Florida’s west coast features some of the most beautiful, pristine beaches in the country. The Tampa Bay area is home to several beaches that have achieved world-renowned fame, including Fort DeSoto, which offers a rare look at Florida’s unadulterated natural scenery and wildlife. It’s the perfect place for nature lovers to explore as they vacation.
Fort DeSoto Park is made up of five small islands, or keys: Madelaine Key, St. Jean Key, St. Christopher Key, Bonne Fortune Key, and Mullet Key, which is the mainland. It can only be accessed via of boat or Highway 679, which moves through St. Petersburg and Tierra Verde, near Pass-A-Grille and St. Pete Beach.
With hotels, resorts, and condos spanning nearly every inch of coastline, it’s extremely rare to find a place in Florida that has not succumbed to development. These 3 miles of coast line and 7 miles of waterfront do just that. Fort DeSoto Park is made up of five small islands, or keys: Madelaine Key, St. Jean Key, St. Christopher Key, Bonne Fortune Key, and Mullet Key, which is the mainland.
Here you can witness all types of wildlife, including rare species of birds, dolphins, fish, manatees, shrubs, sea grass, and mangroves. Visitors can kayak and canoe or snorkel, exploring every inch of the area’s waterways.
You can also enjoy the Barrier-Free Nature Trail that puts you within inches of trees that have populated the area since the Tocobaga Indians inhabited it from 1,000 A.D. to 1,500 A.D. Small pieces of pottery, animal bones, and shell tools have been found on the grounds, which offering camping to visitors.
Those who enjoy lots of activity will appreciate paved trails for running and cycling. In fact, roads that go through Fort DeSoto Park are frequently shut down to accommodate dozens of 5k races, triathlons, and cycling races.
There are ferry services that offer some great sightseeing on the water and a scenic path to your destination. You have the choice of jumping on a ferry boat from Fort DeSoto and visiting nearby Egmont Key, which can only be accessed by boat.
You’ll love Egmont Key’s historic lighthouse, which was built between 1857 and 1858 and used by the military. If you’re a snorkeler or scuba diver, you’ll love exploring the U.S.S. Narcissus, which sank just off the coast of Egmont Key January 4, 1866 with no loss of life. It has been declared an Underwater Archeology Site.
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