This park is a nice place to spend the day. They have a dog beach and dog park. There is a nice trail for walking or biking. I also like this park for kayaking and paddle boarding. The trail is mostly in the sun but there are plenty of places to hide from the sun.
Alexis M. on Fort De Soto Park Nature Trail
Voted best beach in the US in 2005, Ft. Desoto is the perfect spot for any outdoor activities. There is now a $5 entrance fee to maintain the park services but for what's offered, it's well worth it. Great for nature photography, kayaking & paddleboarding, bbq's, and with tons of history. A must in the Tampa Bay area.
The best park in middle west florida and my favorite for all around activities including bringing the dogs. If you have dogs and want to go camping, this is a must park. The park in completely pet friendly. There are two enclosed dog parks and a beach dedicated just for them (is the only stretch of beach where you find numerous people and pets).
I have come many times here for canoeing, fishing, camping and the dog beach. Besides, there is opportunity to do many more activities like:
kayaking, sky surfing, hiking, walking, biking, historical trips and so on
Excellent place to rollerblade - great side walks and excellent views. Its hot so bring a pack with lots of water and sunscreen. We do the in and out section. Park at the end of the Trail in the northern most parking lot and then blade (or bike) to the end of the walkway (which is about 10+ miles). Be careful of slow walkers and snakes!
I wasn't sure I'd have time for this while my wife finished a conference in Tampa, but I'm glad it worked out. The park takes far less time to enjoy than the drive from Tampa, and it's a little out of the way, but that's the norm for East Coast NPS properties. The trail was just right for a stretch of the legs, and the bonus of getting a little education along with the nature aspect made this part of a great day. An added bonus was finishing up just before the school groups arrived.
Fort De Soto is a gem of Florida. The trail was amazing and any skill level could hike this trail. I did it in flip flops (which I do not suggest). I also visited the Fort, pier and beach while I was there. You could easily make this a whole day activity. There is a .35 cent toll to get on.