There were at least six other alligators in the vicinity but this guy was definitely the dominate one.  I definitely wouldn’t want to get any closer than the bridge.  I’m just glad I had my longer lens so that I could zoom in on him.

Residents of the Myakka State Park

The wildlife at this park was awesome!  I was only there a couple of days and never really ventured into the back-country.  I was able to see all the animals pictured from our van or from one of the boardwalks (called the birdwalk).  As you can imagine, there were so many different types of birds that could be seen from the Bird Walk that I couldn’t even begin to name them all.
At one point, we even saw a few deer.  I made sure to get a photo of the fawn.  I mean, who doesn’t love Bambi?
We decided that our next family camping trip in Florida will have to be scheduled for sometime between October and March because it was pretty hot and humid.  If you live in South Florida, you know what I am talking about.  We still had a great time and I am sure that we will go back again.  I know I will because they have some backpacking campgrounds and I am all about that!

Conclusion

Before leaving, remember to check out my Adventure Gear Store (Click here to check out my store).  These are items that I have bought or would like to buy at some point in the future.  If you know of any other useful items that I don’t have listed, please comment and let me know so that I can check them out!  Thank you for joining me as I explore the Treasure Coast and Beyond!

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