Checking out Fort Desoto Park has always been a dream of mine! While traveling in Florida, we came across this park and it was a huge hit with the kids. The next time you’re traveling in Florida, you should check out Fort De Soto Park.
Please keep in mind while the fort is free you do have to pay $2 in tolls to get to the island and then another $5 to get into the park.
Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum – St. Petersburg Florida
Coming into contact with a park that has a beach and the opportunity to camp is always a win-win for us! Fort De Soto Park is sort of the creme de la creme of all parks in Florida! In fact, it’s the largest park within the Pinellas County Park System! Fort De Soto Park actually has five parts to it, some refer to them as Islands or keys.
The drive out is just beautiful with all the water and scenery.
If you watch carefully, you can even see the Skyway Bridge. (not my favorite bridge!)
The first area of the park is the camping area. We decided to get some information for future visits.
I mentioned one of the really cool parts of this park is the fact that you can camp here. There are 238 campsites available here. Everything from picnic tables to washers and dryers are available. There is also a youth camping site available. Just make sure you gain the proper permit to camp anywhere near Fort De Soto Park.
Around 2.7 million people come through this park every year. It’s safe to say that Fort De Soto has a lot of history and beauty to offer all who come here.
Camping rates are pretty much the norm for the area for a state/county park.
We then went for a drive to check the grounds out. It’s very wooded and shaded.
There are waterfront back in RV sites and pull-through sites as well. We found our RV’s cousin!
The waterfront spots are very nice right on the water, level pad, grills, picnic table and water and electric. No sewer hook ups.
The facilities look new and very clean.
They have a playground in the camp area as well as an open field.
Then we headed further down the park and paid to enter. They have many things to do, but we headed to the fort.
Lots of Beaches
The cool thing about Fort De Soto Park is the amount of beach you come into contact with here. There is at least 3 miles of just pure white sandy beach! In total, there is about 7 miles of beach. There are two large swimming centers, so staying cool is never an issue!
The first part of the fort we saw is what looked like the jail area.
Then we went to see the cannons.
These cannons are from the Spanish-American War and weren’t used here at the fort.
These rooms are the Dynomo (yes that’s how the plaque on the wall spells it!) rooms, where all the stuff needed to fire the cannons, were held. They were right next to the interior cannons as well.
They had two sets of 2 interior cannons, but we were told at one point there used to be two sets of 4 cannons.
They were set up pretty advanced for their times; they were on a circle platform where you can turn them around 360 degrees plus then move them up and down as needed.
One of the rooms in the fort was set up with pictures and maps of how the fort used to look back in it’s ‘heyday’. Like this layout of the property.
Some of the civilians quarters that were at the fort.
The layout of the commanding officers house.
Then we climbed the stairs to the top of the fort.
From the top, you can see some of the green vents that would help vent the air in the rooms below.
The views are incredible, I can only imagine how great they would be on a clear day!
You can see some of the old ruins before the pier there.
We also got to watch a cargo ship leave.
Then we headed to a museum which is across the parking lot and also free. (after paying the tolls and park entrance)
On the walkway up to the museum, there are signs that talk about the different buildings that used to be on the property.
The museum used to be the Quartermasters Storehouse.
One of the pilots that dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima Japn Praticed here in B-17s with these sand bombs.
They had a lot of WWII items.
They had a whole area with pictures of the people who lived at the fort.
Here is a map of what the fort looked like with all the buildings still here.
Here you can see the Battery Bigelow at the waters edge there are the ruins you see from the top of the fort.
Life wasn’t always easy at the fort. Here the soldier is weighing his beef rations.
And they didn’t have a washer or dryer to do their clothes. Heck men had to do their own clothes!
I found this interesting that card is a military dance card that men would have to fill out to dance with a woman.
Somthing else I found interesting is this exploded cannonball from the Civil War Era!
As you can see, there is so much more to do at the park! The fort and museum are that the southern point there.
Have you been to Fort De Soto? What did you think? If you blogged your trip leave your link below!