Last weekend my other half had to go to Fort Desoto Park to do a job bright and early in the morning. I did my usual and invited myself along. We were aiming to be there at 8, but when we got to the entrance of the park it was closed until 9 am due to a triathlon. Kind of cool, but it would have been cooler if we had known before driving through the toll 100 feet back. Since we had an hour to kill we Googled a nearby place for breakfast and ended up at a place called Paradise Grill. So I accidentally started my Saturday morning with breakfast on the beach and I can’t recommend it enough. I had the home fries (close to hash browns) and rye toast and I have to say, those were the best breakfast potatoes I’ve had in memory and I always choose potatoes for breakfast if it’s a choice. Even if the food hadn’t been great I’d come back, because what a beautiful way to start a day.
After breakfast we headed back to Fort Desoto. As soon as we got there I took off looking for the fort. Yes, there really is a fort at Fort Desoto. Spoiler alert, I didn’t see it that day. Spoiler alert, I started off in the parking lot for the fort, but I took off to the left and the fort was to the right. This is what happens when you pick a direction and take off quickly so it looks like you know where you are going. Soon after I started walking I realized I had a choice of following a trail with little signs giving historical information about what was basically ruins from when the fort was in use or following along the beach. I explored the path a little and ended up on the beach. I am, however, planning on going back and walking the path soon because the little I saw was pretty neat. But that’ll be another time.
I walked along a beach wall looking over at birds and the water, then through a dog beach. That part was pretty awsome. Eventually I wandered under a pier, and after I passed that I had the beach to myself. Saturday morning at about 9:30 and there was not a soul on the beach other than myself in either direction.
I really didn’t walk for as long as all that makes it sound. However, once I got out of sight of the pier I realized I hadn’t seen a way back off the beach in a while, and I couldn’t see one coming up either. You can see in the pictures that the beach is between the bay and greenery, the greenery is thick enough that you cannot cut through except for where there is a path. I could perioudically see a huge American flag in the distance, and I figured that there would be a building and pathway to it when I got closer.
After walking along for about half an hour I saw a bench and next to that was a path leading to somewhere. I took it and found it went through the trees and was obviously a small part of a larger guided walk. Which would be great in the winter but not so great in the Florida summer. I got so many bug bites in the first couple of minutes I seriously considered going back to the beach but instead jogged the second half of the trail and came out at the visitor center which is near the entrance of the park.
There’s a good reason Fort Desoto Park is so popular.There is just so much to do you can’t take it in in a day, or even in a week. I spent about two hours on a Saturday morning and somehow was able to walk along the beach in solitude, just enjoying the view and the quiet. I think it was a bt of luck though, as we were leaving the park we saw 5 or 6 busses of people coming in. The place can definately get crowded, but with as big as the park is you can find your own quiet piece of it if you go early enough. Even on a Saturday.
Here’s what you need to know to play tourist:
3500 Pinellas Bayway S.
Tierra Verde, FL 33715