Fun Things to do Outdoors in and around Myakka City
Myakka City and surrounding areas has so much to offer to those who love to spend their leisure time outdoors. From fishing, zip lining or horseback riding, there is something for everyone. If you love being out on the water, there are several beaches close by where you can get your feet wet for sure!
If you live in Myakka City, you already know there are several lakes in the community. These lakes are full of bass, catfish and bream. You can take a short car ride and enjoy a few hours or a day throwing your line in and catching. What a great way to get your kids out to spend good quality time outdoors. If it’s saltwater fishing you enjoy, you can take a short ride down to the beach for some shore fishing or to a pier where fish like mangrove snapper and sheepshead like to hang out. The Anna Maria Island Pier is always a good bet to catch something. We fish there quite often. This pier has a bait shop and a restaurant, The City Pier Restaurant. They serve up some delicious eats and drinks. This is a nice way to take a break from all the fun in the sun. Another great spot is under the bridge at Longboat Key, known as Longboat Pass. The water here is absolutely beautiful and we love to head down early in the morning and grab a great spot. You can cast in from shore and wait for those hungry fish to pass under the bridge. The water here is very swift, so you’ll want to stay close to the shoreline. Swimming is recommended on the Gulf side. This area offers picnic areas, pavilions and restrooms. Just remember, you’ll need either a salt water or fresh water fishing license. The cost is minimal, the fun is priceless. Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to purchase your license.
If you love heights or you’re trying to get over your fear, head out to Treeumph. Treeumph is located nearby off of SR 70. Here you can spend the day climbing, zip lining, cross a monkey bridge, ascend and descend different types of rope ladders and cross a tight rope. There are many more courses that are offered. Before attempting these courses, the staff will go over a safety lesson and provide all the personal protective equipment you will need. You are also harnessed at all times to ensure safety. So grab your kids and head out for a high flying adventure!
Horseback riding is very popular in the Lakewood Ranch area. With so many farms and ranches, horses are abundant and there are several companies you can contact to take riding lessons or just trot along some back country trails. Our personal favorite is Myakka River Ranch, LLC. We spent the day enjoying some great sites out in the country and the owner taught us everything we needed to know before headed out on the trail.
Camping and Hiking
If you love the outdoors, the Myakka River State Park has so much to offer! Most of this watershed lies north of Manatee County. The lower Myakka lies on 7500 acres of Wilderness Preserve south of SR 72. The lake flows through several miles of Spanish moss laden branches and live oak. This makes for a great canoe or kayak trip. There are miles of trails to hike here too. You can spend an entire day walking through the park. You can also rent a cabin or pitch a tent and enjoy the sounds of the native birds of Florida while cooking dinner out in the wilderness. And of course there are alligators in the waters so be careful and aware of your surroundings. Another great place to camp is Lake Manatee State Park. This park is located off SR 64 just 15 miles east of Bradenton. It lies on 3 miles of Lake Manatee with unforgettable views. There are picnic tables and a full service campground for those who wish to “rough it” in the RVs; tent sites are also available. One of our favorite places to camp and fish is Peace River Campground, located off SR 70 in Myakka City. This campground also has full service sites for RVs and tent sites. If you like privacy, take a ride through the woods and set up camp in one of their primitive sites along the Peace River. You will not be disappointed. If you’ve forgotten something, there is a small shop at the check in building. Fishing here is so relaxing, just set up a chair and cast your rod out into the river and you may catch dinner!
Paddle Boarding and Kayaking
Paddle boarding and kayaking is a great way to get out on the water and tour the area. Several companies offer lessons and you can rent paddle boards or kayaks directly from the area you wish to launch from. One great place to do this is the South Lido Mangrove Tunnels. We go there from time to time and launch at a public launch area. Get there early or you’ll need to park on the street. Either way, it’s well worth it as the mangrove tunnels lead you out onto crystal blue waters. There are a couple of beaches you can pull up to and take a rest or have lunch. If you don’t have your own paddle board or kayak, visit Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures and they’ll get you set up.
