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Fort Desoto State Park Camping

Brian Laundries Family Visited Fort De Soto Campground In September Family Attorney Says

Fort DeSoto Park Campground Review | Coastal Camping in Florida

You can find the latest on the investigation involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie here. for breaking news push alerts and .

TAMPA A public records request from Pinellas County has revealed that Brian Laundries mother Roberta Laundrie checked into a campground at Ft. De Soto Park in early September.

The record of registered campers shows Mrs. Laundrie checked into Site 001-Waterfront between Sept. 6 and Sept. 8.

According to the Laundries family attorney Steven Bertolino, the family camped from Sept. 6 til Sept. 7 and they all left the park.

Brian, Gabby Petitos fiancé remains the sole person of interest in the investigation into her disappearance and homicide.

The FBI announced last week that the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie pursuant to a federal grand jury indictment related to his activities following Petitos death.

The grand jury indictment said Laundrie used a Capitol One Bank debit card and a personal identification number for two Capital One Bank accounts knowingly and with intent to defraud between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 in Wyoming and elsewhere. Using the accounts, he obtained things of value aggregating to $1,000 or more.

Pinellas County has directed 8 On Your Side to the FBI Office in Denver for any additional information requests.

Fort De Soto Campground Information:

3500 Pinellas Bayway South, Tierra Verde, FL 33715 Information Line: 582-2100

A 236-site family camping area with facilities including picnic tables, grills, water, electricity, washers, dryers, sanitary disposal stations, modern restrooms, showers, play areas, and a campground store. Special camp sites for camping with pets.

  • Fort De Soto Park Camp Office hours: Friday 9 a.m. 9 p.m. / Saturday thru Thursday 9 a.m. 6 p.m. / Phone hours: Monday thru Friday 8 a.m. 5 p.m.
  • For other assistance: Contact the Pinellas County Sheriffs Office non-emergency number 582-6200. For emergency dial 9-1-1.

Go To Egmont Key From Fort De Soto Park

Egmont Key is a wild island that figured into two centuries of Florida history from a lighthouse built in 1858 to a role in the Spanish American War to being the site where Seminole Indians were held before they were moved to reservations.

The stunning island, encircled by beaches, is a state park and wildlife refuge across the mouth of Tampa Bay, accessible only by boat.

The ruins of the 18th century Fort Dade, which once had 300 inhabitants, are scattered around the island.

Nearly half the island is closed to visitors as a wildlife reserve, but youll still find six miles of trails for hiking. The island is also a popular snorkeling and swimming destination.

The Egmont Key Ferry runs daily at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. from Fort De Sotos Bay Pier. Passengers are given three hours to explore and enjoy the island. A third ferry is offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Read more

Egmont Key: 5 things I love about it

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Fort De Soto Park Campground

Thomas MThis park is truly a hidden gem.A hidden gem. Each camp site is cut into a jungle like forest. You cannot see your neighbor because of the thick low hanging palm trees. Many nice bath houses on the property. One washer and drier at each bath house. Water all around you. A really nice camp ground. Beaches close by.AnnieWonderful except.First time camping here, we only got to stay one night due to the camp grounds being booked and full a lot. The campsite is beautiful, real florida! The no-see-um bugs werent bad. Nice, clean bathrooms and sites. There arent fire pits at each site, but a grill is there. The only thing that did not work well is that the sites are really close to each other so you are very much at the mercy of the consideration and camping etiquette level of your fellow campers. Our campsite was flooded with light from nearby campers setting up flood lights or leaving their camper outdoor lights on ALL NIGHT. Part of the fun of camping is being in nature and the dark at night – so I can see stars and feel connected to nature. Bright light at night is also bad for wildlife at night. I understand needing lights around the public bathrooms, but I wish the managers of the campground enforced or at least had signs posted about the importance of and just, curtesy of, not only being quiet after 10 but also turning off the outdoor flood lights and camper lights and string lights, etc.Joanna TNo-See-Ums ParadiseDisbetDebbie WAwesome two weeks.JC

Dog Beach & Paw Playground

DeSoto State Park

Locals love Fort DeSoto because its one of the only places in the area where you can let your dog play off-leash at the beach – here, theres plenty of room for them to run and splash. If your pup gets messy, the Paw Playground has hoses so you can wash the sand out of those paws on your way out.

The shallow surrounding waters of Egmont Key are perfect for snorkeling it’s an ideal place for experiencing some one-on-one time with Mother Nature.

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Things To Do At Fort Desoto

Fort DeSoto Park offers a variety of recreational opportunities including two swimming areas, numerous trails and a boat launch facility. Visitors can learn about the history fort by visiting the free Quartermaster Museum and touring the ruins, including the mortar battery listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Anglers can fish in the bay and the gulf from piers on either end of the park, both equipped with concessions selling bait and fishing equipment. Kayak and bike rentals are also available, as well as food concessions and a souvenir shop.


