Whether you are sitting on the beach or kayaking near the still water's edge at Fort De Soto, you find yourself absorbed in the abundance of natural beauty for as far as the eye can see. The complexity of the ecology is not immediately apparent, but the park offers the greatest diversity of systems just about anywhere. Emerging from the wealth of bird life, sea life, wild life and plant life is the majestic tapestry called Fort De Soto.
I have so many memories of my younger years camping at the park. Great times had by all. It's just a peaceful place. Fort De Soto was named America’s Top Beach for 2009 by Trip Advisor, the world's largest online travel community. In 2005, “Dr. Beach,” named Fort De Soto the nation’s #1 Beach.
The islands that are now know as Fort De Soto Park are Mullet,(fort site), St. Christopher, St. Jean, Madelaine and Bonne Fortune keys. The earliest known inhabitants of the Tampa Bay area were the Tocobaga Indians, who disappeared within eighty years of the arrival of Spanish explorers in the early 1500's. Fort De Soto Historic Guide Adobe Acrobat Reader file
The park property was first purchased from the federal government in 1938 for $12,500. In 1941 the property was sold back to the federal government for $18,404 to be used as a gunnery and bombing range during World War II. The property was repurchased from the United States in 1948 for $26,500.
The 12-inch mortar battery, located at the fort for which the park was named, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Adding to the historical interest at Fort De Soto, two British breech-loading, rapid-fire rifles of 1890 vintage were installed in March 1982. Markers showing the original building locations and a Quartermaster Storehouse Museum add to the park's historic interest.
3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715
Park Office (727) 552-1862
Campground Office (727) 893-9185
Automated Information Message: (727) 582-2267