I woke up the other morning to a pile of clean but unfolded laundry, a kitchen sink and counter full of dirty dishes and 2 kids that were yelling about something. One quick look and I said F this shit, I am outta here. Dishes and laundry can wait. It’s winter time in Florida, the day is perfect and I don’t want to clean. I threw some sandwiches in a lunch bag, filled the water bottles and we jumped in the car headed southbound and down!
Myakka River State Park is one of my favorite local day trips in the winter. The wildlife is always out in full force and the gator count is astronomical. Hiking trails range from easy to far off the beaten path. They even have a tram service and airboat ride!
We stopped just inside the gate to wander down and start our alligator count.
The alligators were out sunning in full force and we immediately counted 6 at first site. We talked to a nice couple that was just setting off in their kayak for the day and the kids explored the river bank running off some pent-up energy from the hour drive down.
Next stop was the bridge.
This is the first bridge you come to in the park and is always lined with cars and site seers. It’s usually game for at least 8 or so alligators, lots of birds and even sometimes you can see the fish swimming in the murky tea colored water. We hung there for as long as I could with the kids screaming at me that they were starving to death (even though we ate before we left the house) before meandering off to find a picnic spot! I am pretty sure it was just the chocolate sandwiches the kids really wanted.
With bellies full (well as full as any kids can be) we headed to my son’s favorite spot, the canopy walkway. It is a short hike that takes you not only up into the canopy of the swamp giving you the chance to see the air plants up close and personal, it then allows you to go up above the canopy and have an amazing view of Florida about as wild as it gets.
Since this trip was short we headed out to the lake to catch a few more gators basking in the sun. The sky was so pretty and while we didn’t make the airboat ride this trip it is a really awesome way to show off Florida to out of towners!
We left the house about 10 AM and we were home by 3. There was no rush but we got our fill of nature, fresh air, and sunshine, things that are really important in our everyday lives. It allowed the kids to stretch their legs and run free. We lost count of the number of alligators we saw laying in the sun, the number of different birds we saw or different kinds of trees. The short drive south is totally worth every gas penny and we usually leave out the north side of the park and meander our way up through the rural parts of Florida for a quiet drive home.