camp general store, camping, canoe rentals, Fort Desoto Park, gulf of mexico, kayaing in St. Petersburg, Kayaking, natural campground, outdoor activities, pet-friendly camping in Florida, Pinellas County, RV ing, snorkeling, waterfront sites
Fort Desoto Park, St. Petersburg, Florida
I almost hesitate to write about this or include photographs. It is in my adopted hometown, a place I’ve lived for the past thirty years for the most part. There is so much to like about Fort Desoto Park- which is partly why its beaches are constantly ranked some of the best in the United States.
We’ve gone bicycling around Fort Desoto Park, picnicked here, taken the dogs to the dog beach, kayaked, snorkeled and now most recently went camping in the campground located within the park.
When I think of all the things to do and the quality of the experience it is hard for me to imagine someone schlepping to the islands in the Caribbean if they’re looking for a laid back sun, fun and outdoor activities filled vacation. And if they’re looking for a great cultural experience with excellent arts and dining, downtown St. Petersburg is hard to beat. So really there is something here for everyone. But back to the park itself.
The campground does fill up quickly certain times of the year – usually when it is snowing up north between January and Easter to be fairly general about it. They don’t book everything online so if you’re looking for a weekend experience, get to the park early on Friday and get in line for the sites that haven’t been booked online. We did the first time and got right in no bother to a waterfront site. But you can also make a reservation online here.
There is an area for campers with pets and a no pet area as well. It is nicely wooded and the sites are quite natural. Someone has a video of their tenting experience on You Tube that gives you a great idea of what it is like there. You can rent canoes and kayaks nearby and the general store is filled with all sorts of things so you really don’t need to leave though there is an excellent gourmet market or two on the way into the park on the Pinellas Bayway.
Like many municipal parks and campgrounds, alcohol is not allowed. But most people are responsible and think Prohibition is a thing of the past and have a few drinks on their sites. The campground is large enough to spend some time cycling around and is great exercise and a great way to meet your fellow campers. The bathhouses are clean and located throughout the campground as you would expect.
You can reach the gulf beaches by bicycle fairly easily on the paved paths for cyclists. Pinellas County is really quite bicycle friendly these days. The beaches really are incredible and I would encourage you to go right the way out to the North Beaches. I’ve written about the Ferry that goes on a snorkeling trip in another blog entry and that’s another thing I would say not to miss. This goes to Egmont Key and Shell Key. Great for anyone who wants to snorkel or just go shelling.
You could quite easily spend two weeks here it is that comfortable. The rates are $35 for an RV or trailer and $30 for tents, vans and pop-ups. A seasonal fee of $3.50 is added for January through April reservations. It is well worth it, trust me on this.
So next time you’re in Florida with your RV, I would consider this park a must-see and visit for a minimum of a few days. Quite frankly, if you were to add some time in to visit the city of St. Petersburg and do the beaches, you’d be hard pressed to do it in under two weeks if you were to allow yourself adequate time here.
There’s a reason I still live here, I welcome you to discover it by camping at Fort Desoto Park.