Visiting Florida's state parks and beyond in our Roadtrek. This is how we saw it all. Hopefully, the posts will give you some useful information. Questions and comments are welcome.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Weekend at Florida's Oscar Scherer State Park

Back, again, to this neat park just south of Sarasota, FL.  Besides just plain R & R, the reason for the revisit was to walk the Red Trail which was a rain out the last visit and to visit a remaining section of railroad track on the Legacy Trail, a rails-to-trails paved trail. You can see more of this park on my previous blog.

We stayed in the same campsite.  It's shady with side privacy as are most of the sites in this park.  It is actually off the regular paved loop, and, right by the South Creek bridge and picnic deck.

In fact, we were rewarded while on the deck with a visit from a Green Heron.  My capture of the week.

This last photo is not mine, but I want to show the neck extension on this unique heron.  The neck folds in an "S" shape into the body.

Just across the bridge over South Creek from our campsite is Lake Osprey.  This lake is fed by three wells in the middle area of the lake that pump water in from the aquifer. The beach is nice and on the opposite shore is a designated fishing area. One can also fish the South Creek. We saw mullet, bream and more.

Near the lake is an entrance to the shoreline.  Not the official path, but well used.

The bridge crosses a small brook. I suspect, by tracking the source of this water, it is manmade and comes from another well to the aquifer pumping more water into the lake.

The official path around the lake.  About 3/4 mile. No bikes allowed.  It is handicap accessible.   In the hot weather this week, people enjoyed it for a morning or late evening stroll. 

There is ample signage around the lake to identify things you may see in the park.  Things we saw, but didn't get a photo of were a bobcat roaming the loop, a cottontail scurrying in and out of the campground foliage, a raccoon in the campsite, and a Scrub Jay for which this park is noted for.  Don't leave your camera at home when walking around.  You'll miss something.

Between the lake and the creek is a youth camp with tenting area and a group meeting area with fire pits, benches, etc. 

In the morning the Osprey enjoy the beach before the humans arrive.

In one of the trees by the lake sat one wet Osprey after a morning dip.

Another view of the beach.  This area is large and is one of two large picnic areas in the park.  It has a couple of pavilions, several picnic benches, a playground, change house, and an interactive nature center describing the park area.  A great place to day visit the park.  Wi-fi is available at the center.

Inside the nature center are many exhibits, lectures are held, videos to be seen...

...and a couple of hands-on benches for the kids to touch artifacts. Here they can "hunt" for sharks teeth found in the area.

The staff of the nature center are raising Black Swallowtail butterflies.  In the shelter were two chrysalises.  One looking on the verge of opening.

While outside one of many Anoles hangs out on the bike rack.

And the perennial squirrel looking for a handout.

On the way to the Red Trail we saw  a common site of birds sitting high above the ground on dead tree limbs.  Tried waiting out this Osprey to turn his head.  Just wouldn't do it for me. 

One objective of this visit was to hike the Red Trail which was pretty much under water the last visit. Much drier this time, but is pretty much like the other trails in the park. The road has a wooded area on the right and a sawgrass and pine tree center.  It is a good trail for foot travel or bike.  

You can make this trail a 2 mile trail by following the treeline, or a 1.5 mile hike by cutting across the sawgrass field.

The interior of the Red Trail

Another view of the interior.

 Along the Red Trail we saw:

Six line racer

A  Swallow-Tailed Kite

A gopher turtle covered in sand from his burrow.

And colorful wildflowers

Florida Tickseed

Partridge Pea

Pale Meadow Beauty

 And, one lone cactus plant.

I recognize the tire tracks and the foot prints, but I wonder what made the wiggly marks on the sand ridge between the tire tracks.

The other objective of this visit was to ride the Legacy Trail; a rails-to trails trail from Sarasota to Venice that passes through this park.

About a mile of this 10 mile paved trail passes through the park and various habitats can be seen from it.   A rest area at the SR 681 bridge.

A Zebra Heliconian in a Firebush doing what they do at the rest stop.

The trail passes over South Creek which passes through the park.  The trail is used by bikers, joggers, walkers, and blade runners.  No motorized vehicles.

The old railroad bridge remains intact.  A reminder of the past. 

Entry into the park from the trail is on the honor system.  The gate opens to another recreation area.  This one for rather large events and is a short walk from Lake Osprey.

As we left Legacy Trail and headed for the campsite the ol' bike gave up the ghost. Exhausted, I guess.  It just fell over as I was taking a few last photos.


  1. So, I am noticing a dearth of alligator photos recently...?? Some photographers I met at Circle B recommended this other park. I'm not sure why I didn't include it in our itinerary - maybe the location or maybe...the dearth of alligators?!! But looks like a pretty park with lots to do/photograph, so maybe next time...? Great green heron shot (the first one)! They're neat-looking birds - unfair that they are so overshadowed by those other herons and egrets!! And hey, THIS kid would also love that shark tooth search tray!!! I found four? at Ferdinandina Beach but just about blew out my eyeballs scouring the beach for them all the bloody day!! That last picture's kinda sad...

  2. I resuscitated it successfully to ride again.