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“Had a blast with my young kids”

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Fort de Soto Park Campground
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 31, 2013 via mobile

This place was so much fun. Our 6 and 3 year olds enjoyed the calm waters and gradual entry to the ocean.

Advice. Bring your bug spray and apply before visiting the fort. Mosquito's were not bad but we did come out of the fort with 2 or 3 bites each.

There are ample places to shower off and clean facilities.

We brought a picnic with us and enjoyed the entire day at the beach. They have nice shaded picnic tables as well along with some very new playgrounds.

You can easily make an entire day of your visit.

  • Stayed: May 2013
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2  Thank langman66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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170 - 176 of 228 reviews

Reviewed May 12, 2013

This park is very nice. The campsites were clean, and offered nice tree shade. They also offered a picnic table and grill at each site. Have to either rent or bring your own fire pit, they cost $3.00 a night to rent. Just make sure you bring your own wood if you can, it's expensive. The onsite camp store has all of the essential, including bike rentals. The beach is a short drive away, and its very nice. The fort is just ok, don't set too much time aside to see it. Nice fishing piers that are cool to see even if you don't fish, I saw many people catching fish, someone even brought up a large stingray. Only downfall was the rampant infestation of raccoons. The first night our site was in front of a little swamp area with raccoons all over the trees overhanging the swamp water. The worst part was the screaming sounds they made every so often, never heard anything like it in my life. Next day I had my site changed to a different part because of the noise and it wasn't much better. There was no screaming but a raccoon walked by every ten minutes and this was in the middle of the day. I could see one maybe two, but it seemed there were 10-15 of them. Luckily we kept our campsite clean so they didn't get into any food, but it sucks having to keep the cooler in the car in fear that they will get into it. Minus the raccoons it is a very nice place to camp.

Room Tip: Water front is best.
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Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
5  Thank Kevin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 6, 2013

Camped at site 13---beautiful spot, close to the water and bath house. All sites seemed very clean. You can use google earth to see which water-side sites have beach and which have trees along the shore. The campsite itself is one of the best I have ever seen.

However, I have found, over the years, that the worst part of camping is other human beings. So...be warned, the sites are VERY close together. Kids crying, hillbillies shouting at the young'uns, whatever...you will hear it. Curfew is 10 pm, but no park staff are present then, so if your neighbor is inconsiderate you can confront them or put up with it. As luck would have it, an AA group descends on the camp every year during the last week of April (I talked to several of them one day, so I got this from the "horse's mouth"). Although no "organized groups" are allowed, according to the campground rules, I guess it's hard to recognize an organized group until after they show up. At about 7 am one morning, as we lay in out tent admiring the morning light on the water and palm trees, WHACK! The group two sites down was hitting golf balls into the water. That day they strung lights from the trees (yes, they brought a ladder) and set up the "hospitality suite" for the group. Looked like a used car lot. (One fellow bragged about setting up a swimming pool one year, and how each year they all try to "outdo each other".) Real nature lovers. They did turn the lights off at 10 pm, but the group of at least 15-20 stayed until after 11 pm yucking it up (I put my ear buds in at 11 pm to block the noise...I don't really know how much later they partied). Rules say no more than 6 people at a campsite, btw. I reported all this to the staff as we left, hoping the folks checking in after us would not have to put up with this group's rudeness. Ranger said they "sometimes get this".

So, if you get considerate human beings as neighbors, this is a an absolutely wonderful campsite. If the sorts of things I described bother you, then the overall experience may be diminished.

I rated the campground as a "3" due to the uncertainty of what your experience may be.

Go to Fort De Soto beach btw---it is beautiful! We saw manatees twice, rays, dolphins, and all kinds of fish. White sands, green and blue water...it was great, and during our weekday visits, uncrowded.

Eat at the Island Grill and Raw Bar just down the road for best seafood.

Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
16  Thank hellfisher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2013

Very nice sites, most of them located directly at the sea, where you can see the wildlife. Sites are shaded with trees and palms and have been clean. Hosts have been friendly. Other visitors have been friendly too and quite in the night. Beach nearby is very nice.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank cdpils
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2013 via mobile

Beautiful natural preserve, beach, park and campground. I collected lovely shells and at low tide there is a reef you can walk out to where I have heard there is an abundance if sand dollars. Great camping and roller blading!

  • Stayed: April 2013
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2  Thank MontanaLaura
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2013

Very nice large park. You can rent bikes for some exercise and to get around, nice beaches, the fort is a small but still interesting (takes only about 20 min to see). Price to get into the park very reasonable ($5 per car). Overall, very nice and clean.

Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
1  Thank alj1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2013

I last camped here in 1981. How nice it was to find the bathrooms just as clean, lots of hot water and pressure and the campground also very clean. Was not so happy to see so many large RVs dominating the campsites, many from Canada, but that's just the way it is when such a beautiful place is discovered. The $40 nightly fee is pretty high, but then again to have access to fantastic bike paths, beaches and backwaters for canoe, kayak, fishing, beachcombing and the piers for fishing and forts for touring and excellent birding, well, it's cheap enough. Sad to say the racoons are somewhat agressive....and would be sure people have fed them and the Great Egret and Great Blue that stood around our campsite. The park has humanely re-located many hundreds of the racoons, but still we encountered 2 the first night that actually grabbed a grilled chop off my plate, the aluminum pan with corn on the cob and created havoc. We left our big new marine cooler out at night with the latch against the picnic table and 4 very strong bungees wrapped around it...well, the racoons actually chewed part of the corner of the cooler off ! Anyway, the following days we had our supper cooked and eaten before dark. DO NOT leave any food out or in your tent ! keep in your car ! I rode my bike to the East Loop in the mornings to catch the sunrise through the Skyway Bridge; we took the Egmont Key Ferry out and highly reccomend this trip....I had last been there in 1966 ! The park service has done an amazing amount of work to uncover the old roads and forts. No bathrooms or concessions so take a snack, wear sneakers or walking shoes and if you want to swim or beach it take whatever you need. No trash to be left so carry out. It is gorgeous and fun to explore. Fort DeSoto has the best beaches, picnic shelters and does have a canoe,kayak concession on the road to North Beach. I dearly love this park . One other thing, if tent camping make sure you take a hammer and strong metal spikes as the shellrock is very difficult to sink tent stakes ! Each of the sites have electiric hookups and water faucet, so all set for RVs or pop ups; a separate area is for campers with pets. The $5 park admission fee is covered when you camp there. Take your bikes, binoculars, beach equipment and enjoy a piece of paradise. Each camp site is separated with vegetation, sea grapes and palmettos. Try to reserve ahead but if not get there early and take a chance as some of the camping sites are left for last minute walk-ins.

Room Tip: The web site has excellent diagrams and pictures of the different sites.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank cicaida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fort de Soto Park Campground

Address: 3500 Pinellas Bayway, St. Petersburg, FL
Location: United States > Florida > St. Petersburg
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 14 Specialty Lodging in St. Petersburg
Number of rooms: 241
Also Known As:
Fort De Soto Park Campground Hotel St. Petersburg

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