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Camping at Oscar Scherer State Park

What the crap!? Why the heck didn’t I have the foresight to call ahead? That’s what I was thinking when the ranger at Myakka State Park told us they did not have any more room for tent camping.

Yup, my wife and I even talked about it before leaving the apartment, all our gear packed away in the car, ready to go. I didn’t even think twice. I told her there was no way they’d be out of sites…I was sorely wrong. We drove an hour and a half just to be turned away.

So after several minutes of berating my idiocy, we figured out where the next closest state park was. It turned out to be Oscar Scherer, which neither of us have ever heard of or done any research on. I was a little nervous as not all of the 160 Florida state parks are of the same quality, but we came this far…what’s another 30 minute drive?

As I said, I was nervous, but the feeling was soon allayed as we picked out a cute little campsite adjacent from the bathroom and the playground (two things that are of upmost importance when camping with a 2-year old) and was next to the bridge that provided access to the property’s lake.

After getting settled in we had a great time. A small creek ran along the backside of our campsite, which my son enjoyed throwing rocks into. The lake had a manmade beach attached to it which we took advantage of. A turtle was swimming around in the water and was not shy. I figure he has received many free human snacks throughout his days.

My only complaint, which isn’t purely an Oscar Scherer State Park complaint (but of which it is still guilty of), is that Florida doesn’t seem to know what constitutes a hiking trail. I’m an avid hiker, so when I see all these fun little trails crisscrossing a map; I go bananas with an inexplicable desire to try them all, and so many times I end up sorely disappointed. News flash Florida: A sandy service road is not a hiking trail. It is in fact a service road. Please adjust your maps accordingly.

There, now that my rant is done, check out some of these beautiful pictures from the park.

os bird

Here’s a Florida Scrub-Jay which is classified as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. It lives in Florida’s rare oak scrub which is under constant threat of development. Oscar Scherer State Park is a wilderness oasis surrounded by city and home developments. In the visitor’s center are some very interesting aerial photographs taken of the area throughout the decades. The rate of change and development is mind-numbing. Photo by Matthew Paulson.

os slash pine

Slash Pine at Sunrise. Photo by Homer Edward Price.

os lake

Sunset in the Florida scrub over the lake. Across the way one can see the beach and swimming area. Photo by Lawrence Lazare.

As an added bonus Oscar Scherer is very close to the Gulf Coast beaches. For more info on the park, check out the official Florida state park website.

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