We didn’t plan on being in Myakka River for the week. Our original plan was to go to Peace River Thousand Trails or the Escapees Resort in Wauchula for a couple of down days. But someone else canceled their reservations in Myakka River State Park so we jumped on it. We had no expectations for the park and really didn’t know what was there. We just weren’t ready for an RV Park and the thought of exploring another of Florida’s wonderful state parks overwhelmed our desire to get some laundry done. Turns out, it was a great choice and we even got some laundry done.
Myakka River State Park is huge. It has three campgrounds, a river run, a lake, and miles and miles of trails for bikes and feet. There is a boat tour, a tram tour, a restaurant, two stores, a tower – probably even more that we didn’t get a chance to discover. The three RV campgrounds have distinct flavors: the full hook-up, open aired, gravel sites of Palmetto Ridge; the W/E dirt sites near the dump station of Old Prairie; or the tighter, W/E dirt sites under the trees near the lake of Big Flats. We booked into Big Flats, not having a choice due to the fact that it was the only spot available. While the site itself was extremely small and we had no satellite and barely any cell phone, we grew to enjoy the site’s location. There was wifi at the store not more than 200 yards away and, in the evening when the day trippers left, it was pretty easy to get things done. There were also washers and dryers at Palmetto Ridge and Old Prairie so we got our laundry done.
We spent a few days just wandering the trails of the park. They ranged from wide open paths large enough for a car to bushwhacking-necessary animal trails through ankle deep water.
The hikes can be as easy or as difficult as you like. One of the motivators was the huge number of geocaches located here. It didn’t hurt that Leap Weekend was happening and we had access to all geocaches (not just beginner) listed in the app – probably over 150. While we only managed to find 30 or so, we had a great time doing it.
One thing we didn’t know, using the intro app, was how varied the caches were. While some were extremely large and easy to spot, others took time to locate. One was so well hidden we never did find it, even after twenty minutes of hunting. Just an FYI, the hunting was made easier as the best cell phone signal in the park was out on the trails on the north end – we had five bars on many occasions and were able to get hints when we desperately needed them.
The trails offered a lot more than geocaching, though. There are some amazingly old and twisted trees, beautiful tropical plants typically only seen indoors (where I come from) and birds. Lots and lots of birds.
One of my favorite trails, was marked with white blazes.
While it wasn’t any more spectacular than the rest of the trails, I greatly welcomed following the blaze, at least for a little while. Kind of made me homesick for the Appalachian mountains.
We never ended up putting our kayak in the water, though it looked like a great place to do so. The lake is huge and the run is open and fairly slow. We did however, eat at the restaurant and decided it was best left to times we were desperately hungry. We did, however, enjoy the ice cream and the wifi.
Myakka River was a great way to get away from the crowded coast of Florida, in spite of the huge number of day users the park attracts. There is a great variety of things to do or one can just sit back and watch the sun rise and set.