Looking for a day away from the beaches? Take a drive out to Myakka River State Park. It’s located about 15 miles east of Siesta Key on State Route 72. As one of the oldest and largest state parks in Florida, Myakka protects one of Florida’s most diverse natural areas. In Myakka, many animals can be spotted by visitors including alligators, deer, hawks, owls, raccoons, wading birds, turkeys, bobcats, and boars. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, runs through 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands. Myakka features a boardwalk that stretches out over the Upper Myakka Lake for wildlife viewing, as well as a canopy walkway 25 feet above the ground that extends 85 feet through the tree tops above the Myakka floor. Myakka´s river and two lakes provide a great opportunity for boating, freshwater fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. Hikers can explore trails that cross large swaths of rare Florida dry prairie. For a unique experience, take a trip on of of two largest airboats to tour Myakka Lake. Safari tram tours of the park´s backcountry are available during the cooler months from mid-December through May.