Saturday, February 20, 2016

REVIEW Fort DeSoto Park, St Petersburg, Florida

Camping at this county park is very hard to get reservations for and now that we have been here I can see why.

Directions: Fort De Soto Park, 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, St Petersburg, FL 33715

From Tampa / St Petersburg
Take I-275 south. Take exit 17 onto Pinellas Bayway/FL 682 west.
After 3 miles turn left onto Pinellas Bayway (FL 679). Go 6.6 miles to park.

From Bradenton / Sarasota
Take I-275 north. Take exit 17 onto Pinellas Bayway/FL 682 west.
After 3 miles turn left onto Pinellas Bayway (FL 679). Go 6.6 miles to park.

Park Entry Fee (If NOT camping here): $5/Car for parking. If you enter by bike you do not have to pay this fee. Also if you have a disabled parking permit you do not need to pay the parking fee. If you are camping here you get a free parking pass at the rest of the park.

Our site 88. The only site available for our stay.
Value 3.5/5
We could only get a reservation in the pet area which is $5 more a night so we paid $43 roughly including the $3.50 winter fee. Fee sheet currently as of now can be found here.This is a bit pricey for us however it is an average fee for Florida we are finding.

Site Quality 4/5
Very flat site on crushed gravel. Water and electric hook ups at site. No sewer but a dump station is available inside the camp ground.

Facility Fun 4.5/5
This is a wonderfully natural park with lots to do if you love the outdoors. Kids can easily bike to a couple different play grounds. Bring a kayak and head on out or rent one from the park. There are trails for bike riding. The swimming beach is a 15 minute ish bike ride down the road, with other beaches further along as well. You can take your car and be at a beach in minutes. Fires are permitted in an on ground fire pit which is not provided. I believe you can rent fire rings from the camp store but we did not look into it. Providing a fire ring would have made this park a 5/5 in our book.

Natural Surrounding 4.5/5
This was a very natural setting camp ground. Even though our site was along the road it was well treed and very quiet. There were large trees which we put up our tree hugger straps and our hammocks. The only thing this camp ground was missing was the swimming element. You have to bike or drive to the beach as there is no swimming allowed from any of the sites including the water front sites.

Bathrooms 3.5/5
The bathrooms were clean but they were older. They are open air bathrooms so the floors can be hosed down and the drain runs along the outside of the building. There is also an open air area near ceiling for fresh air to circulate. We arrived the day before the hose down of the bathrooms and they looked just as clean as they did the day after the hose down. Showers only have double curtains. No doors.

Staff 5/5
The camp hosts present at our time of stay were very friendly. The front gate rangers were very friendly and helpful. We left this park a bit early as one of my girls broke out into a bit of a rash and her face started to swell a bit. The ranger suggested we could stop in at the fire station on our way out (or any fire station apparently) and they would give her a check over to make sure everything was OK. I just wanted to get her some Benedryl. The last time it happened we believe it was due to cedar smoke and we think either the palm trees or smoke from someone's fire was making her have a reaction again... long story short...the staff were great here!

Location 4/5
The location is beautiful but it is out of the way. We made the mistake of not hitting the grocery store before arriving and had to set up, leave and go out again another 20 minutes each way to the grocery store. Not to mention we had to pay another $1.25 in tolls after paying $3.75 in tolls with the trailer attached to even get to the be sure to get all your supplies before heading to this park. Otherwise the natural location of this park is wonderful.

Overal 4/5
I absolutely loved this park and could have stayed longer. I loved the natural setting and the spacey sites so you didn't feel like you were sitting in your neighbours laps. My girls were a bit bored at times as the few kids they saw here were not as free to play as the families were at the rally so it took them some adjusting to playing a lone or together again. They got in lots of bike riding, and they were allowed to ride their motorized jeep around this park. There were lots of lizards to catch and observe so they had fun! They would have preferred to have a beach or pool we could walk to but other then that they spent a lot of time at the playgrounds. 
Camp ground map
Water front pet site
Open air concept bathrooms. One washer and dryer at entrance.
Cost $1.75 wash and $1.75 dry.
Dog bags provided in dog walk areas
Playground in the pet friendly part of park
Water front in NON pet side of park
Playground in NON pet side of park
One of our hammocks set up in the back of our site.
Lots of wildlife to be seen
See our time spent at East beach HERE, North beach HERE and at the Fort and Pier HERE.
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