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Aloha From The Edge (Fort Desoto Revisted)

Fort Desoto Beach
Randy Sylvia

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.

The largest park within the Pinellas County Park System, Fort De Soto park consists of 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands (keys). These keys are home to beach plants, mangroves, wetlands, palm hammocks, hardwoods and scores of native plants. Each of these species plays a vital role in the preservation and protection of the natural environment.

Everytime I good back I see something that I never seen before. Plus it has the beach beach in the county.

Historic fort guide Adobe Acrobat Reader file
Over 7 miles of waterfront, includes almost three miles of beautiful white sandy beach.
800-foot-long boat launching facility with eleven floating docks. see boat ramp permit
Camping - 238-site family camping area with facilities
Primitive youth camping area for organized youth groups
15 picnic shelters -reserve shelters online
Restrooms - locations
Playgrounds
Multipurpose trail - seven miles of paved trail connecting North Beach, East Beach, the boat ramp and the camping area. No motorized vehicles allowed.
Two large swim centers including a food concession area located at the North Beach Swim Center
A lifeguard is on duty 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily on a seasonal basis from March to September
Two fishing piers-each pier has a food and bait concession - Gulf & Bay Pier Hours: 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Ferry service to Egmont Key
Concession/snack bar/souvenir shop
Restroom
Restroom Update
As an additional cost-saving measure, some restrooms in county parks are closed weekdays. However, facilities near most popular user areas remain open during all hours of park operation. All restrooms in county parks will be open on weekends. See park diagram for details
Virtual Tour - 360° Views of Ft. De Soto Park
item Gulf Pier
item North Beach
item Campground
item Shelter 14
item Pier 1
item Boat Ramp
item Museum
item Fort
item Barrier Free Trail
item Dog Park
Quartermaster Museum
6.8 mile, 12-foot-wide asphalt recreation trail connects the campground with the North and East Beach Swim Centers and the historic fort.
2.25-mile recreational canoe trail.
1-mile nature trail in the Arrowhead Picnic area, and a 3/4 mile nature trail in the Soldiers' Hole area provides a glimpse of some the native fauna and flora
2,200 foot Barrier-Free Nature Trail is a self-guided interpretive trail providing access to nature for all visitors to Fort De Soto Park, regardless of their physical abilities.
Dog park - Please review dog park rules. Fort De Soto has the only dog park where dogs are allowed on the beach in a designated area. There are also 2 fenced in areas near the beach for large and small dogs with water stations - view dog park- (beach entrance is at the far southwest corner of dog park, not shown).
In the News:
Camping walk-in site practice revised
Annual Beach Parking Permit: Permit includes vehicle parking at Fort De Soto Park, Sand Key Park, Howard Park Beach and Causeway. This permit is not valid at county boat ramp locations.
Road Closures: Roads will be open by 9 a.m.
07/12/14 Ft. De Soto Triathlon
07/26/14 Top Gun Triathlon
08/23/14 Ft. De Soto Triathlon
09/13/14 Patriot 9.11 Triathlon
09/27/14 Ft. De Soto Triathlon
09/22/14 Xanadu Duathlon
10/18/14 Lycra & Lace Triathlon
01/11/15 Patriot 9.11 Duathlon
Discover Pinellas County Parks & Preserves
History:
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 1977. 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.

Fort De Soto Park
3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715 - gmap link to external site
Park diagram, amenities, restroom info Adobe Acrobat Reader file - Road Closures - Nature Tours Adobe Acrobat Reader file
Park Office (727) 552-1862
Campground Office (727) 893-9185
Automated Information Message: (727) 582-2267