We found Oscar Scherer State Park almost directly across the street from Bentley’s Boutique Hotel in Osprey. We’d seen the signs on previous visits, but hadn’t had the time to visit. It was not our first Florida state park. In the past, we explored Highlands Hammock State Park – a sprawling facility in Highlands County.
However, at almost 1400 acres Oscar Sherer State Park is much more compact. This was great for us. We could access their features more quickly. And our walk around Lake Osprey was easy and fun.
Like other parks we have visited, the rangers were quick to hand us a fistful of brochures about different opportunities for fun.
The Trip In
We first arrived at the ranger station, paid our fees, and received a brace of documents telling us about the park. Among the brochures were a checklist of birds we might (or might not) see, an outline of the nearly dozen trails we could hike and a general brochure about the park (complete with map).
So we looked for a place to park for a minute and do a bit of research. Quickly we located a parking lot. It turned out to be the South Creek Picnic Area. There we found a playground, pavilions, the early stages of the Lester Findley Hiking trail, a kayak and canoe launch and of course, picnic facilities.
We decided to take a stroll and look around for a while. Sadly, we saw a lot of signs saying that due to the Covid, the park was not renting watercraft. However, had we wanted to paddle down the South Creek, there was a private company who would have rented us a kayak, canoe or paddle board.
After walking around a bit, we headed back to the car and drove up the road to see what else we might discover.
As we traveled up the main road, we got a glimpse of beautiful Lake Osprey. We soon located the designsted parking lot and pulled in for a better look.
Here we found a playground, picnic facilities a beach for swimming and a visitor’s center. Sadly, again, the visitor’s center was closed due to the Covid situation. However, we were delighted to find a wonderful little hiking trail that circumnavigated the lake.
It was more of a stroll than a hike as we walked the third-mile trail. Signs encouraged us to look for different kinds of birds and to beware of alligators. In the end we really didn’t see much wildlife (both sadly and happily). However, we had a great walk and some wonderful views of the lake.
Our Next Visit
We really didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy as much of Oscar Scherer as we would have liked. We vowed to come back again and perhaps do a picnic. Their facilities are quite nice. In addition to the lake, there are nearly a dozen walking trails – ranging from the short trek around Lake Osprey to the five mile long “Yellow Trail,” that goes through everything from Hardwood Hammocks to Pine Flatwoods.
We also hope to see more wildlife next time. Although we saw one little turtle, the brochures promise that the place is abundant with birds. In addition to the imperiled Scrub Jays, there usually are lots of heron, swifts, woodpeckers, kingfishers and even storks and warblers.
We can recommend this little place. Our advice is bring a picnic lunch, some comfortable walking shoes and be ready to take some photos of this picturesque little getaway.