Finally a chance to check out the new Panther Ridge campsite at Myakka State Park east of Sarasota on SR 72.  Myakka State Park is a 1930’s era CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) park with gobs of things to do but campsites that were  intended for the popups and smaller travel trailers of a past generation.  Although capable of accomodating today’s larger RV’s and 5th wheels, the park’s existing loops didn’t give as much “elbow room” and had water and electric only.  Panther Ridge is a totally new loop opened in 2011.  Its nearly 50 brand new sites were designed with today’s large rigs in mind.  Our site was 78 x 19 with full hookups.  These dimensions did not include a “side yard” with picnic table, grill and fire ring.  All sites in the new loop are level with shell contained by a concrete footing around the edges.  Smaller “pea gravel” was placed beneath the “side yard”.

Our trip was short (Thursday through Sunda) and we had so much to do I never got around to taking a picture of our rig on the site.  The pictures here are the online reservation photos for the site we stayed in.  Myakka has nearly 40 miles of hiking and biking trails (see PDF map link at bottom of page accessed by this link) and two lakes along the Myakka River which drains a large area of this part of Florida, eventually flowing into Charlotte Harbor south of Sarasota.  Water levels were low but we had no problem kayaking the river’s Wilderness area south of the ranger station.

Myakka is known for alligators.  Gators team in the upper lake which can be viewed by a large 40 person airboat called the Gator Gal.  The banks of the river have everything from huge grown gators to lots of little baby gators.  Unless fed by humans or antagonized, gators are happy to sun themselves on the banks and will quickly enter the water and seek safety underwater if you pass too close.  Does get the heart beating a bit tho.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another fun feature of the trip is the Canopy Walk.  Completed in 2000, the structure was the first public treetop trail in North America.  You’ll see a few pics of Karen and I and friends Mark and Jamie who joined us tent camping on our site Saturday nite.

Here are the pics from our trip.

WARNING:  This loop is going to be really popular.  We checked this evening (1/29/12) to see about reservations for New Years 2012 and most of the sites in Panther Ridge were already booked.  The “snowbirds” have already discovered this treasure.

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