Fort De Soto Park - Orlando / Florida Guide
Florida Guide > State Parks
For those of you who want a break from the Parks I think will you enjoy Fort De Soto Park which is a large park in Pinellas County with over 1, 100 acres of recreational facilities and beautiful beaches. It is about an hour and a half from Orlando and is made up of several interconnected islands located on the southern-most tip south of St. Pete Beach and St. Petersburg.
During the early 1900s the islands served as a fort after which the park is named. Fort De Soto and nearby Fort Dade on Egmont Key, protected the entrance to Tampa Bay from military invasions. You can still see several of the large mortars and cannons.
From the south pier (Tampa Bay side), a ferry service is available to go over to Egmont Key which sits at the mouth of Tampa Bay. This is a beautiful natural island and here you can have a picnic or wander around the remnants of Fort Dade.
These days Fort De Soto is for playing and relaxing. Here there is so much to do; you can enjoy the beaches, fish, picnic, kayak, cycle, camp or swim.
A few years ago it was named North America' s best beach by ' Dr. Beach' All around there are beautiful white sandy beaches and you will find many picnic areas with up to date facilities. There are group picnic shelters as well as hundreds of picnic tables at various sites throughout the park.
In separate parts of the Park there are two fishing and strolling piers. The smaller of the two can be found on the southern part of the island on Tampa Bay. The other is to the west facing the Gulf. These piers are ideal if you want to fish or just want a leisurely stroll, light refreshments are available on both.
There is a 7 mile paved recreation trail for those wanting to cycle, roller blade, walk or jog. The trail goes from one end of the Park to the other and you can rent bicycles and various pedal-power vehicles.
If you are interested in bird watching there are several nature trails which are very popular with bird watchers.
For canoe or kayak enthusiasts there is a two mile trail on the opposite side to the beaches, canoes and kayaks can also be rented here.
For those lucky enough to have a boat there are plenty of boat ramps but even with its large capacity it can fill to capacity in busy periods.
Guest who recently stayed at our villa told us they made a couple of trips to Fort De Soto Park and thoroughly enjoyed it so it is on our “Must Do” list for our next visit.
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