Your Florida camping experience should include Myakka River State Park near Sarasota. Why? Because, from what I’ve seen, “Florida State Parks Camping” is the way to go for the simple reason that you can see much more of the great outdoors than you can in a private, smaller campground.
The vast size of Myakka River State Park really opens up your opportunities to explore a variety of nature and wildlife, right at your front RV door or tent flap, so to speak.
There is so much more available at Myakka River State Park to see and do as far as exploring and communing with nature.
And the park sponsors activities such as nature walks, bird watching, campfire programs and more throughout the year.
Plus there are guided excursions and canoe, kayak and bicycle rentals.
Myakka River State Park is one of the best Sarasota camping spots, so I have put together the following information for those hale and hearty souls, like you, who like to get out there in the raw wilderness and go camping in Florida.
Whether your heart's desire is...
...you have lots of Florida Camping choices to choose from!
Big Flats is the larger of the two campgrounds with 52 sites, most of which can accommodate up to a 35 foot RV and all the sites have electric and water.
Big Flats is located closest to the Upper Myakka Lake and is lined by shade providing oak trees. Each campsite is outfitted with a grill and a picnic table, as well.
From Big Flats, you’re within walking distance (north) to the Upper Myakka Lake and the Myakka Outpost from where you can rent bikes, kayaks and canoes, if you haven’t brought along your own.
Big Flats has room for all styles of campers from RVs, and trailers to tents and there are modern day conveniences like restrooms and showers.
Old Prairie: Smaller, with only 24 campsites, Old Prairie campground is located near the visitor center in close proximity to the park entrance. The campsites here are also outfitted with electric and water, a grill and a picnic table. There are conveniences such as restrooms, showers and laundry facilities at this camp ground.
Old Prairie campground is shaded by Oak and Palm trees and is about a quarter mile hike or bike ride up to a bridge that passes over a waterway, which is usually a good place to spot alligators as well as dropping a fishing line. (You’ll need a State of Florida fishing license!).
The Myakka Park Nature Trail and Canopy Walkway is just a little further walk east-north east, past the bridge.
Camping fees: for “Big Flats” and “Old Prairie” campgrounds are $26.00 per night (prices subject to change without notice) and include electricity and water.
Reservations are highly recommended as far as 11 months in advance, as the Park is very popular with campers. And, holiday weekends from December to April fill up the quickest.
The Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset and the gates do close at sunset, so if your plan includes arriving late, you should contact the park prior to arrival for instructions at (941) 361 6511. Make sure you pick up a park map at the park entrance on your way in.
There are also 5 Palm log cabins that were built back in the 1930’s. This is a little cushier way to enjoy Florida camping. The cabins have been furnished and modernized with linens, blankets, kitchen utensils, a coffee pot and a microwave.
They also come furnished with:
...plus there’s also an outdoor grill and picnic table.
All of that should help make your Florida camping adventure quite cozy! The $70/night fee is for up to 4 people and each additional person is $5.00. (Prices subject to change without notice) Maximum occupancy is 6 people. By the way, no pets are allowed and check in time is 4 p.m. check out time is 11 a.m.
Myakka River State Park also has 6 grounds for primitive camping. Each primitive campground has 3 camp sites and the campgrounds are set in amongst the Oak Hammocks or Pinewoods to provide shade.
You can pick up a map of these campsite locations as well as nearby hiking trails at the Park Office upon entering the park. The use of these campgrounds is $5.00 per day per person. (Prices subject to change without notice)
If you’ve done primitive camping before, then you know what to
expect. Water is always available at these primitive campsites; however,
it must be treated, filtered or boiled before consumption.
By checking with a Park Ranger you’ll be able to get current information about the water conditions in the park. To be safe, you’ll always want to carry your own water along with you as well as other provisions you may need so that your Florida camping adventure is a smooth one.
These primitive camp sites are reachable only by bicycle or by hiking and two are reachable only by hiking. The distances to these campgrounds from the trail head range from 2.2 miles to 13.9 miles.
If you’re really into nature, camping and scenic beauty, not to mention really “roughing it,” primitive camping may be "paradise found" for you!
Whether or not you’ve spent time “primitive camping,” you should take proper precautions when spending any amount of extended time in the wilderness.
Campers must register with the Ranger Station prior to beginning overnight hiking or biking. You’ll also want to contact the Ranger Station for complete rules, regulations and safety precautions prior to your primitive Florida camping adventure.
Two of the Primitive campsites at each campground may be reserved, for up to 8 people, for as long as 11 months in advance and the third site is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For answers to other questions you may have about your Florida Camping adventure at Myakka River State Park, you may call the park directly at: (941) 361-6511
Directions: To get to Myakka River State Park from the Sarasota area simply follow S.R. 72 (Clark Road) east approximately 9 miles to the park entrance. You can get to S.R. 72 from I-75 and from U.S. Rt. 41. Both run through the Sarasota area.