Fort De Soto Park, Pinellas County

For the camping enthusiasts who loves being on the water: Fort De Soto park in Pinellas County is a wonderful option! This is not a state park, but rather a county part and the largest in Pinellas County, Florida.  Fort De Soto Park actually is made up of interconnected islands. The park features beach access, canoeing/kayaking launch sites that lead to the inter coastal waterway and of course the Fort for which it is name.  Biking, bird watching and walking the trails are all great options as well.  All are including in the entrance fee to the park: $5!  We began going to this park for the beach.  It is conveniently located, clean and has restroom/shower facilities directly off the beach.  The showers are a big deal when you have toddlers with sand in all their crooks and crevices.  For our family, it was an easy day trip to the beach, as opposed to the over two-hour drive to the east coast of Florida.  On one such visit, I implored my husband to drive through the campsite and we just fell in love.  We had no idea that there were campsites ON THE WATER.  The campsite entrance  is a separate entrance from where beach goers are but its on the water- it is actually a key itself. It has 238 campsites with 85 of them on the water.

Once we took our tour, I began laying the plans for our FIRST family camping trip.  The weekend we picked just so happened to coincide with the weekend my brother, an avid camper, was visiting. So we just had him tag along!  We booked a campsite right on the waters edge because we were able to pull our boat right up to the seawall and dock right there. The nightly rate is $30 but for just two dollars more you can be right on the water. We absolutely loved camping here and plan to go back again, this time with our pop up camper! We were able to go fishing, kayaking, biking, and head to the beach! Plus the playground at the campground was conveniently located. If you leave the campsite and go into the park you have the fort (which I highly recommend taking a tour of),  kayak tours, paddle board rentals & more! Bike paths are abundant in the park. To go into the park is just $5 for the whole day!
Pros: Everything stated above plus it is kept clean and well maintained facilities.
Cons: Racoons- enough said there. Also the boat launch is a bit of a drive from the actual campground but they allow you to park your boat trailer and truck there free of charge.

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