Just south of Tampa, Florida thereʼs Fort De Soto Park. From the moment you enter, you find yourself absorbed in the abundance of natural beauty. The wealth of bird life, sea life, wild life and plant life is simply majestic. Fort De Soto park consists of 1,136 acres with five interconnected islands (keys). These keys are home to beach plants, mangroves, wetlands, palm hammocks, hardwoods and loads of native plants. The key that the park is on is one of a series of islands connected by a few bridges.
We didn’t end up spending the night, but our day was filled with kayaking throughout the mangroves, swimming in the Gulf, picnicking and walking the paths. They were so many little hiking trails right off the main strip. The vast size of the island provides so many different areas to explore. You are able to take a ferry to Egmont Key which was supposed to be uninhabited and makes for a fun day adventure. There is a lot of history in the park as well. During the Civil War, it was a defensive hold for the port of Tampa bay. Robert E. Lee surveyed the area prior to the Civil War and there are giant Civil War gun touretteʼs that looked out into the Gulf which is super cool to see.
We found a little area and set up camp for lunch in the van that over-looked a canal and we were surrounded by palm trees. Even though there were tons of people there, it didn’t feel crowded because the park was so spread out and well- maintained. From Tampa down to Marco Island the West Coast of Florida has so many amazing little sleepy townsʼ and some of the most gorgeous white sand beaches we have ever laid eyes on.
Location: Fort De Soto Park