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Oscar Scherer State Park

 Activities at Oscar Scherer State Park

Bicycling

Bicycling

The park offers several marked trails with a combined length of approximately 15 miles. Both hikers and bicyclists share these trails. Since much of the trails consist of fine loose " sugar sand" , a mountain bike is recommended. The trails meander through two distinct plant communities and are a great way for visitors to get a closer look at the " Oscar Scherer Outback" . Due to the specific use of and width of the trails, please refrain from riding bikes on the Lester Finley Trail and the South Creek Nature Trail. Both trails are marked to show foot traffic only.

Campfire Circles

Campfire Circles

Campfires are allowed in the campground but only in the "ground grill" provided. Collecting of firewood is not allowed, however campers can bring in their own firewood or obtain it at the Ranger Station for a donation to the parks' Citizen Support Organization the Friends of Oscar Scherer Park, Inc., whose members work at keeping firewood available. The donations are used to help support the park through special projects and improvements to park facilities. Campfires may be banned during extremely dry weather conditions. Please, never leave campfires unattended and extinguish them completely with water before vacating the site.

Camping, Full Facility

Camping, Full Facility

Oscar Scherer State Park offers fully-equipped campsites for tent or RV camping with electric and water hook-ups. The picnic tables and grills provide a kitchen away from home. The clean, accessible restrooms have hot showers and laundry facilities. Fifteen miles of trails provide solitude, beauty, challenge and a healthy adventure for everyone.

There are seven ADA accessible sites, with aprons for parking and concrete slabs for grill and table.

Maximum RV length = 36 ft.

Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.

Camping, Group

Camping, Group

The primitive group camping area can accommodate up to 50 people. One chaperone is required per 10 youths. Amenities include a bathroom and shower, a pavilion with picnic tables, a cold water sink, a stone barbecue pit and a large campfire circle with bench seating. Electricity is not available. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance for organized youth groups and up to 30 days in advance for adult groups. Call the park at (941) 483-5956 for reservations.

Camping, Youth

Camping, Youth

The primitive group camping area can accommodate up to 50 people. One chaperone is required for each 10 youths. Amenities include a bathroom and shower, a pavilion with picnic tables, a cold water sink and a stone barbecue pit. No electricity is available. There is also a large campfire circle with bench seating. Call the park at (941) 483-5956 for reservations; no more than 60 days in advance for organized youth groups, and no more than 30 days in advance for adult groups.

Canoe/Kayak Launch

Canoe/Kayak Launch

There is a "natural" ramp for kayaks and canoes only.

Canoeing & Kayaking

Canoeing & Kayaking

Canoeing South Creek is one of the more popular recreational activities available at the park. Visitors can launch their own canoe or kayak, or rent from the Ranger Station. Canoes, single kayaks and double kayaks are currently available for rent and are launched from the South Creek Picnic Area. Paddles and life jackets are included with watercraft rental; please call the park for more information.  Ranger-led canoe programs are available every Wednesday.

South Creek is a tidal black water stream that flows through the park. The Creek begins north of the park and is formed by rainfall and freshwater run-off and eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The creek fluctuates with the incoming tide and is brackish (a mixture of fresh and salt water). Mangrove trees, Giant Leather Fern, and Cabbage Palms are a few of the plant species that can be seen growing along the edge of the creek. Wading birds such as the Great Blue Heron and Little Blue Heron can be seen feeding in the water while Ospreys soar overhead. Occasionally alligators and otters can be seen taking advantage of the creeks' diverse habitat.

Fishing

Fishing

Both freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities are available at the park. Lake Osprey is a 3-acre freshwater lake providing anglers with the opportunity to catch bream, bluegill, largemouth bass and channel catfish. The lake is stocked with catfish as part of the urban fisheries program sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. South Creek provides an opportunity to catch saltwater species. A fishing dock located off of the Lester Finley Trail is a great place to fish. A fishing license may be required.

