Discover Fort De Soto Park
Fort De Soto Park offers one last, savory glimpse of emerald mangroves and pearly white beaches before the St. Petersburg-Clearwater peninsula fades into sparkly Gulf waters. With canoe, bike and foot paths, grab onto paddles, handlebars or simply your loved ones to explore the crown jewel of St. Pete- Clearwater. The true fun begins far off the grid after a spectacular sunset at the Fort De Soto campgrounds, where you can sleep under the stars on renowned beachfront real estate.
Explore a natural oasis
Enjoying the islands’ three miles of white sandy beach is rarely a spectator sport at Fort De Soto. While there are plenty of pristine places to soak up rays, a wealth of activities allow families to experience the islands’ natural beauty firsthand. Fort De Soto’s trails transport you to offbeat locales, from dangling your fingertips in the water on a more than two-mile canoe trail or racing pavement on extensive bike trails. Take advantage of free, one-hour guided hikes and nature walks that explore the Arrowhead Trail, Mangrove Tour, Beach Tour, Bird Watch and more.
Fort De Soto is teeming with diverse bird life, wildlife and sea life – making it the perfect place to reel in a big catch. The park features two fishing piers, each with concession and bait stations to keep you hooked for hours. To make an even bigger splash, launch your boat at the park’s 800-foot-long dock and enjoy a day at sea.
Travel back in time
Fort De Soto gets its name from the 16th-century Spanish Conquistador Hernando De Soto that landed on the shores of an uncharted estuary now known around the world as Tampa Bay. During the Spanish-American War, a fort was commissioned to ward off invaders arriving to seize the valuable port city. However, the builders ran into one small problem. With supply delays from the Northeast, they severely lacked sufficient materials. In desperation, the workers concocted a makeshift seashell and concrete formula. As luck and history would have it, the walls built from the worker’s backup plan still stand today and offer a leap back in time for visitors that tour the fort. Spend an hour exploring this piece of Florida history that gave the miraculous park its namesake.
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