Florida Guide > State Parks
Myakka State Park – Part 1
If you are staying on the Gulf coast a State Park well worth visiting is Myakka. Even if you are staying in the Orlando area you could visit here for one or two nights and stay on site, but more of that later. Myakka is one of the oldest state’ s parks and in the early part of the 20th century was a cattle farm. You will find it along highway 72 which is exit 205 off the 75.
There are log cabins that are available for rental and so if you want somewhere a little different to stay for a night or two, give it a go. There are bicycles, canoes and kayaks to hire so you can do your own exploring.
This is somewhere the whole family would enjoy visiting. We went in early May and at this time of the year they have a slightly different time-table of attractions available. We arrived mid morning and the first place we visited after paying our very modest entrance fee of $4 was the Visitor Center where there is a brief introduction to the park and the wildlife that you could see while there.
We then proceeded down the road to the Upper Myakka Lake where we had timed it perfectly for the boat trip. The cost of this was $10, however after paying your $10 you were given a ticket which if you returned within one year you would get the tram trip for $5 instead of the usual $10. There is always the danger that at certain times of year this boat trip will not be running if the water level in the lake is too low. Apparently earlier this year it did not run for six weeks as the level was down to one foot.
It was a very leisurely boat trip and there was no doubt there were loads of alligators in the lake, you do not get sight of anything but the head normally but on the far side we did see one sunbathing on the side of the lake. We saw many birds including both little and great egrets, ibis and sandhill cranes. We were even lucky enough to glimpse a Bald Eagle. Only the second time we had seen one in the wild. If you are into taking photos the boat is so stable and smooth it is very easy to move around and take photos from each side. After the boat trip we had a short wait before the ’ Tram Safari’ went off. This only runs in the winter months 16th December through till 31st May. This takes you off the tarmac road and through the natural parkland. Throughout both trips a continuous commentary is kept up by the drivers and this we found very informative but as is so often the case it is very difficult to remember everything they tell you.
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