Ft De Soto park is the best place to spend the day when you're in the area. This year they started a $5 entrance fee. Some people complain but its a small price to pay for such a well maintained area. Its good all day, you can come and go - but why would you want to ?
We go to the North beach for shelling, swimming and sunning. We've been there at dawn, sunset and everytime in between. We've been kayaking, rented bikes, toured the fort, watched the board sailers at East Beach and walked the piers. Too much sun ? Tables and grills under the trees. Theres a snack, usual food and plenty of restrooms. And a dog park if you need. When you tire of the boardwalks and strip malls along Gulf Blvd, come here for true relaxation.