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“Excellent Private Trip”

Egmont Key State Park
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Private Snorkeling to Egmont, Outback, and Shell Key Islands
Ranked #1,201 of 5,351 things to do in Florida
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Visitors to this island can visit its great beaches and explore the ruins of Fort Dade, a Civil War fort.
Reviewed June 18, 2013

Egmont Key is one of the jewels around the Florida coast so why not take a private trip where you get the most out of it. You can dive in the sunken ruins with your captain as he show's you the way and the amazing creatures under the sea. Watch as your captain brings up sea urchins and starfish and other animals for you to see right in front of your eyes. Done snorkeling? no problem just tell the captain and he will drop you off right at the forts and the lighthouse where you can roam the island in search of cool shells, gopher tortoises, and rich history of the civil, spanish, and american war forts. The best part about it is the captain is with you the whole time in case of emergency or just for company. The boat is a private trip with only 6 people or you can take two boats that hold up to 12. Great people, Great boats, and Great prices definitely check out CoastLine Dolphin & Snorkeling Excursions in Holmes Beach, Fl. 34217 941-201-8429

3  Thank CoastLine_Excursions
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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133 - 137 of 163 reviews

Reviewed June 14, 2013

rough fairy ride out to the island. Once you are there, there is a lighthouse and an average beach. There is a minimal park ranger outpost with a portolet under lock and key (only for park ranger use). So hold it or pee in the woods if this is a concern. There is the old fort from which you really cannot get a good view because the ocean side is blocked off. There are brick paths with some scenic ruins of old Spanish-American relics.

3  Thank Todd T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2013 via mobile

This was a long boat ride but we saw dolphins, a manatee, numerous sand dollars and a sand dollar. There are lots of birds on the island. The lighthouse was neat.

2  Thank LWill2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2013

Why would you come to Florida and not want to visit a beautiful beach, shelling, and a lighthouse, along with the ruins of a fort...it was a beautiful day. We did not encounter any bugs. Sun is stronger than you think. Boat captain took us out for dolphin viewing on the way back to the dock.

2  Thank TheLongLongTrailer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2013

Egmont Key is at the southern end of Tampa Bay. It is accessible only by private boat or the ferry. It is home to a bird sanctuary and wildlife refuge while the northern end is where the ruins of the Spanish American War Era Fort Dade remain along with the 1848 Lighthouse. Near the center of this 1 ½ mile long island are abandoned brick-covered streets (from the 300 residents living here in 1903-1923) and a civil war cemetery that should not be missed. Make sure you read about the resident’s life span or dates on the 2 memorial plaques (in addition to their cause of death) that are interred here and try to imagine their harsh life on this remote spot!

We reserved with Hubbard’s Marina one day in advance during the off-season. It is approximately 30 minutes each way and depending on what time of year it is, the ferry schedule will vary. We found the Captain and one crew member to be polite and safety conscious. They sell water and soda (no alcoholic beverages are allowed on Egmont Key Island) plus some snacks and a boxed lunch. We brought along our own cooler as many others did on the ferry. While we waited for the 10 a.m. departure on the pier, 3 sting rays swam by.

On our return trip from Egmont Key to the parking lot at Fort DeSoto State Park, the Captain slowed down/stopped the ferry for the guests to enjoy seeing dolphins and turtles in the water. They also offer optional snorkeling for an extra fee of $15 per person. We snorkeled on our own off a beach in front of one of the old artillery placements on the Northeast tip of the island. If you snorkel in this area, watch out for strong under currents.

Several tips are essential for maximum enjoyment-

Plan & Think About What You Need – When the brochures or websites say no water, no food or no restrooms anywhere on Egmont Key Island – believe them. The sun is strong and drinking water is crucial for your trip. Take more than you think you will need and trust you will get hungry with plenty of places to explore. If you spend the least amount of time on island, you will still probably be away for 4 hours in blazing sun and temperatures that can soar. We discovered plenty of shady spots on the island plus Hubbard’s Ferry had covered areas to sit, too.

You Can Walk As Little Or As Much As You Like – The closest swimming beach is ¼ of one mile from Hubbard’s Ferry Drop (and only a tiny portion of that is paved), so make sure you have some type of footwear to trek through lots of sand. Also, be prepared to carry whatever you brought. A backpack may be a better bet than dragging something on wheels through deep sand. Wherever you hike off to, realize you have to be able to make it back to the ferry in plenty of time, too. They run on schedule!

There Are Paths All Over The Island – We had read that it is easy to explore and this is true. Some have worried they might get lost, but you’d have to work at that. While the island is 1 ½ miles long, it is pretty narrow so as long as you keep the lighthouse at the north and the sanctuary toward the south – you will find plenty of paths that others have taken! Some will take you to beautiful nearly “private” beaches.

The Last Tip Is Leave The Island In Its Pristine Condition – If you create trash, make sure you have somewhere to stow it during your visit and take it back onto the ferry or boat with you. We saw zero trash receptacles on Egmont Key Island. It is amazingly trash-free so keep it that way. One of the signs states leave only footprints behind. Also, the island is home to threatened and endangered species including gopher tortoises, box turtles. Look, but do not touch and respect their home. You are a visitor to Egmont Key Island and they were here long before you.

The line of traffic into Fort Desoto State Park can be endless. We recommend going earlier rather than later in the day. Allow more time than you think you will need plus have $5 Cash available when you enter the park plus Hubbard’s Ferry was $20 per adult with gratuities for the Captain/Crew most welcome. We traveled from Manatee County so we also had several small fares with our Sunpass. This was our first visit, but certainly not our last since it was such a pleasurable visit using the tips above.

12  Thank JeffnEdie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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