Fort De Soto Park lies on five islands and 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 North Beach, located on the Gulf coast at the northwest end of the park. It’s a very family-friendly place where alcohol is not allowed so you’re not going to encounter big noisy companies.
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.
After entering the park, follow signs to North Beach. Once you arrive there, you will see a huge parking lot called Anderson Boulevard Parking.
North Beach has wheelchair-accessible restrooms at various locations. There is also a bathhouse where you can change and take a shower to rinse off the sand. All the facilities are well-maintained and don’t smell.
If you don’t bring your own food, don’t worry – there is a snack bar right next to the bathhouse where you can get some basic snacks, which is open from 10 a. m. to 4 p. m. on weekdays and from 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The beach is great for adults and kids alike. It’s quite long and there are some areas where you feel as though you’re secluded.
The sand is white and talcum-soft, great for shell collecting. The water is aqua-blue and green, calm and so clear that you can see schools of fish swimming past your feet. There is a natural sandbar not far from the shore. During low tide, the water on your way to it will be as low as thigh-deep.
Kayaking, water skiing, snorkeling, boogie boarding are some popular activities at the beach. There are no lifeguards on duty. Be careful when swimming.
There is an unofficial gay area at North Beach. If you want to get to it, park at the far end of the parking lot, then walk, cross the “rainbow bridge”, and wade across a shallow lagoon. Once you get to the beach, continue to your right until you get to the end of the island. You will find yourself in a small unofficial gay area.
- 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 North Beach (Fort De Soto Park) which you can visit: