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Florida Beaches Guide - Fort De Soto Park

Beach 411 ~ Fort De Soto Park beaches

St. Petersburg area, Gulf Coast (Central)

  • Beach type: family-oriented, quiet, county park.
  • Beach geography: over 7 miles of beachfront with ultra-fine, soft powdery white sand, long walkable shorelines in a natural setting.
  • Ease of access: modest – Fort De Soto beaches are 7 miles from the highway to park entrance offering a seclusion and quiet, family beach enjoyment.
  • Extra costs: $5 entry per vehicle & $0.75 Bridge toll
  • Beach amenities: lots of parking, rest rooms, picnic shelters, playgrounds, food concessions at 2 locations, lifeguards seasonally, camping on site, boat launch facility, kayak and bike rentals, fishing from large piers, historic fort to explore, multi-purpose trails, designated dog-friendly beach
  • Special note: Ferry service to pristine Egmont Key is available ($20 round trip) with snorkeling, exploring Fort Dade and very secluded beach relaxation.
  • Geo-locator: Where is Fort De Soto Park?

Fort De Soto North Beach

A beach for family relaxation

What happens when you find a beach that inter-connects you to 5 sweet islands and more than 1,000 acres of blissfully calm, clear, water? Want to squirrel your toes in soft, powdery white sand, take a walk along sandy natural shorelines, or ferry over to pristine Egmont Key for ultra-secluded sun-seeking? Be still our hearts …

Fort DeSoto Park boasts more than 7 miles of soft-sanded waterfront, and is a goldmine for history buffs who want to balance their sunbathing with learning. Take a walking tour Fort De Soto Park, see the remnants of a 19th century Fort and its artillery (including rifles mounted to the base of the fort). Well suited to family fun, whether you're going for the beach, recreating history or just taking a day trip to visit untouched parkland, Fort DeSoto is an amazing choice.

Fort De Soto activities & attractions

This natural environment leads well to family time exploring the natural environment of the water and land as well as the historic forts in and around these islands.

  • Nature enthusiasts can swim, bike, hike, fish, canoe and kayak. Trek through the nature trails into the Soldiers Hole; an area that has a great view of the native fauna and flora. Want to swim with the sand dollars and urchins? Get your snorkeling gear on and get up close and personal with sea life.
  • ruins part of old Fort De SotoIf you love history, visit the fort and discover a day in the life of a soldier. The fort was built in 1898 and still has remnants of the artillery used in the wars. Discover Fort De Soto’s old fort, walk through the QuarterMaster Museum and pick up souvenirs at the gift shop. Consider visiting Fort Dade on Egmont Key.
  • Take the Ferry to Egmont Key, have a picnic, walk the quiet shores within this National Wildlife Refuge and stop at historic Fort Dade and the 150-year-old lighthouse. On the ride to the island watch for dolphins, manatees and other sea life and consider a snorkeling adventure to the sunken ruins of Fort Dade.
  • Fish off the Gulf and Bay Piers – 1000’ and 500’ respectively. Bring your own gear, but concessions and bait are available for purchase.  

Fort De Soto & area events

  • Fort De Soto Triathalon series – July, August, September
  • Civil War Reenactment (February): Annual reenactment open to the public of the Civil War
  • Tampa’s Annual Outback Bowl (January): college football

Fort De Soto nightlife

  • fishing from the Gulf pierIf you are camping in the park, your night life is a treat of amazing west-facing sunsets from the beach and after your evening campfire, treat your family to a walk to the beach for a wonderous blanket of stars from horizon to horizon.
  • St. Pete’s beach area (9 miles from the park gates) and St. Petersburg (14 miles) offer a wide range of restaurants, clubs and bars to wrap up your day in the sun.

GoGirlfriend beach hotel recommendations

In the park: Choose from one of over 200 campsites within the park– mixed amenity (hydro, water, RV) sites available with restrooms and camp store close by.

By the sea: Along the St. Pete’s to Pass-a-Grille beaches areas are all brands of major and independent hotels, B&B’s and luxury cottages.

Historical luxury: Nothing trumps the history, Don Cesar - the pink palaceluxury and refinement of the grand pink beachside Don Cesar Hotel. Nearing 100 years old, it’s Great Gatsby era as playground to the pampered rich gave way during WWII as a veteran’s hospital, eventually in the 70’s being restored to it’s pink palace grandeur with world class facilities and luxury. A luxurious fun base to explore the gulf shores beaches by day (being also just steps away from the St. Pete’s beach sands) and return to some evening pampering. Visit the Don Cesar on Facebook and Twitter and read travel reviews on TripAdvisor.

For more hotel recommendations throughout the St. Pete’s Beach area, we recommend visiting Hotels.com or AirBnB.

St. Pete’s Beach weather

beautiful beach conditionsWhile seeking hard to break it’s own 1967 Guinness World Record for longest consecutive days of sunshine (768 days – Wow!), clearly this is a sunny place to visit, so pack your sunscreen! Late spring and summer offers light breezes with the growing heat, and fall and winter temps fluctuate from mild to cool, depending how far north a native you are … this sounds like an ideal place to catch some sunshine and warm temps. Water temperature fluctuates between 62°F (coolest December through March) peaking to 86°F in the heat of July and August.

For more information or help planning your next Florida getaway, visit:

Planning your next Florida beach getaway, visit our other Florida Beaches Guides:

Ever been to the Fort Desoto Park beaches in Florida? We'd love hear what you love about it! Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook – and let's continue the conversation!

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Thanks for all the information. We're on our way to visit Tampa this weekend for the first time. We'll definitely be checking out the Fort De Soto park.

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