Fort De Soto Park has a whole section dedicated to dogs, and it is renowned as one of the top dog-friendly beaches in Florida. At Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park, your canine companion will enjoy playing in fenced-in areas and causing a splash. Fresh drinking water and dog showers are also available, in addition to restrooms.
Before you scroll down to this guide, “Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park,” check out: Can Huskies Swim? (2023) and Do Bernedoodles Like to Swim? (2023).
What Is the History of Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park?
With a fascinating history, Fort De Soto is a fun place to visit. These keys were strategically located along Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico but were abandoned during the Spanish American War. The citizens of Tampa Bay and the nearby ports sought protection in a fort built nearby.
Hernando De Soto, the famous Spanish explorer, named Fort De Soto in 1900. The post contained 29 buildings, including a guardhouse, a blacksmith shop, an administration building, a mess hall with a kitchen, a bakery, and a storehouse. It also featured a large barracks, hospital, and carpenter shop.
Fort De Soto was relocated to Fort Morgan in 1910, where most of the troops were stationed. The government closed Fort De Soto shortly thereafter. As a result of the fort’s abandonment in 1923, it was demolished.
Originally purchased from the federal government for $12,500 in 1938, the park has been a popular tourist attraction ever since. Once World War II began, the federal government repurchased the property so it could be used as a bombing range. As a result of the war, the United States Army no longer needed the land, so Pinellas County bought it back.
Pinellas County opened a public park in December 1962. Fort De Soto was defended by Battery Laidley and Battery Bigelow. Battery Laidley is the main battery, while guests can explore Battery Laidley.
Where Is It Located?
Over 100 acres of undeveloped Gulf of Mexico shoreline cover this park on the south side of Tampa and St. Petersburg, as well as hardwood trees, wetlands, and mangroves. Many tourists visit every year because of the clear waters.
You must drive past Tierra Verde in order to reach Fort De Soto’s dog beach. In order to enter the park, you will be required to pay a toll of $5. It’s quite reasonable when you compare it with any other dog-friendly beach. To find the pet playground, just follow the signs.
Setting up your tent involves opening the umbrella and getting a little shade, then putting the chairs in place so that you can view the water and keep a watchful eye on your dog while you are out there.
What to Bring
You and your dog will stay safe and hydrated if you arrive prepared for a long, successful beach day. You can seek some shade under a beach umbrella or tent. Be sure to pack a dog bowl and a cooler filled with water. When you’re at the beach, you need to stay hydrated!
Toss a ball or a few toys on the sand or water to keep your pup occupied while you play. It’s also a good idea to bring poop bags and extra towels!
Are There Any Restrictions?
This beach park always welcomes furry friends along, but leashes are required around the park. Dog beaches and covered dog parks are the only places where they are allowed to run free. Unfortunately, your furry friends are not allowed on the fishing pier, in the buildings, or on any other public beach.
- You are responsible for disposing of your pet’s poop, so be sure to do so.
- Leashes should not exceed six feet in length.
- It is necessary to use voice restraints.
- You are responsible for your pet’s behavior, as well.
How Much Is It?
Vehicles without trailers can be parked on the beach for $5. A welcome station about a mile from the park entrance has payment booths, and you must cross both the boat ramp and campground entrances.
The daily parking fees and annual parking fees are not applicable if you have a valid disability permit. Visitors on foot and cyclists don’t have to pay fees. Those who are over 65 can get a $55 annual pass or a $75 annual pass. If you plan to visit often, this can be a more affordable way to enter the park regularly with your pet.
What Activities Are Available Nearby?
Once you reach the park, there are plenty of things you can do with your dog. Whether you like watersports or just want to enjoy something laidback, you may want to try one or all of these activities.
Kayaking and Canoeing
A self-guided 2.25-mile recreational canoe trail is a popular way to experience Fort De Soto. Among the wildlife, you can see are manatees, dolphins, and plenty more. From Topwater Kayak Outpost, you can rent kayaks and canoes for the day. You’ll need a guidebook, so make sure you pick one up.
It depends on what type of rental you choose and how long you intend to keep it. An individual must have a valid driver’s license and be at least 18 years of age. It is unlawful to drink alcohol or use drugs.
Buona Ristorante is a family-owend Italian restaurant. The service is excellent, and the food is delicious and reasonably priced. Besides vegan and vegetarian fare, they also offer a wide variety of other foods. This is a great lunch or dinner choice. There is also free Wi-Fi available.
For a bike ride through Fort De Soto, there are paved paths that wind through the area. You’ll get a chance to see the beach, Battery Laidley, and more on this tour of the entire park. Pedaling Pelican offers bike rentals or you can bring your own. Beach cruisers cost $8 per hour and deluxe double train bikes cost $27 per hour.
A variety of trails are available at Fort De Soto, whether you want to get in touch with nature or see the sights. North Beach, East Beach, and the campground are connected by a seven-mile paved trail. A fun trail like this is always in demand by rollerbladers, bikers, and joggers.
Throughout the park, you will find picnic shelters and tables. Picnic shelters for large groups are available in 14 different locations. In the park, twenty buildings designed specifically to withstand storms have been constructed in a unique structure and design.
Fort De Soto offers 238 campsites with facilities for family camping. Visiting the park for a few days is the perfect way to indulge in some sightseeing.
A camp store, washers, dryers, modern restrooms, showers, play areas, and sanitary disposal stations are also available at the campground.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is a designated part of the beach just for dogs, and they can be off-leash.
There is a modest $5 parking fee at the park.
Dogs should avoid the fishing pier and buildings at Fort De Soto Park.
Conclusion for “Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park”
Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park is worth checking out, especially with such affordable pricing. It’ll be hard to top these views while your dog enjoys playing off-leash with other beach-goers.
What about a longer stay? The campground has picnic tables, charcoal grills, water, electricity, and a sanitary disposal station. You can also rent a fire pit from the camp store or bring along a portable fireplace.
If you find this guide, “Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park” helpful, check out:
- Is Santa Monica Beach Dog Friendly? (2023)
- Is Daytona Beach Dog Friendly? (2023)
- Can Goldendoodles Swim? (2023)
If you want to see more of this dog beach, watch “Fort De Soto Park’s Dog Beach” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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