Planning a Fido-friendly Floridian getaway in the great outdoors? Then you’d be barking mad not to consider camping at Myakka River State Park! Located close to Sarasota, this pawesome park is ideal for those who want to stay in serene, natural surroundings without sacrificing too many of their creature comforts. The campgrounds have electricity and hot showers, a camp store, and a playing field, and some sites have full hookups.
The oldest state park in Florida and one of the largest, Myakka River is chock full of gorgeous scenery -- and the area around the campgrounds is no exception. Expect to be well shaded by palm hammocks, surrounded by live oak trees, and some sites even have views of a beautiful lake. There are three different spots to stay in: Big Flats, Palmetto Ridge, and Old Prairie. Palmetto Ridge has the most in terms of mod cons, Big Flats has a mix of primitive and hookup camping, and sites at Old Prairie are mostly primitive.
Cabins are also available, but unfortunately, none of them are pet-friendly. Dogs are also prohibited from the six primitive backpacking sites along the park's hiking trails. Sites start at $26 a night, and there's a $6 entrance fee to the park. It’s best to book early, since Myakka is an understandably paw-pular destination for locals and tourists alike.
You and your buddy are sure to sniff out something to do during your stay! The main draw to the park is the namesake Wild and Scenic River, a favorite of anglers, kayakers and boaters alike. If you’re bug-eyed crazy about lepidopterology, you won’t want to miss the butterfly garden. Serious hound-dog hikers might enjoy strolling a stretch of the Myakka River Trail, a furrific 39-mile route passing through prairie and under tall pines. The trail makes for a nice hike at any time of the year, but it’s extra special in fall, when wildflowers along the path burst into a riot of color. If the very thought of such a long walk makes you feel tired, don’t worry -- the views from the two-mile long Canopy Walk are simply spectacular. (However, only service dogs are welcome on this trail.)
WiFi isn’t available at Myakka River, but most cellular networks should receive at least some coverage. Fires are permitted, and drinking water is available at all three campgrounds. Remember to bring waste bags for your four-pawed pal, and have a grrr-eat time!