Manatee Gun and Archery
Manatee Gun and Archery was started back in 1971 by sportsmen and firearms enthusiasts. This is a private gun club that is open to the public. The Club offers the only 1,000 yard range in Florida with expert shooters on hand for safety and of course, fun. Several events are held here including the NRA Women on Target Instructional Shooting Clinic. This is the place to go if you are new to shooting and need to learn the proper handling and use of a firearm. You can also receive your permit to carry a concealed firearm and basic marksmanship here. These folks know what they’re doing and hope you do too when it comes to firearm safety.
Dakin Dairy Farm
Dakin Dairy was founded in 1973 by Jeanette and Pete Dakin. The farm is located in Myakka City off Betts Road. This farm practices environmentally sustainable methods to provide you with quality and friendly dairy products. Other than purchasing milk from this lovely establishment, you can take a farm tour and host birthday parties. The farm tour will teach you where milk comes from and you can watch how the milk goes from cow to bottle. You’ll also learn about the cow’s fresh grass diet, sustainable farming and pasteurization. And of course you’ll be able to sample some of the delicious milk (they even have chocolate milk). While you’re at the farm, you can also enjoy the Old Oak Hammock Courtyard, Café, 6 acre maze, cow train ride, camp fire area, the 5 acre play area, animal barn and hen house and the geo-nav hunt. This is the perfect place to take the family for a fun filled day!! Get out and play!
Duette Preserve is the largest Preserve in Manatee County with over 21,000 acres of trails, waterways and so much more. This Preserve is part of the Lake Manatee Watershed and is the primary basin within Manatee County. You can find several species of animals including the snowy egret, white ibis, gopher tortoise and several varieties of our slithery friends, the Florida scrub jay and eastern indigo snake. Here you’ll find a variety of native plant communities in the pine flatwoods, hardwood swamps and the dry prairies. You can also camp at the Duette Preserve on Friday and Saturday nights during non-hunt weekends. It’s primitive camping so be prepared and remember to pack in and pack out to keep the land beautiful! If it’s hunting you enjoy, there’s plenty of this available during season. Of course you will need the appropriate licensing and attend an orientation class. This is a beautiful place to spend the day with your family either hiking, fishing or riding the horse trails. You can also bring non-motorized bicycles into the Preserve and enjoy a picnic under one of the pavilions.
Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions
The Royal Lipizzan Stallions are one of the rarest breeds in the world. These horses were founded in the 16th century for the Hapsburg Royal family of Austria. It is fortunate that this breed still exists after almost being ceased during World War II. This is all due to Colonel Herrmann assisting General George Patton in smuggling these horses outside of enemy lines. Located in Myakka City, Florida you can take riding lessons at Herrmanns’ Royal Lipizzan Ranch off Singletary Road. These lessons are held privately with a reservation. The ranch also offers clinics and hosts several events such as Keller Williams’ Red Day back in 2013. If you’re looking for a venue for that perfect country wedding with outstanding views, you can exchange your vows at the ranch.
If it is speed you need, go no further than the Desoto Speedway located in Bradenton off of SR 64. The Speedway was constructed back in the 1970s with a 3/8 mile paved oval track. Here you’ll see anything from Winged Springs, Open Wheeled Modified, Mini Stock, Pure Stocks and so much more. The average lap time takes you to more than 90 mph up to 100 mph. While at the track you can enjoy food and beverages offered at one of several concessions in the main grandstand. It’s a great place to take you family for some high speed adrenalin fun!
O’Brien Family Farms
If you’re looking for a family friendly place to pick your own strawberries, stop into the O’brien Family Farm. Here you can find a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that you can pick on your own or purchase ready to go. This farm is located in Bradenton, just outside the Myakka City border on SR 64 and was established back in 1974. The farm also has a retail shop on-site where you can purchase jellies, jams, popcorn, chips and snacks. They also sell homemade strawberry shortcake, fresh fruit smoothies and ice cream. If you’re spending the day at the farm with your family, you can feed your appetite with a pulled pork sandwich, soup or a jumbo hot dog. The farm is also a great field trip destination for young students.