Hiking/Nature Trail

Hiking/Nature Trail

Six marked hiking trails provide visitors an opportunity to explore various remote portions of the park. Numbered benches conveniently placed along the trails provide resting spots and, since the numbers correspond with numbers on the trail map, visitors can determine their exact location on the trail. Keep in mind that there are no restrooms or shelters on the trail. You may want to wear good hiking shoes, bring drinking water, wear a hat, and use sunscreen and insect repellent. Make sure to request a trail map when entering the park. For information on what you might see along the trail, be sure to check out the Resources and Endangered Habitats section.

Interpretive Exhibit

Interpretive Exhibit

Be sure to visit the Interpretive Nature Center located in front of scenic Lake Osprey. The Center showcases the parks scrubby flatwoods. Home of the Florida Scrub Jay, Gopher Tortoise, and Eastern Indigo Snake. Dioramas, Videos, Displays and Touch Table enlighten the senses and help visitors learn more about the park. Open most days from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. To find out if the center will be open during your visit call the Ranger Station at (941) 483-5956.

Pets

Pets

Pets are allowed in this park's campground and visitor recreation areas. They must be well-behaved and kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash at all times. Pets must not be left unattended, nor taken into restroom facilities or onto playground equipment. Service animals are welcome in all areas and buildings of the park, as required by law. Also by law, no pets are allowed on the swimming beach or in the lake. As a safety concern we do not allow pets in rental canoes.

Picnic Pavilion

Picnic Pavilion

There are pavilions located in the park that can be rented for picnics, meeting, reunions, weddings, etc.

Picnicking

Picnicking

The South Creek Picnic Area and Lake Osprey Picnic Area each provide visitors with picnic tables, charcoal grills, pavilions, and a playground. South Creek Picnic area has a restroom, small pavilion and a canoe launch. Lake Osprey Picnic Area has a bathhouse, two pavilions, and a Nature Center located next to Lake Osprey. The pavilions and Nature Center are each available for rental. The Nature Center is equipped with a kitchen, folding tables, chairs, and a sound system. It also includes several exhibits about the parks various plants and animals. It is a great location for weddings, family reunions or business meetings. Please Contact the Ranger Station for additional information, reservations and current rental rates.  Consumption of alcohol beverages is prohibited, except during park-sanctioned events where alcohol is permitted within designated areas.
 

Playground

Playground

There are three playgrounds, one in each picnic area and one in the campground. All are ADA accessible.

Restroom Facilities

Restroom Facilities

ADA accessible restroom facilities are available at the park.

Showers, Day Visitors

Showers, Day Visitors

Each of the five bathhouses in the Family Campground are equipped with restrooms and hot water showers, and are for registered campers only. Non-campers may also use these showers, however they must register at the Ranger Station and pay an additional fee. At the Lake Osprey Picnic Area, a bathhouse with inside coldwater showers is available to all visitors. Pets (other than service animals) are not permitted in any of the restroom facilities.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling

Snorkeling can be done in Lake Osprey, our fresh water lake.

Swimming

Swimming

Lake Osprey is a perfect place to cool off during the hot summer days. This 3-acre freshwater lake has a sandy beach front and is located at the Lake Osprey Picnic Area. The lake is also open for fishing, however no fishing is permitted in the designated roped off swimming area.

Tours

Tours

Guided canoe tours are held on Wednesday. Please call the park at 941-483-5956 for times.

Participation Requirements

Visitor Center

Visitor Center

Our Nature Center is open for visitors and includes an interpretive exhibit. The Nature Center is located adjacent to Lake Osprey and a large picnic area,  and a short walk from the campground.

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

The park is well known for its population of Florida Scrub-Jays which can be found throughout the park's scrubby flatwoods plant community. Other species of wildlife including Bobcats, Bald Eagles, Gopher Tortoises, White-tailed Deer, Eastern Cotton-tail Rabbits, Raccoons and American Alligators can be seen at times in different areas of the park. Be sure to pick up an animal list and hiking trail map upon entering the park and ask a Park Ranger for more information on wildlife observation. Please remember that all animals are protected and it is unlawful to harm, harass or feed them.