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Fort De Soto Park


Fort De Soto Park Photo

Camping | Camping Reservations | Campground Map | Fort De Soto Broschure

The largest park within the Pinellas County Park System, this park consists of 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands. First opened on December 21, 1962, when thestate toll road named the Pinellas Bayway was completed, this park was dedicated May 11, 1963, in perpetuity as a public park. Annual park attendance averages more than 2.7 million visitors.

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.

Park's natural and historic features are:

1. Over 7 miles of waterfront, including almost three miles of the finest white sand beach in the United States.
2. An 800-foot-long boat launching facility with eleven floating docks.
3. A 238-site family camping area with facilities including picnic tables, grills, water, electricity, washers, dryers, sanitary disposal stations, modern restrooms, showers, play areas, and a camp store.
4. Two large swim centers including a food concession area located at the North Beach Swim Center.
5. Two fishing piers--one on Tampa Bay (500 feet long) and the other on the Gulf (1,000 feet long). Each pier has a food and bait concession.
6. Fourteen large group picnic shelters incorporating award-winning aesthetic and functional design features.
7. Twenty storm-resistant public restroom buildings featured in several national publications.
8. A snack bar/souvenir shop offering a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico.
9. A 6.8 mile, 12-foot-wide asphalt recreation trail connects the campground with the North and East Beach Swim Centers and the historic fort.
10. A 2.25-mile recreational canoe trail.
11. A 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.
12. Quartermaster Museum
13. 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.
14. Youth camping area for organized youth groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Church groups, etc.

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