We put in at the Myakka River State park in the early morning mist. From the shore we could see the gators zig zagging in front of us. We set out on our approx. 20 mile trip from the state park to Venice Campgrounds. The first few miles resembled marshy canals found on the St. Johns River. From there the river entered the Lower Myakka Lake. Among the wildlife we saw Rosetta Spoonbills, a Bald Eagle, Osprey, Pelicans and more gators than you can imagine. As we left the lake, the river narrowed and the current picked up. After a few hours and some leisurely breaks and lunch we came up to a dam/spillway in the river. Being who we are, we slid our 17' boats down the 4 foot drop into the small shoals. (Not necessarily recommended for inexperienced paddlers) The rest of the trip was increasingly scenic and winding with a ton of opportunity for log jumping and paddle passes.
The Myakka River has quickly jumped to the top of my favorite places to paddle in Florida due to the abundance of birds and wildlife and the ever changing scenery and progression through the various types of terrain found in Florida. I now see why the Myakka River has been designated as one of two Wild & Scenic Rivers in Florida.
Primitive, RV and Cabins are available at both the Myakka State Park and Venice Campgrounds. Camping is not allowed along the river.
Permit required-to be obtained from the Myakka State Park front office.
The park is located 9 miles E of I-75 at 13207 State Road 72, Sarasota, FL USA