Friday, August 17, 2012

A Day at Ft. DeSoto

Stepping back in time, we take a brief look at Ft. DeSoto in Pinellas County Florida.  I know I post a lot about Florida, but it is one of my favorite vacation places, and Ft. DeSoto is a "must visit" every time we go.  

Last year we were there in November, somewhat later than normal, and it was unseasonably cool that week.   As usual we headed out to Ft. DeSoto for the afternoon, only this time instead of fishing we rented bikes.  This was something we had wanted to do for years, but it was always too hot.  Now was our chance!  The temperature was in the 70s and there was a nice breeze.

Practically everywhere you can go by car, there is a separate bike lane.  We had a grand time, and put in several miles of tooling around, stopping for lunch at the snack bar next to the Gulf Pier.

Our method of transportation today (mine has the basket).
This was our view at lunch.  It is hard to tell from this photo, but the specks you see are really dragonflies...large dragonflies...and lots of them.  This pier faces the Gulf of Mexico and is a great place for fishing or just strolling along watching the birds.

Gulf Pier
Just up the road from here is the Bay Pier, which faces Tampa Bay.  Between these two piers is where Tampa Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico.  It is definitely a beautiful place.

Beach at Ft. DeSoto with a view of the Sunshine Skyway.
There are still remnants from the war at the Fort, and many of the rooms are open for exploration. 

Ft. DeSoto has something for everyone including swimming, boating, wind surfing, fishing, picnic areas, bike and kayak rental, and offers great photo opportunities.  There are also several snack bars and a gift shop.

I am looking forward to my next visit and more biking and fishing this fall.


  1. That sounds so fun...renting bikes. The older I get the more hesitant I am to ride my bike anywhere other than on a bike trail.

    That's interesting that there would be that many dragonflies. I don't think I have been anywhere that I have seen many..if any.

  2. Looks like a lovely way to spend the day. How I love dragonflies. There were large, black ones which were everywhere the other night as I did my usual walk along the creek. There must have been a hatch of mosquitoes or some other insect to keep them that active. It sure was a treat and I'll bet you enjoyed their aerial dance on your Ft. DeSoto outing, also.

  3. Hi Linda,
    I live in Florida and I've never heard of Ft. deSoto. It sounds like a place I would love to visit. Is it near Tampa?

  4. Cheryl- It was a lot of fun, and the bike paths were well separated from the driving lanes and there wasn't much traffic - only the occasional car. I wish the dragonflies showed up better. They were amazing!

    Hilary- I am looking forward to riding there again. I'd also love to walk along your creek (minus the mosquitos - we have plenty here). ;) I'm not sure what the dragonflies were eating that afternoon. Or maybe they were simply our entertainment!

    Angela- Ft. DeSoto is part of the Pinellas County park system and is about directly south of St. Pete. From St. Pete you go past the Don Ceasar, through Tierra Verde and across the Pinellas Bayway. So I guess the answer is yes, sort of. From Tampa you would take I-275 to the Pinellas Bayway (54th Ave.) which goes left at Hwy 679. There is a small toll on the way out, but none on the way back. It would make a great day trip from Tampa if you like a back to nature experience. There is food and restrooms, but no restaurants or hotels, etc.

  5. Oh WOW... so many dragonflies! I haven't been to FL since I was a child. Oh wait, we took a cruise and I was in a set of shops for an hour or two there LOL... but I tell you what, that sounds like an amazing place to visit!

  6. Hi Linda .. Ft deSoto - looks just wonderful .. and what a great idea taking bikes instead of driving everywhere .. sounds a good place to know about - should I ever get to Florida ..

    Cheers Hilary

  7. Looks like an interesting part of Florida. I've only been once in my adulthood years, but I'd like to go back to explore a bit.

  8. Katherine- I had never seen so many dragonflies in one place, or ones so big. It is a beautiful place whether you want to bike, picnic, fish, boat or all of these.

    Hilary- The biking was fun, but we didn't cover the whole island by bike since it had been years since we'd ridden.

    P.J.- It is definitely interesting. We see something new every time we go.


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