Voted America's Number 1 Beach in 2008 by

Voted America's Number 1 Beach in 2005 by Dr. Beach !

The following information is from The website.

Fort De Soto Park was named America’s Top Beach by TripAdvisor, the world's largest online travel community.

Citing a “spectacular combination of soft white sand, calm, clear water and a laid-back atmosphere,” the popular online travel network put the park’s North Beach at the top of its annual best-of list, based on TripAdvisor's Popularity Index.
This marks the second time in three years the pristine Pinellas County beach has received top honors on an annual “best-of” list. In 2005 Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a.k.a. “Dr. Beach,” named Fort De Soto the nation’s #1 Beach .

Beaches are the number one recreational destination for Americans. These sandy playgrounds that line our coasts are the most extensive natural parks in the country.

The largest park within the Pinellas County Park System, this park consists of 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands. First opened on December 21, 1962, when the state toll road named the Pinellas Bayway was completed, this park was dedicated May 11, 1963, in perpetuity as a public park. Annual park attendance averages more than 2.7 million visitors.

The 12-inch mortar battery, located at the fort for which the park was named, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Adding to the historical interest at Fort De Soto, two British breech-loading, rapid-fire rifles of 1890 vintage were installed in March 1982. Markers showing the original building locations and a Quartermaster Storehouse Museum add to the park's historic interest.

Renovation and conversion of the East Beach concession building to a picnic shelter was completed in 1991. The new picnic shelter can easily accommodate 200 visitors.

Complementing the park's natural and historic features are:

1. Over 7 miles of waterfront, including almost three miles of the finest white sand beach in the United States.
2. An 800-foot-long with eleven floating docks.
3. A 238-site family camping area with facilities including picnic tables, grills, water, electricity, washers, dryers, sanitary disposal stations, modern restrooms, showers, play areas, and a camp store.
4. Two large swim centers including a food concession area located at the North Beach Swim Center.
5. Two fishing piers--one on Tampa Bay (500 feet long) and the other on the Gulf (1,000 feet long). Each pier has a food and bait concession.
6. Fourteen large group picnic shelters incorporating award-winning aesthetic and functional design features.
7. Twenty storm-resistant public restroom buildings featured in several national publications.
8. A snack bar/souvenir shop offering a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico.
9. A 6.8 mile, 12-foot-wide asphalt recreation trail connects the campground with the North and East Beach Swim Centers and the historic fort.
10. A 2.25-mile recreational canoe trail.
11. A 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. 12. Quartermaster Museum
13. 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. download brochure
14. Youth camping area for organized youth groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Church groups, etc.



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