Myakka River State Park, southeast of Sarasota, is one of Florida's largest state parks with an interesting mix of forest draped with Spanish moss, marshes full of wading birds, and open water.
There are nearly 40 miles of trails in the park, the longest ones open to overnight backpacking. One short nature trail leads through the trees and palmettos to a Canopy walk, a wooden bridge suspended 25 feet high that lets you see the ferns and epiphytes growing on the branches of mature oak trees. The suspension bridge leads to a tall tower, with an observation deck above the tree tops.
A concession area on Lake Myakka, an impoundment of the Myakka River, offers a snack bar, gift shop, picnic area and boat tours of the lake. They also rent canoes and kayaks. I've enjoyed seeing anhingas drying their wings at the lake's edge and alligators are even more impressive from a kayak.
I teach economics at Kalamazoo College. My wife is also an economist. We were on sabbatical in Europe for the 2014-15 academic year. (Salamanca, Spain, followed by Oxford, UK.) We were in Uruguay for the 2006-7 academic year.