We recently spent a fantastic day at the amazing beaches of Fort de Soto. Situated on Florida’s stunning west coast this island is close to Tampa and Clearwater and only takes about 90 minutes to drive to from the Disney area.
Fort de Sota is open all year round and is approached via the Pinellas Bayway (SR682) this is a toll road, and in our opinion it is well worth the toll!
Over the years the beaches here have received many top accolades and in both 2008 and 2009 it was named America’s Top Beach.
There are plenty of recreational facilities and loads of car parking on the island, making access to the beaches very easy.
Although there are snack shops and cafes, there are also BBQ areas, so you can either take a picnic or a coolbox of goodies and a bag of charcoal. There is something extra special about sitting on the beach and having a BBQ lunch of your favourite seafood while watching the kids play in the sand or splash around in the sea! The beaches are vast and the areas closest to the car parks can get busy at weekends, however it’s also really easy to find a deserted stretch of sand for just your family.
As well as traditional bucket and spade pursuits there are also two fishing piers, both have bait, tackle and food concessions. There are numerous picnic areas. An 800ft boat ramp. A camping area with a camp store, modern restrooms and a laundry room.
The two swimming areas are North Beach and East Beach, North Beach is the one that has received all the accolades as Americas top beach. East Beach will often have people kite surfing.
There is also a small museum and things like canons are still there as a reminder that this used to be a fortification. Also located at the old fort are a snack bar and well stocked gift shop.
For the more energetic there is a seven mile multi purpose trail, a two and a quarter mile canoe trail and a barrier free nature trail. There is also a Paw Playground exclusively to exercise pets.
All along North beach you will also see childrens playground equipment to help keep little ones amused and this also provides a shady area to get out of the sun for a while.
You can catch a ferry to Egmont Key, site of Egmont Key State Park