Myakka River State Park

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About Myakka River State Park

You’ll wish all of Florida was preserved to the pristine and primal state that is Myakka River State Park! At 37,000 acres, Myakka is one of the Sunshine State’s largest and oldest parks. And when we say large, we’re not only talking acres… Detour from the main road that runs through the park, and set forth on the Canopy Walkway: a super awesome suspension tower and bridge system providing visitors with vibrant views of the forest canopy, and a snapshot of the entire park from above! Or book a scenic lake tour on one of the world’s two largest airboats (you are absolutely guaranteed to see some freakin' huge alligators!). Other activities that aren’t as large but are still in charge include: cycling, running or skating the 6.5-mile main drag, hiking the rare and expansive Florida dry prairie, or adventuring on the river and two lakes that will weave you through the wilderness. Stay in a full-facility campground, practice minimalism at a primitive site or book a “palm” log cabin (built not with logs, but the trunks of native palms). However big or small your adventures, Myakka River State Park will leave a large impression on you for life!

Campgrounds in Myakka River

Myakka River Cabins

1. Myakka River Cabins

Combine Mother Nature’s wonders with history by staying in a palm tree cabin! Built between 1934 and 1941 by Civilian Conservation Corps, these...

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Big Flats Campground

2. Big Flats Campground

At Myakka River State Park, all sites come with 50-amp/water hook-ups, a fire ring, and picnic table. So, what makes Big Flats Campground special?...

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Old Prairie Campground

3. Old Prairie Campground

At Myakka River State Park, all sites come with 50-amp/water hook-ups, a fire ring, and picnic table. So, what makes Old Prairie Campground...

Palmetto Ridge Campground

4. Palmetto Ridge Campground

At Myakka River State Park, all sites come with 50-amp/water hook-ups, a fire ring, and picnic table. So, what makes Palmetto Ridge Campground...

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Hipcamper Danielle

Favorite. State. Park. I primitive camped a year ago at the Mossy Oak Campsite and it was perfect! Two-mile hike in and plenty of space to set up camp under a beautiful hammock so there's plenty of shade cover. The park itself has 39 miles of hiking trails, look-out points, cycling opportunities, as well as kayak and canoe rentals (or bring your own!) for jaunts down the Myakka River. There are other primitive sites that require a further hike-in but are sometimes unavailable due to flooding so call ahead and ask about conditions! You really can't go wrong at any campsite, primitive or not.

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History of Myakka River State Park

Prior to 1850, the Myakka River was the Asternal River on English maps. A Seminole Indian reportedly told a surveyor in the 1850's that the name of the river was "Myakka". The translation of the word Myakka, is unknown. Between the 1850's and the 1930's, cattle grazed on dry prairie, a vast land of grasses, forbs, palmetto and other low shrubs with thousands of scattered wetlands. In 1910, Bertha Palmer, a progressive business woman from Chicago, came to Sarasota and bought a vast amount of land. Meadow Sweet Pastures which was located very near the Myakka River was one of her purchases. (Visit Ranch House Road inside the park for more information about the Palmers). In 1918, Mrs. Palmer passed away. In the 1930's, during the Great Depression, over 17,000 acres of the Palmer estate was purchased by the government to develop Myakka River State Park as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal. The New Deal was intended to boost the economy and spirit of the American population during these dark years. More than 5 million young men around the country were employed to help preserve our natural areas. This employment allowed them to earn money to send home to their families. Myakka is one of 8 Florida State Parks developed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) during the 1930's. When the United States entered World War 2, the CCC was disbanded as all efforts were needed for the war. Myakka River State Park was formally dedicated in 1941 and was officially opened for the public. Many of the CCC structures built in Myakka are still used today. The Visitor Center, two picnic pavilions, 5 rental log cabins and roads are just a few of the things which are still enjoyed by visitors.