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There are two airboats in the park. They are about the same size and are generally quiet enough to have a conversation.
Myakka River State Park - Boat Tour
Closest available address
13208 State Road 72 Sarasota, Florida 34241
Park is open 8:00am-dusk. Park concession is generally 9-5, but hours vary by season.
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Winter
The Myakka River boat tour is an hour long narrated tour of Upper Myakka Lake. The tour is conducted on a large and fairly quiet airboat, which is able to access shallower areas of the lake than conventional boats. Tour highlights include multiple views of alligators and various birds. The boat captain was also the tour narrator.
Myakka River State Park is one of the oldest, largest and most visited Florida state parks. It offers a variety of recreational options, such as boating, tram tours, biking, hiking, and camping. The boat tour is one of the more popular ways to see the upper lake, which is a big draw in this park. There are usually several boat tours each day, weather permitting. The airboat can hold around 40 people. Tickets are offered first come first served so it’s not a bad idea to get a ticket early in the day when visiting the park.
The tour was relaxing and convenient although not especially informative. The captain/narrator talked for the entire trip. He pointed out such wildlife as alligators, turtles, wading birds, eagles, ospreys and vultures and discussed their eating habits and other behaviors. Most of these animals can be seen from the shore as well but the boat can cover more of the lake which increases your odds of seeing more animals. Also, the wildlife are generally used to the boat so don’t scatter when it approaches. One of the more interesting parts of the tour was venturing to the far side of the lake to visit alligator nurseries, essentially piles of mud and debris, in which alligators lay eggs. The narrator also discussed feral hogs, which are an invasive species and quite destructive to the park. The tour left and returned on schedule. It offered a cursory perspective of the lake and park in general, but if you are on a time budget or mobility impaired and don’t mind parting with around $10 it's a reasonable way to see the heart of the park.
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Myakka River State Park
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