Nestled on five islands, Fort De Soto Park has two main beaches where you can enjoy sunbathing, shelling, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, boating, fishing, hiking, biking, camping, and wildlife watching.
One of them is East Beach located on the southeast shore stretching along the Tampa Bay. It is less popular than North Beach, which means more quietness and tranquility in the absence of big crowds. East Beach was opened in 1963 and still has that charm of the 60s. At its far east end, there is an unofficial nude beach.
Location and Access
Southwest of Tampa and south of St. Petersburg, Fort De Soto Park is located at 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde. The park is ADA accessible. The beach has no admission fee but in order to get to it, you have to enter Fort De Soto Park and pay $5 for entrance. This fee also includes parking. There is a spacious parking lot within a short walking distance from the beach.
There is a public wheelchair-accessible restroom and bathhouse with showers to rinse the sand off. There are picnic spots with tables, shelters, and grills at various locations. There are also pavilions for rent – you must reserve them in advance. The kids will love the playground, which is about 150 meters away from the gazebos. There are swings for adults and children.
East Beach at Fort De Soto Park is one of the best beaches in the Tampa area. The sand is not super fine but it’s white and clean. The water is not always clear, sometimes it’s brown, with debris and seaweed. However, when the weather is good and there isn’t too much seaweed swimming is fantastic. If you like nude sunbathing and swimming, go to the far east end where the unofficial nude beach is situated.
It is a nice peaceful place to spend a day picnicking, swimming, and just relaxing while watching the birds, waves, and ships passing in the channel. There is a good view of the Skyway Bridge and it’s amazing in the sunrise. However, don’t expect to see the sunset since the area faces east.
There is some amazing wildlife. The beach visitors have good chances to see dolphins in the bay. The area is also great for birding.
- 45 minutes from Tampa, FL
- 2 hours 10 minutes from Fort Myers, FL
- 2 hours 10 minutes from Orlando, FL
Additionally, there's a number of beaches near East Beach (Fort De Soto Park) which you can visit: