Travel Date: Thursday, Dec 04 2014
After the visit to The Dali Museum and the attempt of manatee viewing, I decided to try out Fort de Soto Park, a Pinellas County park. So my National Parks Pass would definitely not get me a freebie entry.
I stopped by a nearby parking meter and prepaid the parking fee.

Drove to the entrance, showed them my paid parking fee and I passed through.

I drive over to the Gulf Pier.

I drive around until I find some parking.

Oh neat, this is where I am according to Google Maps.

I walk to the top of fort and look over the Gulf of Mexico.

I walk back down to the late welcome sign. 🙂

And walk around the Fort to see the old cannons.

Probably where they used to keep the good stuff.

My Oh My … I’m too close.

After the long walk around the Fort and various holding cells I decide to check out the beach.

Finally dipping my toes in the Gulf of Mexico water. You are not allowed to swim due to the strong currents so this is as wet as I will get.

The pier that I make a mental note to check out later.

The beaches

Lots of sea gulls.

Some of the cannons were here.

I walk towards the pier and decide to check out the Snack Bar.

I noticed the ice cream sign outside so was tempted.

Nom nom nom.

The panoramic view.

Time to walk the pier.

Hello feathery friend.

At the end of the pier, I noticed three birds.

I decide to call the Larry, Moe and Curly (The Three Stooges).

I rest on the bench and almost fall asleep.

Time to head back to the car.

For a nice long nap.

.. in the relative shade.

After waking up I decide to drive around some more and visit the other ends of the island.

I drive to East Beach.

And take a picture of the bridge.

I drive to one of the Bay Pier

And notice this guy and his whatchamacallit? I want to play too.

I drive to the North Beach.

And learn about a nearby key called Egmont Key

Which is a wildlife refuge.

Unfortunately the ferry rides to Egmont ended about an hour ago. Darn it. Maybe next time.

I drive around to the other end of the park: the Arrow Head Picnic Area.

Park my care and enjoy the raccoon trying to get some food.

I walk to the beach.

And sit on this stump. The shoreline has degraded significantly.
The view is peaceful and there are very few people around.

I wait there for the sunset to begin.

The end. So magical.

Reflections:
I have to admit that while Marcus and Mary suggested Fort de Soto Park, I was hesistant to go initially. But fate would have it that I go because I didn’t want to spend time driving around Tampa but rather be in nature. And I was glad that I went.

The old Fort was okay. I’ve seen better, but the cannons were amazing and in great condition. I loved walking around on the beach, and in the water. It was great to finally be IN the Gulf of Mexico after a long long time. Walking by the pier and seeing the other ends of the park were great. And while I kind of regretted not being able to go to the Egmont Ferry, I was grateful to stick around and watch the beautiful sunset on a near perfect day. It was priceless!

Fabulous recommendation Marcus and Mary… just fabulous!!!

Expenses: $18.21
Lunch: $6.96 (Subway)
Tolls: $1.25 (to get to Fort de Soto Park)
Icecream: $5.00
Parking: $5.00