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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Exploring the Natural Beauty of Fort De Soto Park, Florida

Fort De Soto Park is a hidden gem located at the southern tip of Pinellas County, Florida. With its stunning beaches, natural habitats, and rich history, it’s a must-visit destination for nature lovers and history buffs alike.

The park gets its name from Fort De Soto, a military fort built in the late 1800s to protect Tampa Bay from potential invaders. The fort played a significant role in both the Spanish-American War and World War II before being decommissioned in the 1940s. Today, visitors can explore the remains of the fort, including the gun batteries and officers’ quarters.

The park is home to three miles of pristine, white-sand beaches. Whether you’re looking to swim, sunbathe, or take a stroll along the shore, Fort De Soto’s beaches offer something for everyone. North Beach, located near the fort, is a popular spot for families and has a playground, snack bar, and kayak rentals. East Beach is a great place to go shelling, and it’s also dog-friendly, with a designated area where pets can run and play off-leash. Finally, there’s the secluded, tranquil beach at the southern end of the park, known as Fort De Soto Beach. This beach is popular among locals and is a great place to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Fort De Soto Park is also home to a variety of natural habitats, including mangrove swamps, salt marshes, and seagrass beds. These habitats provide important breeding and feeding grounds for a diverse array of wildlife, including manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, and shorebirds. The park offers several nature trails and birding opportunities, including the Arrowhead Nature Trail, which winds through a coastal hammock and offers views of the Gulf of Mexico.

For those looking to extend their stay, Fort De Soto Park offers camping options. The park has 238 campsites with electric and water hookups, as well as several primitive camping areas. The campsites are located in a wooded area and are just a short walk from the beach.

Fort De Soto Park is a treasure trove of natural beauty, history, and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the park’s natural habitats, or learn about its rich history, there’s something for everyone at Fort De Soto. So next time you’re in Florida, be sure to add Fort De Soto Park to your list of must-visit destinations.

A $5 parking fee is collected at the entrance station approximately one mile into the park.

Address: 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, St. Petersburg, FL 3371

Enjoy Your Visit!


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