Nestled among Osprey's major highways and housing developments is a hidden oasis where you and your pooch can experience the pawmazing beauty of natural Florida. Spanning nearly 1,400 acres, the Oscar Scherer State Park offers a myriad of recreational opportunities that both two- and four-legged visitors can enjoy. In addition to providing a refreshing respite for urban dwellers, the park serves as an important habitat for the imperiled Florida scrub-jay, which can only be found in Florida.
Athletic pups will have a barking good time hitting the trails at the Oscar Scherer State Park. There are over 15 miles of marked hiking trails waiting to be explored—these paths weave through scrubby flatwoods, hardwood hammocks, and mesic pine flatwoods, and provide several opportunities to view wildlife. Aside from Florida scrub-jays, you and Fido may encounter eastern cottontail rabbits, gopher tortoises, white-tailed deer, bald eagles, and bobcats. Numbered benches are scattered along the routes, so you can rest your feet and paws anytime. The numbers on the benches correspond with numbers on the trail map, allowing you to determine your exact location. You'll also find the ranger station phone number written on the benches. Remember to grab a trail map and animal list when entering the park.
Other activities that you can enjoy with your pup are geocaching, picnicking, and camping. Oscar Scherer offers more than a hundred fully equipped tent and RV campsites, but note that those along the creek are not pet-friendly due to their proximity to the water and the alligator population. Other areas that are off-limits to Fido are the playground, swimming beach, lake, and restroom facilities. Doggos are welcome anywhere else as long as they are well-behaved, kept on a 6-foot leash, and cleaned up after.
For a woofderful nature outing in southwest Florida, look no further than the Oscar Scherer State Park!