One of the first places my husband and I went to was the beach. We both love being by the water so when we planned our first trip as a couple to Florida we knew we had to take advantage of being that close to the water. During the time we were there us and his family all went to this park in Pinellas County called Fort De Soto Park. I was captivated by the beautiful white sand and the overabundance of seashells. There was seashells everywhere. I think I collected an entire bag to take back home.

It has turned now into a ritual that every time we visit Florida we go to Fort De Soto Park for a beach day. The park itself has a lot to offer. Not just beaches but trails, kayak rentals, fishing, camping and so much more. My two girls have been coming here since they were babies and always have a blast. It is definitely a family favorite and has been a family favorite beach spot in my husband’s family for many many years.

seashell at the beach waves fort de soto st pete florida

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HISTORY OF FORT DE SOTO PARK

Fort De Soto was being built back in 1898 and wasn’t completed till April 1900. After it was built it was named after the Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto. Because of the location of Fort De Soto, it held strong security to the entrance of Tampa bay. As the years passed the fort was sold by the federal government in 1938. In 1941 it was sold back to the federal government to be used as a gunnery and bombing range during World War II according to Pinellas County website. You can learn more about the history of this fort during your visit at the Quartermaster Museum.

Did you know that this isn’t the only place named after Hernando De Soto? Yes! There is De Soto Falls trail in Cleveland, Georgia which we had the pleasure of visiting too. You can find two beautiful waterfalls on the trail. Definitely worth the trip if you are in the north Georgia mountain area.

seashell at the beach waves fort de soto st pete florida

seashell at the beach waves fort de soto st pete florida

THINGS TO DO

GOING TO THE BEACH

Fort De Soto Park has many things to do. Our favorite though is going to the beach. We love going beach combing and finding seashells to collect. We have found some live ones as well while snorkeling along with some sand dollars but we just snapped photos and put them back in the water in a safer spot so they can stay alive.

Usually we arrive early in the morning for our beach days. After setting up a canopy and blankets for the kids we then go and enjoy the day swimming, playing games, snorkeling, and enjoying the things that the beach park has to offer.

canon fort de soto st pete florida

canon fort de soto st pete florida

VISITING THE FORT AT FORT DE SOTO

You can’t visit Fort De Soto and not check out the fort! It is filled with canons, weapons, and a lot of history about this place. It is actually pretty interesting if you are into that sort of historical stuff. I personally just love to see the old architecture and weaponry.

The fort area also has a small souvenir shop that you can visit. They have some cool items that you can take home with you.

the walking mermaid

CAMPING AT FORT DE SOTO

I personally have never camped here but my family has. My husband actually grew up coming here all of his life and has told me many amazing stories. Even though I haven’t camped, I have gone to the campgrounds and just about everywhere in the park. My husband gave me a full tour and showed me all of his favorite spots as well.

The campgrounds are very clean and spacious. Some of them are even along the water making it easy access for you if you are planning to go kayaking. We camp at Land Between The Lakes – Piney Campground right by the water and it is my favorite. It is so relaxing to sleep with the sound of the water all night. So if you get a chance to grab yourself a spot by the water, I say take it. You won’t regret it. However, the prices will be slightly higher, but it is so worth it.

MAKING YOUR CAMPING RESERVATIONS

For making you camping reservations, it is best to make them at least 6 months ahead of time. They do book up quick and way in advance. You can make your reservations here. 

men fishing fishermen florida beach ft desoto st pete petersburg

FISHING AT FORT DE SOTO

Another good activity to do is fishing. I personally never gone fishing but my father-in-law and my husband go fishing every time we go to Florida. Fort De Soto is one of the places they love to go fishing at. When going fishing just make sure to stay in designated fishing areas. 😉

clear beach water go pro florida st pete petersburg

seashell at beach st pete petersburg florida

OTHER THINGS TO DO

The park has a lot to offer including:

LOCATION DETAILS

3500 Pinellas Bayway S.,
Tierra Verde, FL 33715

(727) 582-2100, select Option #2

Pinellas County, Florida Website

lifeguard stand beach florida st petersburg ft desoto

WHAT TO BRING

FOR YOU AND THE FAMILY

FOR THE BEACH

Related Articles: Beach Day Essentials For Families

leave no trace trash beach clean up st pete petersburg florida

LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS

Whenever you visit any outdoor locations, or any destination period, it is important to follow Leave No Trace Principles. These principles help keep these areas clean, minimize your impact, and be properly prepared for your trip. You can read more about LNT Principles here.

SUMMARY OF FORT DE SOTO PARK

Fort De Soto will always have a special place in my heart. I feel like I have, through my family, found a precious gem in Central Florida and I couldn’t be happier about it. This place is absolutely breathtaking. Has it this park made it on to your bucketlist? I sure hope so.

You can check out more of our Florida travel guides here if you like. Also, if you enjoyed this article feel free to sign up for our newsletter here (Free 21 page Camping Planner when you sign-up and full access to our TWM Tribe Resource Library which has monthly freebies and activities for you and your family) or follow our adventures on Instagram so you can stay up to date on upcoming travel adventures, tips, gear reviews, recipes and more. Don’t forget to share or pin to save it. Thank you for reading.

ft desoto pier st pete petersburg

ft desoto pier st pete petersburg

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RESOURCES

Fort De Soto St Petersburg Florida - The Walking Mermaid - Jessica Tejera 3

2 Responses

  1. What a great guide! Also love how you shared some of the history of Fort De Soto. So often we travel to places and really have no idea about their history, so thank you!

    1. Aww your welcome Renee. I always feel like you can better connect with the place if you learn a little bit about the history and how it came to be. Glad you enjoyed reading my post and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. 😊

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