Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde
Categories: State Parks, Nature & Parks
Spread over five islands connected by bridges and causeways, Fort De Soto Park has pearl-white beaches, green surroundings, and a fort with a small museum. Go swimming, canoeing, hiking, cycling, or simply rest. Dip your feet in the water or try fishing at the two piers, where you can also buy fishing supplies. A snack bar is at the fort. You can camp in the park, which attracts more than 2.7 million visitors annually. With our online itinerary creator, Tierra Verde attractions like Fort De Soto Park can be center stage of your vacation plans, and you can find out about other attractions like it, unlike it, near it, and miles away.
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One of my most favorite places on the Gulf! Educational with tons to see and some beautiful beaches to relax on. Pack a bag and plan to spend all day just because.
Had a wonderful day at the beach with all of my friends. Lots of pristine beaches with loads of shells. There is a great sandbar that you can walk on and collect shells. There are loads of sand dollar... read more »
We (wife, sister-in-lawand I) went for a day while in Tampa. I wanted to get a run in and they wanted the beach. We both got what we wanted plus some history. We did hit a bad time with it being a "re... read more »
Beautiful clear water. I love walking on the North Beach. Sorry to see all the large trees (Australian pines)gone. Used to be great to have shaded picnic tables so close to the beach. Love visiting both the Gulf pier and the Bay pier. You can often see porpoises having fun in the water. Good place to get great pictures. Lots of interesting people to watch. The Gulf pier has 6 small pavillions providing shade, bring your own chairs.
It was horrible. I will never come back. The park ranger would sit there and watch us with binoculars. And waited till I came out of the water alone and accused us of having inappropriate conduct. Which was not correct at all he was holding me so I would get pulled away with the current. I feel very very disrespected. It was uncalled for. He had no right at all to do that.
Ft Desoto is a great park. Fun times, fishing is wonderful along the shoreline or piers. The boat dock area has over 15 ramps for launch. The campground is wonderful. A destination for Snowbirds in the winter months. Scenic vistas from many of the camp sites. Reserve sites in advance for best selection and availability. Park staff are friendly and helpful. Volunteer campground hosts are also helpful, and perform a great service maintaining the sites and restrooms.
Gorgeous water, relatively clean and trash free sand, unless it's a holiday weekend. Decent lifeguard and police coverage to keep it a little more family friendly than party central. It's low key and huge. From end to end there's a ton of parking and beach space and lots for people to do from fishing, boating, relaxing on the beach, cooking out at a pavilion, swimming or touring the fort. There are a ton of shells, more sand dollars than I've ever seen anywhere else and those crazy looking sea slugs. It does kind of bum me out to see people taking live sand dollars out of the water by the bucket full but it doesn't seem to be frowned upon by any authorities there or whatever you want to call them. All in all, it's a really nice place. Oh also it's got decent campsite style bathrooms. No showers but decent family sized restrooms.
In spite of a HUGE, long beach, and tons of parking, Ft Desoto Park gets packed on the weekends. Our last visit in early June followed this rule. Luckily, our group had reserved a large Pavillion with a grill, but parking was still a challenge as we were near the pier. Also, pavillions are not always well-marked. I think we paid $5 for our van to enter the park. The bathroom facilities are very clean & well-stocked, even late in the day. Keep in mind, though, that they are not air-conditioned. The beach is fairly narrow (not too much sand to walk through to get into the water), but it's very long so you can find areas less crowded than others. Be careful in the water - lots of sealife including starfish, crabs, jellyfish & other marine creatures. The water is fantastic, though, and the sand is powder fine. The park itself offers lots of picnic tables and trees for shade, so reserving a shelter isn't necessary for a smaller group.
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