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Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach

Peak District...
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Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach


We are at the Sandpiper Tradewinds in a few weeks and apart from hanging around on the beach and taking in a Dolphin Trip or similar was wondering what you would recommend. Not really wanting to do Busch Gardens as we will have just been to Orlando so want a break from the big parks. Will have our 10 yr old with us and we will have use of a car. Interested in islands/beaches which are good for shells and exploring too.


Brookneal, Virginia
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1. Re: Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach

Ft. DeSoto park is a Pinella county park.


so it's close to St. Pete Beach but it has


historic fort -

over 7 miles of waterfront, includes almost three miles of beautiful white sandy beach.

800-foot-long boat launching facility with eleven floating docks. see boat ramp permit

camping - 238-site family camping area with facilities

primitive youth camping area for organized youth groups

15 picnic shelters -reserve shelters online



Multipurpose trail - seven miles of paved trail connecting North Beach, East Beach, the boat ramp and the camping area. No motorized vehicles allowed.

two large swim centers including a food concession area located at the North Beach Swim Center

a lifeguard is on duty 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily on a seasonal basis from March to September

two fishing piers-each pier has a food and bait concession - Gulf & Bay Pier Hours: 7 a.m. - 11 p.m.- Help for Hooked Birds external website

ferry service to Egmont Key

concession/snack bar/souvenir shop


Restroom Update

As an additional cost-saving measure, some restrooms in county parks are closed weekdays. However, facilities near most popular user areas remain open during all hours of park operation. All restrooms in county parks will be open on weekends. See park diagram for details

Virtual Tour - 360° Views of Ft. De Soto Park

item Gulf Pier

item North Beach

item Campground

item Shelter 14

item Pier 1

item Boat Ramp

item Museum

item Fort

item Barrier Free Trail

item Dog Park

Quartermaster Museum

6.8 mile, 12-foot-wide asphalt recreation trail connects the campground with the North and East Beach Swim Centers and the historic fort.

2.25-mile recreational canoe trail.

1-mile nature trail in the Arrowhead Picnic area, and a 3/4 mile nature trail in the Soldiers' Hole area provides a glimpse of some the native fauna and flora

2,200 foot Barrier-Free Nature Trail is a self-guided interpretive trail providing access to nature for all visitors to Fort De Soto Park, regardless of their physical abilities.

dog park - Fort De Soto has the only dog park where dogs are allowed on the beach in a designated area. There are also 2 fenced in areas near the beach for large and small dogs with water stations - view dog park- (beach entrance is at the far southwest corner of dog park, not shown) Please review dog park rules

It'll cost you $5 to get into the park...

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2. Re: Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach

Venice Beach is the shark tooth capital of the world. I also hear the town of Tarpon Springs is really neat but have never been.

There are a few aquariums in the area as well and downtown St. Pete has several musuems.

St. Pete Beach...
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3. Re: Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach

Are you looking for things to do for children that are free or cheap, (and don't include theme parks)

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4. Re: Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach

From Fort DeSoto, you might want to take the ferry out to Egmont Key. This is an undeveloped island at the mouth of Tampa Bay. There is usually very good shelling, as well as a lighthouse, sea bird nesting areas, and the remains of an old fort and town (foundations and such). Very beautiful and interesting! Oh, and there are also lots of gopher tortoises walking about, which kids generally love!

For more good shelling, take the Shell Key Shuttle.


In both cases, you will likely see dolphins on the boat ride. On the way out to Egmont, also keep watch for sea turtles, rays, manatees and sharks.

Bring plenty of water, snacks, hats and sunscreen on either or both trips, as these are not Disney-esque parks. Just nature, with no concession stands, shops or services. So peaceful and lovely :-)

Have fun!

Peak District...
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5. Re: Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach

sounds good - just what I wanted!

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6. Re: Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach

Happy to help :-)

Alderson, WV
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7. Re: Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach

If you have seen the movie dolphin tale (the dolphin who gets the prosthetic tale), you could visit the real dolphin it is in Clearwater.

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8. Re: Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach


What info can you share about Shell Key Shuttle?

A bit of background, my 2 adult daughters and I are visiting Indian Rocks Beach in late July/early August. We are avid shell "shoppers". We would prefer not to make the trip to Sanibel or Marco Island if not necessary so found info on TA on Shell Key Shuttle.

Is the shelling worth the cost (BTW - we live in PA so our requirements are small)? Have you done this? Any info is greatly appreciated.


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9. Re: Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach

"Is the shelling worth the cost?"

This is really hard to answer. Most days....definitely, yes! When I want shells (or want to take visitors to a place that will have shells), that is where we go, and we are never disappointed. Sometimes, there are more than we can pick up, sometimes not, but I have never been totally skunked there. It is not Sanibel though.

It is nature, so, of course, there are no guarantees, but I think it is worth the trip. :-)

Calgary, Canada
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10. Re: Trips within an hour or so of St Petes Beach

Hi Kelbel1234. Another place to find shells would be on Honeymoon Island. It isn't Sannibel, but there are lots of shells to be found. Take your water shoes - many of the larger ones will be in the water - but make sure you don't take the live ones (that is illegal). The north end is where the best shelling is - and you will find mounds of shells - fun to dig through.

We have a condo on Sand Key - and we find many fighting conch just lying on the beach after a storm and rough water. If there is any rough water during your stay - you might want to head over to the south end of the beach on Sand Key park first thing in the morning. In February the weather wan't nice - and there were beautiful small conch shells as far as the eye could see.

For MonkeyDennis - you could take a trip up to the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs. It is a a Greek village with lots of fun shops, Greek restaurants and sponge boat tours - and then spend the afternoon at Honeymoon Island shelling with the kids. The north end of the beach has lots of shells - just make sure each child has a bag to collect their treasures.

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