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, September 10, 2018

Back to Florida's Oscar Scherer State Park

We return once again to this neat park between Sarasota and Nokomis. It is always amazing how quiet this park, nestled in the middle of a busy urban sprawl, is and has such an out-of-the-way atmosphere. A great sanctuary for visitors and the many birds and animals inhabiting the park.  There are 96 sites available: 2 are tent only, 12 are rv only, 82 are rv or tent, 6 are pull through sites. Thirty six feet is the maximum vehicle length accommodated. Some sites have 50 amp service, but it seems haphazard as to which those are. The bath houses are updated and kept clean.
Our site of choice is #17.  It sits along with 3 other sites off the main loop and backs up to South Creek. Very shady, private, and level gravel/sand and for our "B" just the right size.

Looking at one end of the loop (paved) from our semi-private road (not paved) to our campsite which is on the right from where I stand. 

 Looking the other direction there are three volunteer sites on the right and three small tent/rv sites on the left. Straight ahead is the Green Trail. This is a 2 or 3 mile hike or bike loop trail depending on whether you take the shortcut or not. In season, tram tours are available.

There is a path at the end of the loop that crosses South Creek via a neat bridge, complete with a deck with picnic table. Right behind our site. Nice to cook out and walk through the brush to the deck to eat your meal and enjoy the sound of the creek.

South Creek is a 5.7 mile creek that widens at the park boundary and provides good kayaking from this bridge to Hwy 41. There is a blockade there to keep kayakers from going out into the gulf. There is always fishing from this ledge and along the shore west to Hwy 41.

Always like the color of the brackish spring water in the sunlight.
The bridge path leads to the visitor center on Lake Osprey, a man made lake using spring water. There is a beach for lounging and a swimming area, while other sides of the lake are designated fishing spots.
The visitor center has a small interesting interactive area, knowledgeable volunteers and rangers, wi-fi on the screened patio, and a small store (they have ice cream). 

The day area at the beach has pavilions,

 a playground and plenty of grassy area for picnics, games, etc.  There is a nice clean bath house.

An easy going walking trail circumvents the lake.  There are benches for sitting, a group campsite, a ranger interpretive area, and opportunities to see wildlife.

Along that trail a small stream of water pops up out of the ground and flows to the lake.  As the sun shifts colors change.


The park is noted as a sanctuary for the gopher tortoise, 

scrub jays, osprey, eagles, heron, and more.

It's the rainy season and most of the trails are not continuously navigable. So we didn't venture out this trip.  The Yellow trail (5) is the longest and takes you through 4 or 5 different habitats from dry to wet. This trail is your best bet to see the Florida Scrub Jay at the south end.  The Blue Trail (1.5 mi) and the Red Trail (2 mi) have differing habitats. The Green trail (3 mi) is the only trail you can bike on, although there are sugar sand spots along the way to navigate.  This is the best trail to see the eagles and Osprey.  Anywhere you go be alert for bobcats.

The most navigable trail this trip was the nature trail along South Creek.  It is an easy trail that has many interesting things to see as it heads toward Hwy 41 and the entrance to the park.

 The Legacy Trail runs thru the park.  Once a CSX rail corridor it the trail extends from the old train depot in Sarasota south 11 miles to just north of Culverhouse Nature Park in Venice.

This an old railway bridge section crossing South Creek.  There are 13 shaded rest stations along the way.

 Meet people on bikes, roller blades, walkers, joggers. All types of activity on the trail.


 Some of the flora along the trail.

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