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“great natural wildlife” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Fort De Soto Park

Fort De Soto Park
Palma Del Mar, St. Petersburg, FL
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$325*
and up
Ultimate Tampa Bay and Fort De Soto Helicopter...
Type: Parks, Outdoors
Attraction details
Comstock Park, Michigan
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“great natural wildlife”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

It has a wonderful beach to the right of the fort, another one on far left end of road and great views of Skyway bridge (Sunshine bridge). There is fishing, camping and picnic area also.

Visited March 2013
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Winter Haven, Florida
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Excellent way to spend the day”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

I LIVE in Florida and we go to Fort Desoto often. Visit the north beach. The water is usually amazingly clear for this area in Florida. Stay away from the piers as the water stays stirred up and murky. The Fort is fun to check out and is excellent exercise. The views are great on this island. As with the entire gulf coast make sure you shuffle your feet in the sands to bump the sting rays out of the way. It is hilarious to watch vacationers squeal when a ray flaps by their feet but if you know what is touching you it's no biggie. They don't bite and don't sting unless you step down pretty hard on them. They do absolutely nothing but move if you shuffle your feet and bump them out of the way. There is plenty of covered picnic areas and bathrooms. Plenty of outside showers to wash off the salt and sand. It is a very nice and well kept park.

Visited April 2013
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Peterborough, Canada
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“birds visiting for breakfast, and dolphins in the channel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

Back again to Fort DeSoto - one of our favourite places in Florida. This year was a little more challenging weather wise with record cold temperatures, one and a half days of rain, and winds that flattened one tent and lifted the front of second right up off the ground (requiring lassooing and tethering to the palms!). One of the risks of getting a west facing waterfront site. But I would still do it again. There are some sites that are more sheltered but without the same view of the water The beauty of Fort De Soto park is best appreciated from one of these west-facing sites and I guess you just need to be prepared for challenges. We are now considering the purchase of a pop-up tent trailer which would make the above conditions more manageable. But weather apart, this is a great place to spend a couple of weeks (maximum length of stay is 14 days). It is not cheap, mind you, and you could probably rent a condo in nearby Gulfport for the same price. We just really liked waking up each morning with the waterfront right there. We took our kayaks and our bicycles and it is fabulous for both activities. The north beach has been rated as one of the best beaches in North America and this year was just warm enough to swim in. The Gulf Pier beach is perfect for morning walks and shelling, and if you are a kite surfer(?) then the east beach is where you want to be. There is a fishing pier which is always a fun place to be, and you can frequently see dolphin and sting rays close to the beach. Sadly the manatees are not doing well at the moment and are apparently dying as a result of bacteria from the red tide so we didn't see any this year when kayaking through the bayou. Camp washrooms are adequate although there is not a lot of room to move in the ante-room for the shower and I am not a big person! There is wifi at the camp store and at the camp office. A note to those interested in booking - this is a Pinellas County park and preference is given to Pinellas county residents. They can book a site 7 months in advance - the rest of us have to wait until 6 months. And with the premiere waterfront sites you literally have to be ready to book on line at midnight on the dot to get a preferred site during the peak season of January - April. If you are just visiting the park for the day there is now a $5.00 per vehicle charge. We have returned home to cold weather and possibility of snow and I miss Fort DeSoto already.

Visited March 2013
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Brooksville, Florida
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Fun in the Sun”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Excellent beach, I went there when I was in college in the 60's and it is just as much fun now! Don't miss the Fort.

Visited June 2012
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Tampa, Florida
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Still on the Wild Side and Old Florida”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Do not go here if you want lots of people around you and close restrooms. But the water is pristine and the restrooms are a little walk away. The only negative I would say is if you forgot food and drinks the snack bar is a terrible venue. The people who run it have no clue. The County needs to get a new vendor. Bring your own drinks in a cooler and a sandwich.

Visited April 2013
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