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Oscar Scherer State Park, six miles (10 km) north of Venice along the Tamiami Trail (US 41; map), comes as a surprise: a dense tropical forest amidst the urban sprawl of an ever-developing Gulf Coast.

With 15 miles (24 km) of trails for walking, running, hiking, bicycling, roller blading, bird watching, and water for fishing, paddling, swimming and snorkeling, plus a simple (primitive) campground, it's a welcome getaway from traffic and crowds.

Come for the forest, the trails, the beach, the canoe and kayak launch, and to get a glimpse of Florida scrub jays, ospreys, and even—if you're lucky—bald eagles.

The simple campground has picnic tables, showers, laundry facilities, and hookups for RVs.

Oscar Scherer State Park

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Oscar Scherer State Park, Florida

A verdant path in Oscar Scherer State Park.