Fort De Soto Park Beach
Fort de Soto Park is more than just a beach. It is a collection of five interconnected keys (islands) just off the coast of St Petersburg in the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches of Fort de Soto constantly appear on lists of America’s best beaches, even occupying the number one spot in one poll. This is little surprise given the beautiful natural surroundings and range of activities on offer. There are two fishing piers, a host of picnic areas, hiking trails, cycle tracks and a kayak trail around the islands. If that isn’t enough then there is wildlife a plenty in the lagoons, oyster beds, mangroves and shallows off the islands.
The main island is Mullet Key and this is home to the three beaches. Most popular of these is probably North Beach with its long crescent of white sand backed by grassy picnic areas studded with palm trees. Swimming is positively encouraged in the warm waters of the gulf and there is often a lifeguard on duty to make sure everyone stays safe.
Along with East Beach the other most popular spot on the islands is the Dog beach. The fenced off “Paw Playground” is specifically designated for dogs and they’ll have the times of their lives running around and swimming - plus, it means the rest of the beaches are dog-free.
Back in the 1800s these keys off St Petersburg were used for military fortifications (hence the name). The remains of the fort, along with its 12-inch mortar battery, remain as a museum and are well worth a look around.
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