Fort De Soto Parks Historic Fort And Museum

At the heart of the park lies Fort DeSotos namesake fort. At ground level, artillery holds and firing galleys make up the coquina shell forts base – here, kids of all ages can have a little fun with the echoes their voices make in these cool, mysterious rooms. Climb to the top of the fort where cannons point at Tampa Bay for sweeping views of the park and beyond. You can also visit the small Quartermaster Museum within the park.

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Bay Pier Closed For Pier Replacement Project

Bay Pier at Fort De Soto Park will be closed to the public through Winter 2023 as Pinellas County completes the Bay Pier Replacement Project. Parking will be reduced in this area due to construction. The Egmont Key ferry launch has been temporarily relocated to the boat ramp at the north end of the park. Funding for this project is provided by the Federal Transit Authority and Penny for Pinellas.

    • Fishing license is required throughout the park, including fishing piers.

Beach Parking Permit:

  • Pay booth collects the daily parking fees of $5. Annual parking passes available. If you have a valid Disabled Parking Permit/Tag, you are not required to pay the daily or annual fee. A fee is not collected from persons entering the park on foot or by bicycle.

Whether you are sitting on the beach or kayaking near the still water’s edge at Fort De Soto, you find yourself absorbed in the abundance of natural beauty for as far as the eye can see. The complexity of the ecology is not immediately apparent, but the park offers the greatest diversity of systems just about anywhere. Emerging from the wealth of bird life, sea life, wild life and plant life is the majestic tapestry called Fort De Soto.

Fort De Soto was named Americas Top Beach for 2009 by Trip Advisor, the world’s largest online travel community. In 2005, Dr. Beach, named Fort De Soto the nations #1 Beach.

Annual park attendance averages more than 2.7 million visitors.

From Our Hotel In Redington We Went Over 2 Toll Bridges One

Camping at Desoto State Park, Fort Payne, Alabama

From our hotel in redington we went over 2 toll bridges one was $.75 and the other was $.50 — have your quarters ready! The $5 entrance fee can be cash or card. Ask for a map- there are 2 one for driving and the other is more a shelling guide The north beach snack bar as a wide selection of food as well as sunblock towels tshirts blankets and some flotation devices! Don’t panic if you forgot something beachy– they probably have it

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Fort De Sotos North Beach: Most Popular

North Beach is probably the most popular, and this is the beach that gets all the praise.

With a massive parking lot to accommodate the crowds and 10 picnic shelters, its a magnet for beachgoers, and it can be difficult to find a secluded section of beach on weekends.

A section of North Beach is set aside as a sanctuary for shorebirds, off-limits to visitors, and the crowds tend to gravitate northward near the picnic shelters.

If you hike south of the sanctuary, back towards the pier, you are more likely to get away from the crowds.

The North Beach has four restrooms, including two near the parking area, a food concession and gift shop.

Fort Desoto Campground Amenities

The park doesnt have manyamenities though. It has a couple of small playgrounds. And of course, bath houses with showers. They are older but clean.

But quite honestly, with the ocean as your backdrop to this campground, you dont need much else. That being saidlets talk about Ft. DeSoto Park.

Lots to see and do nearby to Fort DeSoto Campground

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Fort De Soto Park Visitor Information

County parks are open 7 days per week from 7am to dusk.

Fishing pier hours are 7am to 11pm daily.

Beach parking permit fee: $5

No fee required if entering the park on foot or bicycle.

Kayak and canoe rentals are available in the park from Topwater Kayak Outpost.

  • 1 hour: $23 for single, $30 for double
  • 2 hours: $29 for single, $40 for double
  • 4 hours: $39 for single, $55 for double

Bicycle rentals are also available in the park from the Pedaling Pelican.

  • Hourly rates range from $8 per hour for a beach cruiser to $27 per hour for a fancy double train bike.

Wikimedia Commons

Rent a kayak and explore the mangrove forest.

Bird watch while hiking the trails.

Pack a picnic for lunch by the sea.

Bring your roller blades and get a workout in.

Spend a weekend camping in the park.

Take a guided nature tour – signup at park headquarters.

Bring your dog to the beach.

And so much more…

Bill DeGiulio

Having family in the Tampa Bay area we have the opportunity to visit this wonderful park often. No matter how many times we go, we never tire of the beautiful setting with its gorgeous white sand beaches and the abundance of activities that the park offers. Whether you are enjoying the beach, exploring the fort, or paddling out on the water there is an activity here for everyone. Fort De Soto is a true gem of the west-central Florida coast and definitely worth a visit should you find yourself in the area.

Dog Beach At Fort De Soto Park

DeSoto State Park

If you are bringing Fido to the beach, then the dog park near the Bay Pier is where you want to go.

The park has two fenced-in areas, one for large dogs and the other for small dogs, or you can let well-behaved pets loose to churn up some sand and swim in the bay.

Dog owners must have a leash handy but they are not required to be attached to your pet.

If you dont like dogs, then this is not your beach.

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Boating And Hiking Opportunities

There are also places to launch your boat if you desire, to explore the area or fish. In fact, there is a really cool 2 1/2 mile canoe trail, if you like to canoe or kayak.

