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Oscar Scherer State Park

Osprey, Florida

Contact Information
1843 S. TaMiami Trail
Osprey, 34229
(941) 483-5956

Florida State Campgrounds
Reservations 1-800-326-3521

Oscar Scherer State Park provides many recreational opportunities in a natural park setting and is conveniently located between Sarasota and Venice in the town of Osprey. This page is designed to inform you of the many recreational opportunities available and at the same time answer specific questions regarding camping reservations, seasonal rates, the parks' natural and cultural history and much more. Be sure to check out the Calendar of Events section so you can take advantage of all the Events we conduct during the year.

Oscar Scherer State Park Campground Photo
Hours of Operation
Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.

Driving Directions
Oscar Scherer State Park is located on U.S.41, six miles south of Sarasota. Heading south on I-75 take exit 200. Heading north on I-75 take exit 195.

Park Activities

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 Circle
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.

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 a canoe from the Ranger Station. 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. Ranger led canoe programs are available every Wednesday.

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 is required for persons over the age of 15, and can be purchased at the Sarasota County Tax Collectors Office in Osprey.

Full Facility Camping
Oscar Scherer State Park Full Facility Camping Oscar Scherer State Park is a Seasonal Camping Park. Campsites are available for tent or RV camping with complete hook-ups for electric and water. Reservations may be made up to eleven months in advance. One night’s camping fee deposit will be required (credit card only – must be canceled within 24 hours of check-in time for refund)

Group Camping
A separate camp area is available for organized youth and adult groups. Tents only. No pets allowed. Amenities include pavilion, campfire circle, restroom, and cold water shower. No electric service available. Limited to 60 people. For reservations call the parks Ranger Station as Group Camp reservations are not yet made through Reserve America.

Interpretive Programs
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.

Nature Trails
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 repellant. 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.

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

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.

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.

Lake Osprey is a perfect place to cool off during the hot summer days. This 3-acre freshwater lake 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. The lake has a sandy beachfront and is also equipped with a floating swim dock.

Wildlife Viewing
The Park is well known for it's population of Florida Scrub-Jays which can be found throughout the parks 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 un-lawful to harm, harrass or feed them.