Sarasota is known for its beaches, and has coastal hiking trails that show off Sarasota Bay and the estuaries. Inland, however, is a large swath of natural lands protecting the Myakka River floodplain, including Myakka River State Park, which has a four-day backpacking loop amid wide open prairies and oak hammocks.
Nearby: Arcadia, Bradenton, Venice
Trails and Parks in Sarasota
- Florida’s Best Urban Parks- When you live in a tightly packed space, you need somewhere green as your go-to place nearby. These are our top picks for parks in Florida's urban areas, chosen for their diversity of outdoor activities and/or their unique green spaces.
- Lake Osprey Trail- Circling Lake Osprey, the wheelchair-accessible Lake Osprey Trail at Oscar Scherer State Park offers an exploration of the uplands surrounding the artesian-spring-fed waters.
- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens- Most notable for its collection of more than 6,000 orchids, Marie Selby Gardens are a must-see for those who love tropical plants, especially epiphtyes. The many specialized gardens range from a children's garden play area to succulents and cycads to a banyan grove, mangrove walkway, and tropical fruit and medicinal gardens.
- Myakka Hiking Trail- For immersion in Florida's central prairies, the 39-mile Myakka Hiking Trail is a serious backpacking destination in South Florida near Sarasota
- Myakka River Canopy Walk- At Myakka River State Park in Sarasota, the Canopy Walk provides a sky-high view of the Myakka River basin as well as an intimate immersion in the live oak canopy in a beautiful hammock of oaks and palms.
- Myakka River State Park- With tall waving grasses, saw palmetto, and the sound of birds, Myakka River State Park immerses you in Florida's Big Sky country amid wide open prairies and riverside marshes.
- Oscar Scherer State Park- Blurs of blue flash between the diminutive scrub oaks as a family of Florida scrub-jays settle in, curious as to your approach. These colorful birds are only found in Florida, and Oscar Scherer State Park is their biggest stronghold in Southwest Florida.
- South Creek and Lester Finley Trails- The South Creek and Lester Finley Trails are part of the South Trail System at Oscar Scherer State Park, focusing on the flow of South Creek towards Little Sarasota Bay.
- At Spanish Point (12/7/2013)- At Spanish Point, scents hang heavy in the morning air: a moonflower in the act of closing for the day, the sweetness of citrus blossoms, the purple morning-glory clambering over mangroves, the brush of salt breezes.
- How to backpack Myakka State Park (11/10/2011)- With 39 miles in four loops, the Myakka Hiking Trail at Myakka River State Park in Sarasota is one of the state’s finest destinations for a weekend or long weekend holiday hike. I frequently get asked about places backpackers can go during hunting season – deer season starts very soon throughout Central Florida – and […]
- Oscar Scherer adds second ADA-compliant trail (5/26/2010)- From our friends at Oscar Scherer State Park: A low-key groundbreaking on April 15 marked the official start of the second ADA-compliant trail at Oscar Scherer State Park, according to Russell Delaney, president of the Friends of Oscar Scherer Park, Inc. One of 100 citizen support organizations (CSO) in Florida’s park system, the Friends are […]
- Get outdoors at Oscar Scherer State Park (8/19/2009)- It’s summer, but that shouldn’t stop you from playing outdoors. Down in the quiet town of Osprey between Sarasota and Venice, you can see their namesake bird along South Creek at Oscar Scherer State Park. The extensive trail system gets you deep into Florida scrub-jay habitat, but a summer morning is best enjoyed with a […]