In this episode we visit Sarasota, Florida area and spend an interesting night at the Myakka River State Park. This remote park is actually pretty close to the St Petersburg / Bradenton area but it’s really out in the middle of nature and nowhere… just the way we like it. We’d grown accustomed to seeing alligators after two months of meandering around Florida but nothing could prepare us for setting up at our campsite literally feet from black swamp water and gators. Talk about having your head on a swivel, we were always mindful of the fact that gators were literally just outside our doorstep. We were especially careful about Maggie in this area and she spent a lot of the time, much to her unhappiness, inside the van where it was safe.
We got set up and went for a hike only to look overhead and see hundreds, if not thousands, of buzzards. It was a spectacular sight to see all those huge birds gliding overhead. Then it was back to campsite to grill out dinner and eat. As if the buzzards and the gators were not enough we had no sooner started eating when Lynn jumped up scared to death after seeing a huge spider go walking by just outside our screen room. Needless to say we grabbed dinner and went inside to eat. We went to sleep to the sounds of gators calling to each other and it was hard to not imagine that they were saying, “You take the lady… that guy looks like he’s got some meat on him and would taste good”. I know they were not but it was an eerie feeling to hear them making that noise all night.
We woke up the next morning prepared to leave. In doing so a huge turtle decided to walk through our campsite as it headed back to the water. It literally walked under our van to take a shortcut and proceeded to crawl into the water to swim off. But you tell he knew that “Gus”, as the locals call the gator that lived right behind us, was somewhere around and he was a potential late breakfast. As far as we know he made it without being eaten.
So how did we like this stop? AWESOME!!!! What a stay in nature in such a beautiful place that’s less than 30 minutes from big cities. Wow!
Area: Sarasota, Florida
Campground: Myakka River State Park
Lessons Learned: Buzzards migrate in huge flocks and Florida also has some huge spiders
Fun Fact: Myakka River State Park is one of Florida’s smallest state parks but is one of the most diverse with rivers, lakes and all kinds of wildlife