I find myself torn between four and five stars on this campground. It turned out being everything we expected and more. As an camper with northern roots, I have found it hard to camp in Florida. This campground helped me relieve those worries.
I will start by saying that this campground is south of St. Pete and north of Ana Maria Island. We drove down from Orlando and it took us under two hours. We hit some traffic on 275 and the Parkway, but it is expected. There are two tolls (1.00 and .75) before you hit the park. One thing we learned and a good pointer is that if you intend on going into the park (which you probably will), you should go in and register BEFORE you go to the beach, even if before check in time. By paying for your site, they provide you a beach pass for two vehicles, which saves $5 each on parking.
The check in process was very simple. We arrived about an hour early and got everything set up. We were told to stop back between 12:30 and 1 (Advise that check in is at 1pm, so getting in early is not a guaranteed or expected result). The parking lot is a bit awkward, as the camper/trailer line blocks views and actual spots for cars..but it is trivial.
We had rented site 28 (mostly because it was one of the only ones available and best of the litter). There are three loops, and we were in the 1-86 loop. There are no pets and no RV's allowed, which was perfect for us. Most of the outer side of the loop has some sort of water. Water does not mean access. It seemed that the higher numbers (40+) had less access to water and more of a mangrove area. Depths of sites also varied widely. We must have done the camping gods some good, because we hit the site karma. Our site was nice and deep, with a weird little island (former tree/stump) in the middle. This actually made us divide the tent area up into two sides, which worked out well. The site has plenty of options for both clothes lines and hammocks. We opted to put the "kitchen" towards the back of the site with the water view, and fire bin (rented for $3 from the campground office). We had neighbors on both sides and across (this places always sells out) and it was still fairly secluded. They did a great job at keeping a lot of natural growth to maintain privacy and a true tropical feel. There was plenty of shade, but also plenty of sunshine when you wanted it. This site also gets direct sunlight after about 9am (based on mid october), so plan accordingly. It gets toasty :) We have an inflatable raft that we took out in the water. We were greeted by dolphins, sting rays and manatees.
The bath house is pretty central and literally across the road from our site. We had expected a much further walk based on the map, but it was just a 1 minute walk. They were ample, but nothing to write home about. They clean them daily, so they are not bad. The showers leave a lot to be desired with water pressure and privacy. They share a common area with stalls and cheap liners that offer little privacy. Again, it is camping so this isn't a complaint, but a warning. Also, bring your own toilet paper.
There is a playground with good swings and also a sturdy playground that offered plenty of opportunity for my four year old to blow off some steam. The ground is all recycled rubber, which I love as a parent.
The campground store is nice and good for essentials if you don't want to take the 15/20 minute drive to publix or 7 minute drive to 7-11. Firewood is a bit overpriced at $9 per bundle and the fire buckets are cheap at $3 per night. They also have basic food and camping supplies. Note that there is no alcohol allowed in the park, including the campground. All I can say is that you should use common sense. This is a family friendly place. They also rent bikes and kayaks.
The site was just a 10 minute drive to north beach, which is our favorite. There is plenty to do in the area. Overall, I love this place and look forward to coming back many times in the future. Note that they do start booking 6 months out and open up 10% of the sites for the weekend each friday at 7am if you want to try and get lucky.
We take our RV once a year to Fort De Soto. We have a dog so we stay in the dog section right on the water. It is beautiful, shaded and we have access to the water on our kayaks from our back yard. Love this place. Too hot in Summer so head north but awesome in the winter.
Fort De Soto is a beautiful campground. Many sites are right on the water. The sites are very well maintained and mostly separated from others by trees. The bathhouses are good. I absolutely love the general store, it has everything that you may need. I have camped here over 5 times and will certainly continue going.
Large sites w lots of privacy. Fantastic place to kayak, ride bikes, explore history. Park staff are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. It’s not always easy to get a reservation but so worth it. This is a Pinellas county gem for sure.
This is a great park on the gulf near St Pete's beach. Camp ground is fantastic with great shower facilities and even has a day room with fire place. The best part is there is an offleash dog beach.
Long sites mostly waterfront. A dog friendly section and a no dog area. A nice little store. The park includes access to miles of beaches, a top 10 in the USA dog park, a dog beach, free fishing piers. Bicycle, hiking and exercise trails. A washer and dryer at every restroom. A playground. This park has it all. Every Friday they release 10% of their sites for the next week. It is a very popular park for good reason. There are low branches to watch for and some curbs that are a parking nuisance.
Very nice walk to everything beach is a good hike really need to drive or ride bikes. No sewer but pump out small store with necessities bike rental are also available. Campfires but must have a pit we stay here alot
One of our favorite local parks. Always enjoy visiting. Husband enjoys fishing and I love birding
Reserve well in advance for this popular and lovely campground. Nice bathrooms, lots of bike trails, private sites(some right on the water), wonderful beaches. Lots to do and close to St Pete.
Ft. Desoto campground is very nice and off the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. It is a nice place to fish or take your dogs to the dog beach. There can be a lot of small sharks in this area, so be aware. I've also seen many manatees in the colder months. There is even a secret, secluded Island about a 45 min canoe ride out where you can camp as well. That is my favorite spot!