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Oscar Scherer State Park, Osprey

(4.2/5 based on 200+ reviews on the web)
Oscar Scherer State Park is a Florida State Park located between Sarasota and Venice, near Osprey, amidst the heavily developed southwest Florida coast. The address is 1843 South Tamiami Trail. There are more than 130,000 visitors a year.HistoryThe park's genesis was in 1955, when Elsa Scherer Burrows, owner of the 462acre South Creek Ranch, died. Her will left the ranch to the state to form a park. It was to be dedicated to the memory of her father, Oscar Scherer, the developer of a shoe leather dyeing process in 1872. A year later, the park was ready and opened to visitors.Thirty years after that, realtor and environmentalist Jon Thaxton started work to protect the neighboring Florida scrub jay territory. In 1992 this resulted in 922acre being added from the adjacent Palmer Ranch that had been among the holdings of Bertha Honoré Palmer, in large part due to the Nature Conservancy, public support, and the use of Preservation 2000 funds, expanding the park's size to 1384acre.In September 2008, in recognition of National Public Lands Day, Lee Wetherington, a local developer and long-time park supporter, donated an additional 16.6acre of land to the park, including the buffer property adjacent to the Willowbend subdivision (a Wetherington development), bringing the total park size to 1400acre.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I have had the privilege of volunteering at Oscar Scherer for over 15 years. This conveniently located State park is located just south of Sarasota, FL. The campground has about 120 sites all with wat...  more »
  • Easy access to this well laid out park with plenty of open spaces, many walking trails, water activities, picnic areas and wildlife abundant. 
  • We went there today for some hiking. A nice nature area in Sarasota. They have several hiking trails and canoeing as well. Pretty standard Florida hiking, a lot of open hiking with no shade so probabl...  more »
Google
  • Overall we had a great time but don't plan to come back. The river was beautiful and we spent most of our time kayaking. However, we reserved a waterfront spot to fish and kayak out of but were told once we arrived you cannot launch from your site, you have to launch all the way at the front of the park which sucked. The river is super tidal but we managed to catch a bass on the last day. The ladies restroom had a huge tile cutter in front of the skins the whole stay and make sure you do not hang anything from the trees. (We got yelled at by the rangers a lot) We had site 85 and 87 and could bearly fit the allotted 2 tents/ vehicles per site; they were much smaller than they appeared online. Hiking was awesome and we saw an alligator, deer, eagles, and several snakes.
  • Worst place ever the place has no street lights if you want to talk a nite walk, kids are always partying loud their, cops came and kicked pep ppl out the park 3 times in a week when I was there. they charged me for RV spot when all i did was pitch a tent permittive camping & refused to give me back my refund.the chick at the front counter Allissa is such an airhead she don't know if she's coming or going and she is snotty. They leave the bathroom doors open at nite after they clean and racoons and animals get in there and crap all over.. The sites have no kinda privacy period! The rangers of that's what you want to call them don't patrol the park at nite at all you have to call them smh. The beach area, the sand is never combed looks like crap with patches of weeds and grass. There is no store at the park to get any items but they have two soda machines..YeAh don't waste your time and money I promise u you will be disappointed like i was..
  • excellent campground we stayed during the week in site 22. it was not crowded or loud. seen some bald eagles. some of the worker/volunteers were very rude and snobby. our bathroom was nasty and out of toilet paper every time we went so we just started walked to the one at the bridge when you come into the campground because it was nice and clean. met a sweet young lady with bright colorful hair working in the nature center who helped us out with all our questions. the older ranger at the entrance with long long hair was super sweet and helpful on picking a site. we will come back as it is close to home just hope we don't have to deal with the rude workers/volunteers again who told me they dont get paid for this job so leave them be. i thought volunteers or as they called their selves "hosts" were supposed to be friendly and helpful not these ones. i wont let those "hosts" make me not come back as i really liked the park.
  • Great spot for birding, walking, or even taking a dip. Be mindful of alligators though... that's not a joke. The State Park Rangers are great. Oscar Scherer also hosts a number of delightful community events during the year. Check out their calendar for more information, you'll be glad you did.
  • There is a visitor center in the park with videos of the park and some interpretive displays and a small lake where you can swim. The ranger was very helpful and gave us directions to Nokomis Beach which we visited later. The visitor center has many reference books on the birds that can be seen here. There were several family friendly displays on the wildlife to be found in the park. Also some interactive hands-on displays that kids of any age would enjoy. You can hike several trails along South Creek. My favorite is Lester Finley Trail, which runs along the banks of South Creek. It is barrier free (great for strollers) and has 2 butterfly gardens, lots of shade, several benches to rest and 5 audio boxes the learn about the park. The wonderful campground is situated across a narrow bridge over South Creek, with half the sites backing up to the creek and shaded by lots of trees. You can launch your kayak or canoe right from your camp site. The campsites have lots of privacy with shrubs and trees between each site. The South picnic area has a shaded playground, restrooms and plenty of parking. Great place to take the kids for an afternoon. Kayak rentals available, and this is where you pick them up. Birdwatchers will enjoy the amazing Florida Scrub Jays. These blue birds are very sociable. Sometimes they even come land on your hands or arms. Kids really enjoy watching these friendly little birds.