With summer quickly approaching in the Sunshine State, our short-lived camping days are coming to a close. Wanting to squeeze in one more camping trip before the heat hits us, we pitched our tent at Oscar Scherer in Osprey, FL for a few days over Spring Break.
Although we knew we wanted to go camping over Spring Break, we booked this trip last minute. Finding a park to meet our criteria was no easy task. The perfect campground for us needed to offer a playground close to our campsite, clean restroom facilities relatively close to our campsite, hiking trails and water activities such as canoeing and swimming.
Since many websites have claimed Oscaer Scherer to be a great family campground, I’ve had my eye on Oscar for some time. Then, a few weeks ago, the St. Petersburg Times listed it as one of “Florida’s best family-friendly campgrounds”. After camping at Oscar Scherer for a couple of nights over Spring Break, I would agree with the St. Pete Times declaration.
With an abundance Sabal Palms, Saw Palmettos and mangroves, the landscape certainly contained more subtropical foliage than the northern Florida parks we usually camp it, however, Oscar Scherer is still beautiful in its own right. Once a ranch for turpentine from the Slash Pines, the Scrubby Flatwoods now serve as a protected home to a wide variety of birds and other wildlife. Cardinals and Scrub Jays frequently visited our campsite. While canoeing, we watched a hungry Pileated Woodpecker tear into a tree to find his lunch. Also in from our canoe, we spotted an Osprey and a Blue Heron.
The park offers several trails and a hands-on educational nature center, which are in close proximity to the campground. Lake Osprey, a beach-like swimming spot, is a short walking distance to the campground, although the weather was too cold for us to test the waters.
Several wooded campsites follow the brackish river that flows through the park. Thankfully, the abundance of Saw Palmettos created a safety barrier for my curious children.
The palmettos also served as partitions between sites. Some may find the campsites a bit narrow, but our 11’x11′ tent fit quite comfortably on our little site with room to spare.
Even though our campsite was only a few short steps to the playground, we discovered two other playgrounds during our little excursions. While hiking, we encountered a Mourning Dove and many caterpillars.
We also stumbled upon the remains of an old railroad line that now serves as The Legacy Trail (Rails to Trails) in Sarasota County. These tracks once carried the Ringling Circus.
Perfect weather and ideal campgrounds made for a wonderful camping trip. Oscar Scherer can certainly wear the title as a family-friendly campground. I enjoyed our stay there so much that I’m already planning a return camping trip!