Friends visiting from up north? Family in town for a visit?
Want to show them a piece of unspoiled Florida? You know, maybe a slice of land untarnished by the nasty Florida sprawl cocktail of unyielding pavement, ugly architecture and cars everywhere.
Myakka River State Park.
It's an old-time Florida state park, complete with nature trails cutting through pines and oaks, a gorgeous wooden canopy bridge and tower that offers superb vistas of the surrounding terrain, an open grassy savannah that looks like the plains of Africa and watery access that just might give you a peak at a gator.
It's easy to get there. Take I-75 south to the Sarasota area and get off at the State Road 72 exit and head east for about 10 miles or so. The park entrance will be on your left.
I cycled down there this afternoon and the cool weather was superb. It was fun to wear my first long-sleeve shirt of the fall bicycle-riding season.
A tree by the canopy bridge offers a vegetative home for another plant.
What a blend of trees out there -- oaks, pines, Carolina ash