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Saxon Lake is the go-to spot for water skiing in Florida. Although Land O Lakes in Pascoe County holds over a hundred lakes, most are small - too small for the sport - and nearly all are privately held. That's what makes Saxon Lake in Florida's West Central Region so attractive to water ski aficionados. Saxon Lake is also a private lake; access is restricted to residents of the subdivisions surrounding Lake Padgett Estates.
The natural lakes in Central Pascoe County have been inhabited for millennia. Exactly which tribes of Native Americans lived here is unclear but archeological evidence shows human habitation as early as 9000 BC. In the early 1700's, southern Creek Indians known as Seminoles moved into the area. They were later joined by groups of escaped slaves and remained until the early nineteenth century when they were forcibly removed to Oklahoma or driven south to the Everglades. The original plat maps for Pasco from 1849, were compiled in part from the surveying of one of George Washington's grand-nephews. Once European settlers learned of the semi-tropical climate and plentiful water resources, growth of settlements was a given. It wasnt until the 1900s that tourism became a growing industry and by mid-century, housing developments were created to entice northerners tired of snow and cold to warm and sunny Florida. Saxon Lake became one of three lakes in the newly developed Lake Padgett Estates development in the 1960s.
Saxon Lake joined Lake Padgett and East Lake, along with a few small, un-named ponds as the centerpiece of a large development on Land O Lakes, about 20 miles north of Tampa Bay. Although what was once over 20 subdivisions has been consolidated into three main developments,affiliated homeowners in the three developments all have access to all of the lakes. Not only lake access was the main drawing card of this particular development however; Lake Padgett Estates is one of the few developments to actively cater to equestrians. The Lake Padgett Estates management maintains a stable and bridal paths along with five lakeshore park areas for residents!
Although Saxon Lake is a natural lake, it appears that early development made some modifications to the shoreline. A series of drainage canals connect the three lakes with Bell, King and Joyce Lakes as well as each other. Most canals are little more than drainage ditch, partially tiled and underground. Saxon Lake, however, has several large canals which are suitable for navigation and contain highly sought-after waterfront homes with private docks. The 81-acre lake is long and narrow and is usually called the "ski lake" by residents. There are no water control structures on any of the lakes and the water level remain remarkably stable. Overflow exits the complex from Lake Padgett through a culvert to a series of wetlands and lakes and eventually, Culver Creek. Thus, Saxon Lake water ends up in Tampa Bay.
All types of water sports are welcome at Saxon Lake. It is heavily used by power boaters, jet skis, water skiers and tubing enthusiasts, but sail boats and wake boarders are welcome.As with most 'community' lakes, pontoon boats are common. The lake is stocked regularly and fishing is popular year round with common species such as largemouth bass, bluegill,black crappie and catfish caught. Access to non-frontage residents is easy, with five parks maintained by the management board, one on Saxon Lake. The parks collectively hold tennis courts, a pool, clubhouse community center, basketball courts, huts with grills and, of course the stable where residents may board their horses. Land O Lakes contains three major shopping centers and a variety of dining choices along with movie theaters and all essential services.
Saxon Lake is an established lakefront featuring many large oak trees over 30 years old. The large shady lots make this a welcoming home base for commuters to Tampa and New Port Richey. Housing with lake frontage is upscale and spacious, sometimes featuring boat houses and docks. Those wishing for local activities will never find themselves short of ideas. The Gulf and public beach access is only 25 miles away. New Port Richey is a haven for deep-sea fishing and charters can be arranged on a moments notice. Tarpon is a specialty of many local charter captains. Busch Gardens is only about 15 miles away, while the sporting events at Tropicana Field and Raymond James Stadium allow fans to participate from the stands rather than in front of the television. Walt Disney World is only a 90 minute drive from Land O' Lakes. Other nearby attractions include Adventure Island, the Florida Aquarium, and Lowry Park Zoo.
West Central Florida is a nature-lover's paradise. Less than 30 miles from Saxon Lake, one can explore Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, a protected four miles of pristine coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. Besides the alligators, gopher tortoises and West Indian manatees that call the park home, birdwatchers can enjoy sighting raptors, wading birds, shore birds, and migratory songbirds. East of New Port Richey, Starkey Wilderness Park holds 8000 acres for hiking, mountain biking, fishing and camping. To the north, 3000 acres of Conner Preserve has just opened to the public recently for hiking and nature observation. And 50 miles to the east, Green Swamp offers fishing, hunting and nature observation in one of Florida's most unique and important eco-systems.
Vacation rentals can be found by the night, week or month among the private residences along Saxon Lake's shoreline. Other lodgings are available in Land Lakes and most of the smaller towns in the area. And, of course, Tampa and New Port Richey hold the usual hotels, motels and Mom-and-Pop resort facilities along with a few unique bed-and-breakfast establishments. Real estate listings are common, many with waterfront, as executives move to other areas with their work. So, plan to spend some time checking out your newest favorite ski lake. Before you know it, you could be calling Lake Saxon home!
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