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We stayed for one night in site 83 in the Palmetto Ridge loop. Absolutely loved this site. It’s HUGE - tons of space in this site with privacy from the neighboring sites. And there are full hookups - just note that the sewer is elevated (4-6 inch block) and all the way at the back of the site, so plan to park accordingly if you’re using the sewer or want to dump before you leave. There is also a dump station if you’re at one of the other loops or prefer that over the sewer hookup. As one other review mentioned, you can’t access the trails or sites directly from the two front campground loops. And this park is very large, so plan to ride a bike or drive to the canopy walk (which we didn’t do - was crowded and we’re social distancing), the bird walk (which was a bit disappointing on wildlife, but pretty and most people wore masks and kept their distance), or the boat tours/gift shop (which we didn’t do - distancing). I’ll also mention that the highlight, and it seems others agreed considering it was always crowded with people, was a bridge where there were always alligators and birds. Not sure if the bridge has a name, but you’ll know it by the people standing in the road. The site was nice and quiet and dark enough to see stars. There were armadillos foraging behind the site though, so we had to keep our dog inside after dark. We would absolutely stay here again. Good cell coverage as well for remote work.
We stayed at site 6 for two nights in early February. The park is beautiful and has a great selection of trails. We saw (from a distance) a bald eagle’s nest, as well as two juvenile eagles fighting in flight - both from the trails. My husband also stepped on a snake on the South Creek Nature Trail, so keep your eyes open! The site was nice and private with a little leveling needed. The electric hookup is in its normal spot, but be aware that the water is in the woods on the opposite side (one pedestal feeding two sites). Make sure to bring a longer hose, or park closer to the water than electric. There were armadillos foraging behind the site at night, and a very brave raccoon that didn’t seem to care I was shining my flashlight at him or telling him to get leave (and as anyone knows, where there’s one raccoon…). We had to keep our dog inside after sunset to avoid issues with these site visitors. I’d also recommend to be very careful with leaving food out (this is a good recommendation no matter where you are). We also loved that fellow campers pointed out a pair of screech owls just above our site. We really liked this campground, especially for the trails.
We stayed at Colt Creek for one night at the beginning of February. We were lucky to have a very large site with good separation between neighbors - site 31. Note that you can see the entry road from the back, but this wasn’t a big deal for us since it was just an overnight stay. A lot of the other sites looked closer together with a little less privacy, but all of the sites looked well maintained. The tent sites were some of the best maintained sites I’ve ever seen. Our site was completely level. The trails looked nice, but we unfortunately didn’t have time to explore. One item of note - we had zero cell service (Verizon) which is normally a good thing on vacation, but a bad thing when working remotely. Would definitely stay here again when we’d have time to do trails and not worry about cell service.
This was our first visit to Oscar Scherer State Park, why I’m not sure as we only live a few miles away. I literally drive by it whenever I go to the grocery store or ride my bike on the Legacy Trail. I’ve boated past on the Intercoastal Waterway, paddled past on South Creek and flown over in an airplane countless times.
I guess being Sarasota residents I felt I already knew everything about it. I WAS WAY WRONG. This is a fantastic Florida State Park. I can understand now why it is so popular. The facilities are very good considering how many people visit. And it’s not too polished that it doesn’t have that camping or state park vibe. No Disney here.
The campground is very large even for State Park Standards, over 100 sites. Many are along South Creek with water views although they are no pet sites as maybe there are gator issues.
We camped in site#69, the last pet site before the restricted sites along the creek#70- 90. The sites are quite large and private as the campground is mature with lots of native Florida foliage. We didn’t see any evidence of Raccoons or other campground mooches.
Lots of hiking in this park, if you cycle the Legacy Trail built on an old railway doesn’t offer much contour as it is pretty much a strait shot but runs from Sarasota to Venice and from Venice you can take the Venetian Waterway even further. Soon the Legacy Trail will go all the way to downtown Sarasota.
Finally the best part for visitors to the Sarasota area. You will probably not find a State Park as close to the US#1 Rated Beach Siesta Key, just a few miles or Sarasota and all her arts and culture(15 minutes) including The Ringling Museum, Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, St. Armands Circle, Lido Beach, award-winning restaurants, tiki bars, dinner cruises, and more.
In fact as I write this the US Olympic Rowing Trials are going on at Benderson Park about 15 minutes away, next door to the Apple Store. This is no joke the premier rowing facility in the world. And did I mention if you forgot anything there is a Publix about 1/2 mile front the front gate of the park?
OF NOTE: Of all the state parks we have visited, this had the most unfriendly group of campers we have ever encountered. Surly in fact. It was difficult to extract a return greeting of any type.
