Last month we stayed at Fort De Soto Campground in Pinellas County, Florida. It was our first time venturing off of our Thousand Trails membership and trying out a state or county park. We absolutely loved it! It was an excellent location for kids and adults; none of us wanted to leave when the weekend was over.
Booking Fort De Soto is easy through the Pinellas County Park Website. It was fun to browse through the campground and specifically pick the site we wanted to stay at. They even include photos of each site so you know exactly what you are getting! The campground is located within walking distance of the state park and campground visitors receive free entry. The fort area is really neat for kids to explore, with old canons and bunkers built into the dunes. A short climb will get you up to the top of the dunes, overlooking a beautiful beach that is also open to park guests.
Check out my photo album on my Facebook page by clicking here.
The sites are very individual – each one is surrounded by trees and greenery to give you your own defined space. There are no slabs but the shell/sand ground wasn’t bad, it still felt clean. We stayed right near the playground and comfort station, and ended up showering everyday in their station because it was so clean! On that note, it’s important to remember there is NO sewer hookup, so plan accordingly.
We visited over Memorial Day weekend, and for a Florida beach on a holiday the crowd was minimal near the Fort area. The water is very clear and the sand is fine – no worry for shells or anything sharp. From the beach we walked over to a long fishing pier that was very busy. Pinellas County runs a snack bar/gift shop near the pier that sells hot food and other treats like snow cones. There is some seating outside the store with umbrellas for shade.
The pier offered great views of the beach and bay. There were groups of manatees frequenting the shoreline as well as several dolphins. Photos of the pier are in my Facebook album (click here).
Back at the campground, there is also access to water for both fishing and enjoying the beach. It is a little spread out, so we were happy to have our golf cart to get around. On the longer stretch of shoreline, crabs were all over the place when the tide was out and we spent hours just digging them from the sand. They were bigger than fiddler crabs but only had one claw that they weren’t very aggressive with. It was great for the kids to be so entertained in the outdoors! When the tide came up, the water was still calm enough for them to wade in and enjoy. There were also areas that were good for fishing, so we did that for awhile as well.
Fort De Soto will be one of my top campgrounds in Florida, due mostly to the tree cover that accompanied the gulf breeze. It was cool and the air felt fresh. The atmosphere was calm and it was a safe place for kids to run around. We had no issue with raccoons or bugs, although a squirrel did manage to open a bag of donuts I left out and help themselves. 🙂
This is a can’t miss for families!