We are state park campers. If you read our posts from last summer and fall, you are very aware of that. However, we have never camped in a state park outside of the upper midwest. So when we planned this trip, we decided to make reservations to stay at Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, Florida, just north of Venice, to see another state park campground. We were not disappointed. We had a private camping spot with lots of vegetation,
with a beautiful, old pine tree right by our camper.
Paul loves his pine trees.
I loved the privacy.
And, something always important to Suzanne when we took our kids camping, there was a very clean bathroom and shower facility, not far from us.
The park has a nature center with free wi-fi and each afternoon musicians would set up in the screened area there and play for a couple of hours. That was unique!
There was a little lake with a swimming beach. However, with the alligator warning, I don't see it as a spot to bring your kids.
We took advantage of the hiking trails in the park. OSSP is known for its scrub jay population. There are only 52 of these birds in this area and we saw at least 6 of them out on the trail. The park is working to improve the habitat to support this small population. These are the only scrub jays in the eastern United States. The rest of them are in the southwest and the loss of habitat between the two locales has stranded these poor guys. Bummer for them to be situated in beautiful Florida!
The plant life made the hiking a real treat for us.
We, of course, had to seek out a local seafood market so we could grill outside in this fantastic weather. This was a meal of scamp and shrimp.
We also had a great spaghetti dinner at Beth and Gary's house the second night we were here in Venice. We forgot the camera that night, but brought it the morning we went to the beach and stopped at their house. Isn't their lanai a beautiful spot? They have such a nice home in Venice.
The four of us spent Saturday afternoon at Casperson Beach. What a great spot.
Didn't I tell you Paul was good at retirement? He is actually posing for the camera here. He spent the rest of the time at the beach sifting for shark's teeth. I, as usual, was under the shade of an umbrella.
Speaking of beautiful homes, that night we went to Kent and Margie's for dinner. Margie was so dear and kept up Christmas until we got there so we could get a chance to see their decorations!
They have a wonderful new outdoor kitchen and so Kent grilled steak. Absolutely fantastic!!! We sat and visited and laughed for hours out on their lanai that evening. We got back to the state park very late.
The next morning, the campground hosts, who were our next door neighbors, alerted us to a bald eagle in the dead tree at the back of our campsite. We watched him (or her) for about 20 minutes.
We spent two hours on Sunday afternoon in a canoe out on South Creek, which runs through Oscar Scherer State Park. Our campsite was right along this creek, but you couldn't see it because of the vegetation.
It was one of the most beautiful canoe rides I have ever taken.
The sun through the moss on the trees was so stunning. It is so hard to capture the scene on camera properly.
There were hundreds of mullets swimming in the creek. They jump right out of the water, so it was pretty fun to watch them. I am sure we saw at least 300 fish while we were out there.
There were also lots of oyster beds in the creek. In fact, you can't take a canoe or kayak out during low tide because it exposes the oyster beds in the middle of the creekbed. We had never been so close to oyster beds before so found them quite interesting.
We are experiencing the local flavor as much as possible.
Last Monday we moved to a new park. This afternoon, Paul will golf with Kent, Marge and Gary at Pelican Pointe. Tomorrow we all are going to experience the banjos out here at Snook's Haven, some sort of notorious local watering hole by our campground. We will keep you posted as we get out there and enjoy. All I can say right now is that we like Venice very, very much...........