Fort De Soto Park
Fort De Soto Park
4.5
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  • D J
    239 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    HUGE park! Know where you're going!
    Map app led us to a boat launch first as the park entrance. Then we were directed to the park entrance itself. Then had to make a decision East Beach or North Beach. We had no idea. Then without much signage, we followed other cars and ended up at a fishing pier. Were directed further down the road. Drove for quite a distance before seeing signs for North Beach. Exited and walked down to the beach to find........about 2 feet wide and a bit dirty. Asked yet another person what in the heck we were doing wrong and were directed even further down to North Beach proper. Very wide beach indeed with access but infilled water sections with no cross over, so we waded through pools to get to the beach. All in search of shells. LOL Shelling was nice but unimpressive on the whole. Tide had gone out at 11 pm the night before so, inexperienced, we were hoping that arrival immediately in the morning might be productive. We picked up a few things but were confused. Talked to a local who said that he thinks this is the best beach around. Who knows?! It was nearly empty there when we went so early in the am but the parking lot was massive - no doubt this is a major hot spot!!! I was simply stunned by the size of the park itself, just make sure you know where you're going when you get there! The views are beautiful and open, and the beach sand is gorgeous!
    Visited April 2023
    Written 30 April 2023
  • jlwilm
    Madison, Wisconsin76 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Highly Recommend
    We visit this park every time we are in Florida. The highlight is to walk out on the 100’ fishing dock and watch for dolphins. This time we watched three or four of them feeding at the dock for almost an hour. Afterwards be sure to visit the store and get an ice cream cone. Try the Key Lime Pie ice cream! After watching the dolphins and pelicans, we usually set up our chairs along the beach and relax, go for a walk, go for a dip, or have a picnic. In previous visits we toured the old buildings of the fort. Historical and very interesting. For $5.00 parking you can easily make a beautiful day of it. Highly recommend!
    Visited April 2023
    Written 30 April 2023
  • BAR845
    Englewood, Florida445 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Varity of out door activities
    Fort is from the Spanish American War Days. Fort is interesting but tired. Not kept up well. Signage could be better and more informative. One of the ammunition bunkers has pictures and informative notes but the weather and humidity has made the pictures difficult to read. Would love to see the state kick in more funds to the County to fix up the fort more and redo all the signage and notes. Pay for parking at a kiosk. We paid the max which is $5. It was Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend and was good for all three days. They do enforce as we saw at least two rangers checking cars. (You input your license plate number). But parking fee is good throughout the park. Park has trails for walking and biking. Very long beach with parking areas and cars also park along the road. It is a bit of a walk from parking lots to the water. A farther walk if parking off the road. While the beach is basically the whole length of the island it was crowded. May be due to long holiday weekend and being close to St Pete and Tampa. No shells or sharks’ teeth here. There are life guard stations and rest rooms at the parking lots. And a gift shop at the fort and a couple of snack bars. They have group areas that can be reserved. Also a ferry at the beginning of the park that goes out to one of the islands and many places to put kayaks in the water. Much to do here and close to the city.
    Visited May 2023
    Written 29 May 2023
  • VACanuck
    Wilmington, North Carolina566 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Our new favorite beach!
    We spent a week in the area and our host recommended that we try the North beach at Ft De Soto. So glad we did! This is the nicest beach we’ve been to; sand is pure white and didn’t get hot. Water is crystal clear. Lifeguards every day we were there. Snack bar and bathrooms. Parking is one low fee (5.00) for the entire day. We also kayaked on the inlet side- very nice. No craziness like at St Pete’s and no astronomical parking fees. Our new fav beach in Fla and we’ve been to many including Siesta Key, Boca Grande, and all beaches south of there.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 July 2023
  • fossilprep
    Kissimmee, Florida143 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth the travel time and effort
    It was a cold, windy, miserable day, cold front came through, but I wanted to look for migrant birds on my day off. I can imagine this venue is awesome on good days, in spite of the conditions, I still saw 52 bird species! There were too many trails to hike them all. The gift shop provided a moment of warmth and the grill provided a delicious warm meal. Definitely worth the drive and effort. It costs 5 dollars to visit all day. Best time to see the birds was low tide.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 2 December 2023
  • GSouth
    91 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the drive if you like white sand, nature and less crowds
    Went to the beach and it is beautiful white sand and very pristine. Some have mentioned parking issues but we found parking very easy to navigate on the park mobile app. This is the same app you would use to park in most of St. Petersburg. Beautiful place, not crowded what more could you ask for.
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 15 February 2024
  • Kathe
    Pennsylvania77 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful park and beaches!!
    This park and it's beaches are a gem! So different from the crowded commercialism at the other St. Pete beaches. Plenty of parking for $5 a day, restrooms, picnic shelters and lots of handicap facilities. Beautiful white sand and turquoise water, not to mention all the shells. So glad we found this!!
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 22 February 2024
  • Mark S
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    took hubbards ferry to shell key for the day
    took Hubbard's ferry for a day at Shell Key. found many shells and a few starfish and sand dollars. also saw some dolphins on the trip to and from the key. I would recommend this trip to parents who want their kids to be thrilled at how many shells they can pick up. P.S bring a big bucket.
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 4 March 2024
  • Mike S
    Winnipeg, Canada67 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A nice getaway spot
    This is a beautiful natural spot, a nice quiet place to get away for the day. Beaches are beautiful, although the water was quite rough on the day we were there. Lots of space to spread out from other people on the multiple beaches and recreation areas available. Just a few things to note. There are 2 tolls while going into the park, it doesn't seem like there is any avoiding these and they are both cash-less. Secondly you will want to bring food with you or plan to have eaten before arriving as there didn't appear to be much of anything available nearby the park. Overall a nice place to visit and a bargain price at $5 for parking for the day.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 24 March 2024
  • tam
    12 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Tips
    Extensive clean beach, white sand, calm water, North Beach has snack bar, umbrella and chair rental available Tips: In spring, rental for umbrella and chairs at snack bar on North Beach closes by 2:00. Chairs and umbrellas have to be returned by 3:00. You need a car to get to the park or bike, if you are a good biker. We Ubered and could get out there but had extreme difficulty getting an Uber to bring us back to our hotel. Don't risk taking a ride service there. If you like waves, you won't like this beach. Also, there aren't a lot of shells and nothing to see if you want to snorkel. This beach is best for families with very young children and inexperienced swimmers. Also, for those that just want to sit around on a beach.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 26 March 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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Carolyn R
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Great beach day at Fort De Soto Park. Entrance fee includes parking and there are plenty of spaces. A bit of a walk to the beach. There are washroom facilities as you walk in. A great place for families to spend the day. No lifeguards.
Written 15 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sara T
Ellicott City, MD1,079 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
We brought two of our dogs here and had a fabulous time! You could walk the dogs off leash if they were under voice control. Ours stayed with us! Which was nice to see as usually they wander! I highly recommend this beach.
Written 3 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tam
12 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Extensive clean beach, white sand, calm water, North Beach has snack bar, umbrella and chair rental available

