Sometimes you start a trip a a new destination. Sometimes you just need to park it somewhere like a favorite chair. Oscar Scherer State Park was that chair for us to start our Great Florida Road Trip.
This was our second time here and it is a wonderful haven. The park is home to the threaten Scrub Jay which was hiding very well when were there so no sightings for us. There are 98 private sites with half of them backing to the meandering South Creek, a tidal blackwater stream which you can kayak down. More back up to hiking and biking trails.
Note: In order to help with bank erosion you are not allowed to launch from your site. You will have to drive to the picnic area for the fancy put-in. I love launching from this set up but getting back out takes a little muscle since it is on an up hill slant.
We shared our site with a beautiful heron and a very social raccoon!
This is the “season” in Florida and the park had a lot of activities going on. We particularly liked the blueberry pancake breakfast. (Which no photos were taken because we shoveled those suckers down before we even thought about it!)
Thank you YouTube
One of the activities that we participated in was orienteering. This is something I’ve wanting to do for a while. Orienteering is a competitive sport that combines a timed race with navigating unfamiliar territory with a map and compass. There is a special device for timing when you get serious. We geocache, and letterbox, but had never tried orienteering. The local orienteering club was hosting an event and for $15 we got a map of the novice course, a compass and a very quick how to. We could tell that the first “control site” was by the nature center. However after that….. Well lets just say that YouTube is the BEST! Some guy in the UK showed us how to use a compass and map to navigate from point A to B! I do think we were the only ones on the course watching YouTube Videos. Two miles and one hour later we had finished. We will definitely be doing this again. It got us out and into areas of the park that we would not have otherwise seen.
The other great thing about OS park is the Legacy Trail. It’s a paved, multi use trail that runs from Sarasota to Venice. We took a short ride to the north this time. The last time we were here we rode from Oscar Scherer to the Venice Train Station, 5.3 miles, and then took the Venetian Waterway Park Trail to Caspersen Beach, 4 miles, to find sharks teeth. The whole roundtrip was approximately 19 miles. This is a sunny stretch of trail so make sure to be prepared with water. We had plans to do this again, but… well you know, the first week out energy levels were at lazy!
Here’s a link to the Legacy Trail brochure.
More information about mileage on the Friends of the Legacy Trail site.
Things that go bite in the night.
I love this park, however, if you are susceptible to bug bites, suit up. I know this and still ignored it. Something in the sand under my chair decided I was a free trip to the golden coral. Sand fleas maybe? I’m not sure. All I know is one tube of cortisone later I’ll wear pants and socks around the campfire!
Out and about: Siesta Key
Oscar Scherer is about 10 miles to Siesta Key, Fl. “Best Beach in the USA”! Or so Trip Advisor said in 2015. It’s a pretty little town. Lot’s of condos and tourist “rent-a-thing” places. Nice for a walk around to stretch your legs. The public beach has a nice parking area with picnic tables. We took a short walk from the pavilion to the beach. Beautiful white sand between our toes, surf rolling in, lifeguard stands every few feet, 100’s of dead fish! Yes, dead fish. It seems that areas on the gulf shore are experiencing something called “Red Tide” or algal bloom. This algae can produce toxins that can kill fish. This toxin can also cause coughing and itchy eyes in humans. We did experience the coughing, and after a short walk along the shore we decided we’d had enough.
I think Oscar Scherer is a great State Park for our tiny caravan. This was our second time here and if we come again we would probably skip Siesta Key and stick to Venice and Casey Key. And make sure we see a drum circle one night on the beach!
Notes about the campground:
- WiFi at the nature center. (Not sure how good it is though)
- Washer and Dryer at bathhouse
- Bring bug spray!
- Legacy Trail is a must.
- If you have a big rig pay attention to the site sizes and talk with the rangers. Some sites can be tight. State park website says maximum length is 36 feet.
- There are a few pull through sites.
- Walmart is approximately 4 miles away.
Places worth mentioning:
- Casey Key Fish House. Tiki bar and a band the night we were there, but check their hours the bar closed early.
- Sun Garden Cafe Nice lunch spot with outside patio dining.
Let us know what information you would like to see in future campground posts!