Family Day Hike at Venice Myakka River Park

Family Day Hike at Venice Myakka River Park

Located at the east end of Laurel Road, in Sarasota County‚Äôs town of Venice, you can find Venice Myakka River Park. Step back into old Florida at this hidden gem of a park. Take a leisurely stroll on a flat and easy path while surrounded by lush vegetation. This paved, scenic trail winds along the Myakka River and is an ideal family activity as long as you are not planning on including the family dog. For this nature adventure, we took 3 generations and our furry friend. When we saw dogs were not allowed, we were glad we didn’t have to drive too far to bring our pup home. She was less than enthused about this turn of events, but she made sure we made it up to her.

When arriving (for the second time-this time dog free) we were pleased to find plenty of available parking spaces and noticed there was also a restroom at the trailhead.

The park has only one main trail that can be easily explored to the end and back in about an hour. There are a few unpaved footpaths along the sides of this paved trail that allow you to get closer to the sandy banks of the Myakka River. Heed caution as you walk past the Beware of the Alligator signs if you choose to go and explore. We were hoping to see a gator relaxing on the bank, but instead we snuck up on some turtles. From a half-submerged log, they quickly splashed into the tannin-stained water and swam away. The bird watcher in our group was delighted as she pointed out a menagerie of birds: 3 types of herons (a great blue, little blue, and tri- colored heron), house wrens, mockingbirds and palm warblers.

Back on the main trail there is a kayak launch and fishing platform on the right. It is about 100 yards to the kayak launch from the parking and restrooms. As you head down near the launch an interpretive sign describes the wildlife you may see or encounter. We didn’t cast a line that day, but it would be fun to come back and see what kinds of fish we could catch.

Venice Myakka Kayak Launch

Towards the end of the paved section there are picnic tables under shady covered pavilions. Charcoal grills are scattered about and made us hanker for the sights, smells and flavors of a delicious cookout. There is a bench along the water’s edge for enjoying the solitude. This small journey comes to an end just beyond this area at the tip of a peninsula. You may choose to linger longer or perhaps decide it is time to head back.

The park is located at the east end of Laurel Road in Venice; this is NOT the State Park of a similar name. While this park is much smaller, it is ideal for reading, fishing, launching a kayak or birdwatching. It is stroller friendly and wheelchair accessible.

The Bottom Line is: This is a fun and free park to enjoy. If you are looking for a short and easy outdoor activity that is suitable for all ages and abilities, this is worth a stop.

To get to Venice Myakka River Park, take exit 195 off I75 onto Laurel Road East. Continue on this road until it ends at 7501 Laurel Rd East. Venice Myakka River Park is straight ahead.

2 thoughts on “Family Day Hike at Venice Myakka River Park

  1. Your descriptions are vivid and made us feel like we were walking with you. Hope to visit this park next time we are in
    the area.

  2. Thank you for this piece, it is very useful to me! Way easier to understand than other bloggers out there. Bernadette Kippie Burget

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