Tips:
In spring, rental for umbrella and chairs at snack bar on North Beach closes by 2:00. Chairs and umbrellas have to be returned by 3:00.

You need a car to get to the park or bike, if you are a good biker. We Ubered and could get out there but had extreme difficulty getting an Uber to bring us back to our hotel. Don't risk taking a ride service there.

If you like waves, you won't like this beach. Also, there aren't a lot of shells and nothing to see if you want to snorkel.

This beach is best for families with very young children and inexperienced swimmers. Also, for those that just want to sit around on a beach.
Written 26 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike S
Winnipeg, Canada67 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
This is a beautiful natural spot, a nice quiet place to get away for the day. Beaches are beautiful, although the water was quite rough on the day we were there. Lots of space to spread out from other people on the multiple beaches and recreation areas available.

Just a few things to note. There are 2 tolls while going into the park, it doesn't seem like there is any avoiding these and they are both cash-less. Secondly you will want to bring food with you or plan to have eaten before arriving as there didn't appear to be much of anything available nearby the park.

Overall a nice place to visit and a bargain price at $5 for parking for the day.
Written 24 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark S
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
took Hubbard's ferry for a day at Shell Key. found many shells and a few starfish and sand dollars. also saw some dolphins on the trip to and from the key. I would recommend this trip to parents who want their kids to be thrilled at how many shells they can pick up. P.S bring a big bucket.
Written 4 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tjka
New Port Richey, FL45 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
We saw the fort it nice then. And then we walked the beach very pretty lots of shells nice day to be out there. Then we walked the trails. U can see the skyway bridge got a good picture of that. It cost 5 but worth it.
Written 26 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kathe
Pennsylvania77 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
This park and it's beaches are a gem! So different from the crowded commercialism at the other St. Pete beaches. Plenty of parking for $5 a day, restrooms, picnic shelters and lots of handicap facilities. Beautiful white sand and turquoise water, not to mention all the shells. So glad we found this!!
Written 22 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GSouth
Georgetown, Ontario91 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Went to the beach and it is beautiful white sand and very pristine. Some have mentioned parking issues but we found parking very easy to navigate on the park mobile app. This is the same app you would use to park in most of St. Petersburg. Beautiful place, not crowded what more could you ask for.
Written 15 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rebecca M
Uniontown, PA3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
Absolutely Beautiful, easy to get to and not crowded. The shells are amazing just love this place and will be back next year. Would highly recommend.
Written 10 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cynthia W
Freeland, MI817 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
There is NO MORE waiting at a gate/kisk to buy a ticket to enter the park. NOW, there are $5.00 parking machines that you use a credit card in. You just need your license plate #. WE went for birding, there were a few birds, but not many. The fresh water lake on the beach is corded off for nesting birds. Another inlet we used to go to to see birds, is called a restoration area, you can't cross. Getting there early in the morning we walked the beach and saw very few birds in the little water areas. There always is a few people walking the beach for shells. The Fort is nicely kept up and free to go into. The little gift shop store is FULL of anything you may have forgotten and I was pleased they had post cards. There was ice cream and some other foods you could order. There are plenty of flush toilet facilities throughout the park. Many beaches you can walk/bird/find shells or just sunbath. The fishing pier is always worth walking and watching people trying to fish is a hoot. . . But the real beauty is the white sand beaches which look so clean. . They/ people are doing a great job of keeping the beach clean, , and I love the NO DOGS on beach signs. . . I think this helps keep it all clean. This park seems to have turned into a BIKE PARK. .. so many paved trails and they are so great for family riding. This is a great park. . . thanks for keeping the fees so reasonable.
Written 31 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Fort De Soto Park - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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