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“Few Buildings at "Fort" but Lots of Fun Nature Things to Do”
Review of Fort De Soto Park

Fort De Soto Park
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US$325,00*
and up
Ultimate Tampa Bay and Fort De Soto Helicopter...
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Wheelchair access
Attraction details
Useful Information: Wheelchair access
Reviewed 12 October 2005

We have been to Fort DeSoto several times and it really does have a lot of stuff to do. If you are going for the "Fort" though, you may be disappointed. None of the buildings besides the bunker remain. The island was used for bombing practice for many years so anything that would make a "cool target" is gone. The 'historic trail' consists of where the buildings were. All that remains are slab foundations. The gun battery itself is pretty cool. You can go through the powder rooms and see where the stationary guns and look outs were. That didn't ring my bell but a lot of people, especially kids, like it. One of the powder rooms is supposed to be haunted.

My favorite things there are the Barrier Free Nature Trail, Soldier's Hole and the beach. The Barrier Free Nature Trail is a short (.4 mile) hike through cabbage palms circling up to the water's edge before coming back to the parking area. It has interactive educational posts along the trail - you push a button and it tells you interesting facts about the flora and fauna. It was a Boy Scout trail to begin with and very accessible and very nice. Nice, leisurely fun.

Soldier's Hole is listed in hike books but every time I have been out there it has been too wet and/or muddy to walk through. You can, however, rent a kayak right there and kayak all over the place - to the beach, to the camping area or just through the mangroves. It is a great place to kayak but take good shoes because it also has a lot of oyster beds throughout the mangroves that will cut your feet if you get out of the kayak for any reason. We kayaked over to St. Christopher Key and back and that was about all we were good for.

Then there's a beautiful beach facing out towards the gulf to the south. You can pick up a ferry to Egmont Key from the Fort grounds (you can only get to Egmont Key by boat), but it was $30 a person when we were there. This can definitely be a whole day event. There are great campgrounds and that would be fun with all that there is to do out there but you have to make reservations in advance.

The road to Fort DeSoto is a toll road, but it's a low toll - 50 cents I think - and only on the way in.

21  Thank Beth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2 392 - 2 396 of 2 567 reviews

Reviewed 25 May 2005

Excellent, Rated #1 Beach for 2005. AS a little bit of everything for everyone

2  Thank tampan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 June 2003

Our family had a wonderful time. What a great place to take the kids and relax. You can ride bikes, take walks, fish, or simply sit at the campsite and enjoy the view of the ocean. Our kids (ages 5 and 20 months) loved the crabs and making sand castles at the water's edge. Highly recommend Fort Desoto Park for a week's vacation or just a weekend getaway. Tina Seymour

18  Thank Quest2613
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile
Google Translation

Date of experience: January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Google Translation

Date of experience: December 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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