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    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum – St. Petersburg Florida

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    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

    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.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Water

    If you watch carefully, you can even see the Skyway Bridge. (not my favorite bridge!)

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Skyway Bridge

    The first area of the park is the camping area. We decided to get some information for future visits.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Camping Sign

    Camping Options

    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.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Rate Sheet

    We then went for a drive to check the grounds out. It’s very wooded and shaded.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Wooded Road

    There are waterfront back in RV sites and pull-through sites as well. We found our RV’s cousin!

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Avenger RV

    The waterfront spots are very nice right on the water, level pad, grills, picnic table and water and electric. No sewer hook ups.

    Related: 11 of the Absolute Best Places to View Manatees in Florida

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Waterfront Site

    The facilities look new and very clean.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Bathrooms

    They have a playground in the camp area as well as an open field.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Playground

    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!

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Brown Signs

    The first part of the fort we saw is what looked like the jail area.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Kids in Jail

    Then we went to see the cannons.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Cannons Far Away

    These cannons are from the Spanish-American War and weren’t used here at the fort.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida First Cannon Sign

    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.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Dynomo Room

    They had two sets of 2 interior cannons, but we were told at one point there used to be two sets of 4 cannons.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Interior 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.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Mortar Sign

    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.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Map

    Some of the civilians quarters that were at the fort.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Civilian Home

    The layout of the commanding officers house.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Commanding Officers Quarters

    Then we climbed the stairs to the top of the fort.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Stairs

    From the top, you can see some of the green vents that would help vent the air in the rooms below.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Green Vents

    The views are incredible, I can only imagine how great they would be on a clear day!

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Beach

    You can see some of the old ruins before the pier there.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Ruins

    We also got to watch a cargo ship leave.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Ship

    Then we headed to a museum which is across the parking lot and also free. (after paying the tolls and park entrance)

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Museum

    On the walkway up to the museum, there are signs that talk about the different buildings that used to be on the property.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Signs Coll

    The museum used to be the Quartermasters Storehouse.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Red Sign

    One of the pilots that dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima Japn Praticed here in B-17s with these sand bombs.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Bombs

    They had a lot of WWII items.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Helmet

    They had a whole area with pictures of the people who lived at the fort.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida People of the Fort

    Here is a map of what the fort looked like with all the buildings still here.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Museum Map

    Here you can see the Battery Bigelow at the waters edge there are the ruins you see from the top of the fort.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Ruins Pic

    Life wasn’t always easy at the fort. Here the soldier is weighing his beef rations.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Rations

    And they didn’t have a washer or dryer to do their clothes. Heck men had to do their own clothes!

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Washing Clothes

    I found this interesting that card is a military dance card that men would have to fill out to dance with a woman.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Dance Card

    Somthing else I found interesting is this exploded cannonball from the Civil War Era!

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Exploded Cannon Ball

    As you can see, there is so much more to do at the park! The fort and museum are that the southern point there.

    Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum - St. Petersburg Florida Park Map

     

    Have you been to Fort De Soto? What did you think? If you blogged your trip leave your link below!

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