Perhaps it’s because this isn’t your normal group of happy wanderers, and those who truly enjoy the outdoors. More like COVID refugees or visitors doing“Florida on the Cheep” who have the time and resources to escape those areas of lockdown.
Our first clue was the amount of “resort wear” being donned in lieu of the normal camping duds and the overall lack of activity inside the park for the amount of campsites during the day. Well the park is smack in the middle of a major resort destination and it is high season. This all left the park less crowded for us.
Whatever the reason I hope the park guests can find some joy after all in the blessings that nature gives us no matter what the situation. Life is short. As the late, great Warren Zevon once said“enjoy every sandwich”.
We came in the beginning of February (8-11th) which seems to be a popular time due to the rarity of available spaces, but we were able to reserve online right after Christmas and got a block for three nights. Good time of year to come - not yet too humid, no bugs at all, warm days. We were pleasantly surprised at how quiet it was in our area. No parties going on or crazy loud families which seem to be our camping destiny of late (people don’t seem to know how to behave when they are camping). Seemed to be a more adult crowd, retirees, couples and friends who enjoy being outside. If you like to fish, kayak, or just hang out on the beach, this is a perfect place to relax. Our site was spacious, deep, and lots of privacy as there was a good amount of foliage between us and the neighbors. One warning, however, we noticed poison ivy in the wooded areas, just beware if you have kids or are susceptible yourself. Gave it four stars instead of five due to that and the outdated bathrooms. They suffice, but have a bad layout. The showers are okay, but there is no private changing area. You step out of the shower into a common changing area. Not much space to put your stuff in the shower. They are cleaned often, but there is no humidity control so it’s always damp and slippery in there. There are two washers and dryers at each bathroom location, $1.75 each and do a good job. If you need quarters, go to the camp store as there are no change machines near the laundry areas. Overall a nice place, easy to get to, not too far from other stuff, great beaches.
This is a beautiful park close to the Tampa area. The campsites are separated into 2 areas. Most are small and open. On our visit, there were NO friendly people here. Some good hikes in the park. There are a few places to launch kayaks and I went from campground up to rapids and back down. Good paddle, lots of birds. Roads are paved in park and its a big circle so great for bike riding. There are large day use areas and a beautiful huge pool. Concessions were closed not sure if seasonal or covid? There is a neat suspension bridge and class 2 rapids along hike. Also a CCC museum (closed). Don't arrive before check in time because you have to wait in day use area until "it's time" for you to check in. Great park but not a great vibe.
Down for a week kinda last minute and he was able to give us a good spot. Decent size spot with stone drive and cement patio. Bathrooms and showers are kept clean. Nice laundry facilities with area to play cards if you wanted. Pool area is nice with shade spots. Friendly people all around campground Bike and walking path is close by Also has trolley that goes different places with a stop close by. Would definitely stay again
This is kind of our go to Florida State Park as we live very close and really enjoy the hiking, biking and paddling the river and lake. We typically book last minute as“In-Season” campsites are often difficult to find. In addition, the lower campground is sometimes flooded out or closed for repairs putting even more pressure on the two campgrounds closer to the main park entrance which is further from the lake and general store.
I may have reviewed this park before but always find different things to share. Their are three main campgrounds:
(1) Old Prairie where we usually stay. This is an older campground with a more rustic, state park vibe. Maybe 20 sites typically hosting smaller trailers, vans and tents etc.
(2) Palmetto Ridge is more more or less across from Old Prairie with a more open and modern looking vibe and where you will see more of your typical RV crowd of Big Rigs and larger trailers
(3) Big Flats is about 3 miles down the road from the entrance close to Lake Myakka where the tour boat, boat ramp, general store etc is found. We have never stayed here as it has been closed for repairs, maintenance and flooding on numerous occasions. Perhaps something to consider if you are booking way in advance.
The reason Myakka is so popular to Florida visitors is it has outstanding beauty, a real Jurassic Park feel but is very near Sarasota with all the beaches, museums, restaurants and activities literally less than 1/2 hour away. Lots of people vacationing Florida on the cheap like to set up home here“in-season” and jump from site to site and stay as long as they can. Summers are much easier to find a site.
We are lucky to live so close. We are here more in the summer and swing seasons. This park makes an excellent 2 or 3 day adventure or a great Basecamp for your Florida vacation. You won’t be disappointed.
NOTE: Some of the public facilities have been closed due to COVID including the “Canopy Walk” which is very cool so you may want to check if that sort of thing interests you.
It is always interesting to me how all the Florida State Parks are a little different as the park manager seems to have some autonomy. Certain parks have public facilities closed like the Canopy Walk here at Myakka but another Florida State Park might have their observation tower open even though the structures are similar. Go figure.