Florida on a Tankful: Nature lover's dream at Myakka River State Park

By Katie Jones, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 03, 2018, 7:31 AM EST

Walk above the trees and glide along the water as you check out some of Florida’s most famous wildlife. Myakka River State Park is a nature lover’s dream come true and truly has something for the entire family to enjoy.

  • 40,000 acres of protected land at Myakka River State Park
  • 39 miles of hiking trails, canoes, and campgrounds
  • Take a trip around Florida with the Emmy Award winning Florida On A Tankful

A big welcome sign off a rural road greets visitors as they enter nearly 40,000 acres of protected land at Myakka River State Park. It’s a giant gem in our own backyards. The drive through the park is breathtaking enough but if you stop along the way, there is 39 miles of hiking trails, canoes, and campgrounds.

Plus, a bridge that hovers above a pond of alligators. Rangers said the visitors’ reactions are priceless.

"Excitement for sure...seeing all the alligators and all the different birds and other wildlife here," Erin Gilliland said. "Wildflowers are blooming it’s an amazing site and it’s right in our backyards."

One of the most popular spots at Myakka River State Park is a canopy walk where you can explore above the trees and check out endangered plant life.

A lookout spot nearly 80 feet in the air gives families a beautiful glance at the entire park. After getting a birds eye view, you can head down a boardwalk for bird watching.

“There’s going to be birds and frogs and snakes right underneath that boardwalk right underneath your feet and it’s amazing to give you that close proximity to the wildlife that we have here,” Gilliland said.

“You do get to see Florida before it was developed and it’s amazing to see the environment and the plants ant the animals just as it would be every where in the state before anything was built here, before people were here,” Gilliland said.

Whether you come for just a day, or stay for a vacation, chances are you’ll leave Myakka River State Park with a new love for nature.

The park’s campground also has historic cabins for rent that were built in the 1930’s and made out of palm trees.

Myakka River State Park is in Sarasota off of State Road 72.