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Fort DeSoto Park

Fort DeSoto Park is 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 the state toll road named the Pinellas Bayway was completed, it 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.

In 2009 Fort DeSoto was named America's Top Beach for the second year in a row by the travel website TripAdvisor. In 2005, Dr. Stephen Leatherman, a/k/a "Dr. Beach," bestowed on Fort DeSoto the honor of America's Best Beach.

Park Amenities:

  • Almost 3 miles of white sandy beach
  • 800-foot long launching facility with 11 floating docks
  • 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
  • Food concession
  • Two fishing piers, one on the Gulf of Mexico, one on Tampa Bay
  • Group picnic shelters
  • Public restrooms
  • Snack bar/souvenir shop
  • 6.8-mile paved recreation trail
  • 2.25-mile canoe/kayak trail
  • 1-mile and 3/4-mile nature trails
  • Quartermaster museum
  • 2200-foot barrier-free ADA-compliant nature trail
  • Dog park
  • Youth camping area