Saturday, March 31, 2018

Ft. DeSoto County Park–St. Petersburg

Gulf Beach

Another week went by, and we were ready for another new biking excursion.  Bill and Linda had bikes at Ft. DeSoto before and really liked it, so we made plans to go there on our last Friday in Bradenton.

Fort DeSoto is a Pinellas County Park, across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge from us in Bradenton.  There’s a campground there, as well as beaches and fishing piers on both the Gulf side and Bay side, and miles of biking trails.

Ft. DeSoto map

We headed out early on Friday morning, crossing the bridge,

Crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

and met up with Bill and Linda at the Fort parking lot.  We got the bikes off the Jeeps, and did a little exploring around the Fort first.

Fort DeSoto Cannon


Fort DeSoto was an active fort during the Spanish-American War, protecting Tampa Bay from the Spanish.

This prisoner doesn’t look Spanish!!

Prisoner Tom

Artillery storage built into the hill overlooking the Gulf of Mexico at the entrance to Tampa Bay.

Ammunition Storage Rooms

After exploring the Fort, we got on our bikes and started along the bike path.  We rode east from the parking lot, past the Museum and rode through the campground loops.  The campground is really nice – I can see why it’s really popular.  The sites are large, and many of them overlook the water.  They have water & electric hookups only, but are very nice.

From the campground, we continued on past the East Beach to the end of the trail, where it overlooks Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Bayside Beach

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

We took a little break, enjoyed some snacks, and then rode back toward the North Beach.  The wind was behind us in this direction, and gave our pace quite a little boost!

The beach looks like it sustained a little hurricane damage this fall,

The beach at Ft. DeSoto

but the sand was soft and the water was crystal clear blue!

Did somebody bury the lifeguard?

We walked along the shore, and saw lots of people with large collections of sand dollars.

LOTS of sand dollars

We talked to the people who had collected these (they were from Mchigan – small world!), and they said that you just had to get out to the sand bar, and along the outer edge there were hundreds of sand dollars just laying there, on the sand!

Sand Bar

The sand bar didn’t look too far away, but there was a bit of a current running between the beach and the sand bar.

We saw lots of kids swimming across!

Swimming to the sand bar

We would have loved to cross and get our own sand dollars, but none of us had packed swimsuits!  Tom was tempted to go anyway!

We talked to a group of college kids that had just swam back across to the beach, and they showed us their collection of sand dollars and even shared a few with us – nice kids!

Lots of sand dollars to be collected

It was a nice beach, and we were tempted to come back another day.

On the way back, the Great Blue Heron had given up on catching his own fish on the sand bar, and was hoping to score a treat from some fishermen!

Great Blue Heron looking for food

Great Blue Heron

We got back on the bikes, and rode back to the Jeeps, for a total of about 13 miles for the day.  Not bad!

Before leaving the park, we took a walk on the Gulfside Pier.

Gulf Pier

At the Pier

There were lots of people fishing on the pier . . . and plenty of birds waiting for opportunities for food!

Snowy Egret

Great Egret

We watched the guys on this fishing boat cast their net around the pier – they were looking for bait fish.

Catching bait fish

Casting the net

Bill & Linda headed back to the RV Park then – they wanted to get back in time for the Bon Voyage dinner – but Tom and I had dinner in St. Petersburg before heading back.

The sun was shining on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as we crossed back over it!

Crossing back over the bridge

It was a wonderful day, and another great biking excursion!

1 comment:

  1. That looked like a great place to go cycling with your friends.
    Wishing you and the boys a Safe and Happy Easter.

    Rick and Kathy
    It's about time.


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