Great Outdoors,Kayaking,Parks,Tampa Life

Visiting Myakka River State Park

myakka river state park

Myakka River State Park is part of the Florida State Park system in Sarasota and full of 58 square miles of gorgeous scenery. It’s known for its lakes, wetlands, and meandering waterways. However, its claim to fame is the tree canopy walkway.

My friend and fellow blogger, Tia (Pennies in my Pocket) set out for a spur of the moment adventure to visit a park that neither of us had ever been to. I’m super grateful that she wanted to come along with me because I finally have GOOD pictures of me on the water in my element!

Our first stop was the largest of the 2 lakes, Upper Myakka Lake. We rented kayaks from the concessionaire in the parking lot and were surprised to learn the kayaks were aluminum. I had only been in a plastic kayak up to this point. I was a little nervous because I know that the Myakka waterways are full of alligators. But..YOLO!  I haven’t ever flipped a kayak so I felt confident that everything would be ok.

kayaks mayakka

It was a gorgeous clear day on the lake. We paddled from the protected water way all the way over to the dam that then flows into the river. We were told if we wanted to access the riverway, we would have to get out and walk the kayak around the dam and then put in from there. Yeeeeeaaaaaa that wasn’t happening. Because gators. I was content to paddle around the lake and observe the birds.

black girl kayaking

bird on lake

The winds shifted and we realized we needed to start heading in. Struggle Bus!! Every progression forward was E-A-R-N-E-D. The wind was in our faces and it was unrelenting. By  some miracle we made it back in one piece.

After our time on the water it was time to do what I was most looking forward to, the tree canopy walkway!  So what do I mean when I say tree canopy? I mean a walkway built up high where you can literally walk among the very top of the trees.

tree canopy

There was a one direction only wooden stairway that leads you up to the suspension bridge walkway and you are literally walking through the tree tops. It was pretty cool, but sadly it was so short. I was expecting it to be a lot longer.

tree canopy outdoorsy diva

Once you cross the bridge there are more stairs that will take you up to the top of the observation tower.  To say the view was stunning is an understatement. It was sensational! The flies seemed to be enjoying the view as well because they were buzzing around annoyingly as we tried to take all the pictures…and I do mean all of them. We left no angle unturned.

observation tower

It’s absolutely worth the hike up the stairs to take in these remarkable views.

There are many hiking trails, boardwalks along the lake, and biking trails. There is also Lower Myakka Lake which we didn’t get a chance to see.  I would really like to return and stay in one of the cabins. The airboat tour on the lake and a back country tour during the cooler months of the year sound like really fun activities as well.


Myakka River State Park really is a natural jewel on Florida’s west coast.

Plan your own outdoorsy adventure:

  • Don’t forgot the insect repellent!
  • You’ll need comfy shoes for walking or hiking. Leave the sandals at home.
  • Be mindful of where you around the waterways and the lakes. This is gator country. Heed all of the warning signs.
  • Bring change to use the viewer on the tree canopy observation deck.
  • There is a north entrance and a south entrance to the park.
  • $6 entry fee. ($4 if single person in car)
  • Get a park map. It’s a massive park.


myakka river state park

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  • Reply
    Ryan Inskeep
    November 2, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    A great perspective on this wonderful park!

    • Reply
      November 3, 2016 at 11:41 am

      Thanks Ryan

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