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.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.