There are also trails that can be used for biking or walking. And local businesses rent wind jammers and other aquatic equipment too. That way you can enjoy your time on the ocean.

If you want to just get into the park, it is only $5. Of course, if you are camping in the campground, your entrance fee to the park is included.

Things To Do When Visiting Fort De Soto Park In St Petersburg Florida

Traveling has always been one of my passions. I love the excitement of seeing new places and the thrill of experiencing different cultures.

Fort De Soto

Bill DeGiulio

If youve traveled to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area on the west coast of Florida, you may be familiar with Fort De Soto Park. This 1,100-acre park stands guard to Tampa Bay and is a virtual playground for the outdoor enthusiast. You name it, and this jewel of Pinellas County has it to offer. From fishing, boat ramps, nature trails, and kayak rentals to a dog park, camping facilities, ball fields, and a historic fort to explore, the list is endless. To top it all off, the white sandy beaches of Fort De Soto Park were named Americas Best Beach in 2009 by TripAdvisor, the worlds largest online travel community, and Best Beach for Families in 2014 by USA Today. What better way to get your fill of the great outdoors while in Florida than to visit this beautiful and historic park located at the southern end of St. Petersburg?

Fort De Soto Beach

Bill DeGiulio

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Three Miles Of Undeveloped Beaches In Florida


If you have a boat, this is a great place to launch from. The boat ramp is huge – 800 feet – with 11 floating docks. The parking lot has enough parking to handle all the tow vehicles on a busy weekend.

This is a great place to bring any size motor boat. You can quickly get into the Gulf of Mexico or Tampa Bay from here. If you have a smaller boat and you just want to putter around, you can stay in the backwaters of the park. There are several small islands you can visit without getting into the larger bodies of water.

Paddling Fun At Fort De Soto

Fort DeSoto Park Campsite 6 | Coastal Camping in Florida | Campsite Reviews

The best way to spot Florida manatees, graceful wading birds and other native creatures? Rent a canoe or kayak at the park, and explore the tidal waters that teem with wildlife. You may catch glimpses of turtles, cormorants, leaping mullet and other wildlife on this serene paddling trail in the mangroves. If you havent paddled a canoe or kayak before – no worries, its an easy paddle and no experience is necessary.

Your pup will have a blast exploring St. Pete/Clearwater’s dog-friendly beaches.

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Gift Shop & Snack Bars Have Everything You Need

Fort De Sotos expansive beaches and long trails can make you feel far away from civilization and dont we all crave that sometimes? Yet youre never far from essentials here. Out of reef-safe sunscreen? Need a snack? Seeking a souvenir? Head to the snack bar/gift shop that sits between North Beach and the historic fort, or the bait shop on the fishing pier, which sells food and mementos.

Kayaking At Fort De Soto Park

The beauty of the Fort De Soto Park campground is the preponderance of waterfront sites where you can launch a kayak directly from your site.

Day visitors can launch from the boat ramp near the park entrance, at Soldiers Hole across the park road from Dog Beach, or anywhere you can find access to water from the swale along park roads.

Kayak and canoe rentals are available in the campground, near the park office, and at Soldiers Hole, across from Dog Beach.

On a calm day, you can paddle out into Tampa Bay or out to the pristine beaches of Shell Key on the Gulf side. Shell Key is part of a preserve, which can also be reached by ferry from the park boat ramp.

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Fort De Soto Parks Paved And Natural Trails

The park’s seven-mile paved trail draws avid runners, cyclists and strollers alike. Walk, run, push a stroller or snap on your rollerblades. Or, load up to eight people on a covered surrey bike . On foot? Start at North Beach and make your way south, and explore the shorter nature trails that meander off the main paved one.

Whether you’re on land or water, sunset at Fort DeSoto is a truly transcendent experience.

East Beach At Fort De Soto Park

Camp Site 1 at Fort Desoto!

Another less-crowded option is the East Beach, unless there is a major event occupying its three huge pavilions.

Besides the picnic pavilions, the East Beach recreation area offers plenty of parking, a shady picnic area, and rest rooms, but the beach itself is a bit lackluster.

If you continue east past the beach park, youll drive out onto a point with a grassy beach where kite-boarders rule.

The nearest food concession for the East Beach is back at the Bay Pier, which also has a bait shop and its own beach access.

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History Of Fort De Soto

Before I get into all of the wonderful activities available at this outdoor paradise, perhaps a little history of the fort is in order? It was during the mid-19th century that the five keys located at the southern tip of St. Petersburg were first considered for fortification. Utilized for the blockade of Tampa Bay during the Civil War, the keys were abandoned at the end of the conflict until the late 19th century when the United States became involved in the Spanish American War. Feeling exposed and at risk, the citizens of Tampa demanded military defenses for the bay. Due to its close proximity to Cuba and the importance of the port facilities of Tampa, the Secretary of War agreed and ordered the construction of a permanent fort to defend the bay. In late 1898 construction began and by April of 1900, the fort was completed and officially named Fort De Soto, after the famous Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto.

Bill DeGiulio

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