Fort De Soto Park
Pinellas County's five keys
Fort De Soto Park (also known as Fort Desoto Park) lets nature-lovers bask in 900 untouched acres of land and seven miles of pristine beaches. Encompassing a truly unique area, this park is actually a collection of five keys - Madelaine, St. Jean, St. Christopher, Bonne Fortune and Mullet. Named after Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, the park draws 2.7 million visitors annually.
Fort De Soto Park has outdoor recreation of almost every kind:
- On land: You can enjoy beautiful views as you hike, bike or inline skate along one of the park's many nature trails. Kids will love the Turtle Walks.
- On the water: The area is ideal for canoeing, kayaking and swimming.
- Fort De Soto: Built in 1898 to protect Tampa Bay during the Spanish-American War, today the fort is an historical museum complete with period cannons.
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium: Dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals and sea turtles, nature buffs will enjoy everything this interactive aquarium has to offer.
- Annual Outback Bowl (January 1st): A college football match-up is the rousing finale to a week-long schedule of events throughout Tampa Bay.
- Clearwater's Annual Jazz Holiday (October): This free, four-day event at Clearwater's Coachman Park is fun for the whole family. Bring your sunscreen and a lawn chair.
John's Pass Village and Boardwalk, in Madeira Beach, has plenty of restaurants and bars to keep your nights eventful.
The 235 family camping sites with grills, water, electricity, washers, dryers, modern restrooms and showers make this an affordable and comfortable place to vacation. Youth camping is available for organized groups. If camping isn't your style, the De Soto County Chamber of Commerce has plenty of Florida vacation ideas.
Need to Know
- Average yearly temperatures are 73 F.
- Winter / fall ranges from 50 to 70 F.
- Spring / summer ranges from 65 to 90 F.
- Boat-launching facility with floating docks
- Food concessions
- Two fishing piers with bait concessions
- Picnic shelters
- Public restrooms
- Snack bar / souvenir shop
- Nature and canoe trails
- Paved bike trails
- Lifeguards (in season)
Nature and history combine to make Fort De Soto a quiet refuge. If you're ready to check out the cannons, we've got plenty of Fort De Soto getaway ideas to help you get there.
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