Myakka River State Park

#1 in Best Things To Do in Sarasota
Myakka River State Park picture
The Photography Factory/Getty Images

Key Info

13208 State Road 72

Details

Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.8scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Considered one of Florida's oldest and largest state parks, Myakka River State Park stretches across 58 square miles of wetlands, hammocks, pinelands and prairies. The area also features a river and two lakes, making it a prime place to enjoy water activities like canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Or, visitors can tour the lakes via one of the attraction's airboats, which are the largest in the world. Land-based tours are offered seasonally as well.

Though some travelers caution that finding the park's entrance and parking near the lake's main activities can be a bit of a challenge, many agree that this scenic spot is a must-visit for nature lovers. All sorts of animals – including alligators, roseate spoonbills and armadillos – are known to frequent the area. What's more, the park offers nearly 40 miles of hiking trails – including one walkway suspended 25 feet above the ground – and several biking paths.

Myakka River State Park sits 18 miles southeast of downtown Sarasota along the same highway that connects visitors to Sarasota National Cemetery. Public transportation is not available to the area, so travelers will need to hail a taxi or hire a car to get to and from the park. Free parking is provided, but fees apply to enter the park, which is open every day from 8 a.m. to sunset. Standard admission costs $4 per vehicle with one passenger (or $6 for every vehicle with two to eight people), while travelers who plan to camp in one of the on-site campgrounds can enter for $26 per night (plus a nonrefundable reservation fee of $6.70). Bikes, kayaks and canoes can also be rented by the hour, and airboat and tram tours – the latter of which are only available Dec. 16 through May 31 – cost $14 per adult and $7 for each child ages 6 to 12. Kids 5 and younger ride for free. Other amenities include restrooms, a cafe, a visitors center and two gift shops. For more information about Myakka River State Park, visit its website.

See all Hotels in Sarasota »

More Best Things To Do in Sarasota

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art1 of 8
Ca' d'Zan2 of 8
Type
Time to Spend
#2 The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which features thousands of Medieval, Renaissance, Greek, Roman and Cypriot antiquities and works of art, is the main attraction on The Ringling museum campus. Numerous galleries showcase pieces from Ringling Bros. Circus co-founder John Ringling's personal collection, including paintings by Velázquez, Rubens and Veronese. And in the museum's courtyard, 20th-century bronze and stone casts of iconic works like Michelangelo's "David" are on display.

According to recent visitors, everyone from art enthusiasts to architecture and nature buffs will love exploring this museum. The attraction's art collection offers all sorts of masterpieces to ogle, while the pink building's unique U-shaped design impresses with its Renaissance-inspired facade. Additionally, travelers rave about the property's courtyard and gardens, which feature fountains, statues, various flowers and picturesque views of Sarasota Bay. Although photography is not permitted in the museum's special exhibits, visitors are more than welcome to snap some photos of permanent collection pieces and the property's gardens and exterior, so be sure to bring your camera.

Read more
Marje/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Sarasota »

Explore More of Sarasota

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

America's 15 Coolest Ghost Towns to Visit

From Kentucky to California, the U.S. is filled with eerie abandoned cities.

Lyn MettlerAugust 22, 2019

The 7 Best New Orleans Plantation Tours

Learn about the Big Easy's history through one of these daytrips.

Holly JohnsonAugust 21, 2019

22 Top Sonoma Wineries to Visit

Sip world-class wines while enjoying vineyard and mountain views.

Gwen PratesiAugust 19, 2019

30 Beautiful Caribbean Islands to Visit

It's time to plan your next tropical getaway.

Holly JohnsonAugust 8, 2019

The Best Travel Rewards Programs for 2019-20

See which airline and hotel loyalty programs come out on top.

Erin ShieldsAugust 6, 2019

20 Surprising Ways to Earn Loyalty Program Points or Miles

Branch out beyond hotel stays and flights to maximize your earnings.

Christine SmithAugust 6, 2019

The 12 Best Cancun Tours

These excursions will show you what lies beyond the city's bright beaches.

Lyn MettlerJuly 26, 2019

Traveling With Toddlers: 16 Tips to Make Your Vacation Go Smoothly

These expert travel hacks guarantee a happy trip for the whole family.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 25, 2019

The 11 Best New Orleans Ghost Tours

Hear chilling tales of the city's paranormal activity on one of these guided tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 25, 2019

The 10 Best Seattle Boat Tours

Take in the Emerald City's top sights from the water.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 24, 2019