Fort De Soto Park
Fort De Soto Park is much more than a beach – at this popular spot, visitors can visit a historic fort, paddle a quiet waterway, and explore trails. The park has a gorgeous, expansive beach, but no Mobi-Mats.
Off the beach, a nearly seven-mile, multi-use paved trail is great for wheelchair users, but be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen or avoid the middle of the day, as the trail is in full sun. Expect to see bicyclists, rollerblades, runners and walkers on the trail. “Be careful of e-bikers and stay to the right,” Beth recommends.
Beth has visited several times and says that the staff at Topwater Kayak Outpost inside the park has been very accommodating to her. “They’ve helped me get in and out of the kayak and safely watched my wheelchair until my return.”
Accessible areas of the park include the gift shop, snack shop, fort, Gulf pier, bait shop and the 2,200-foot barrier-free nature trail. “The Gulf pier is a great place to see shorebirds, dolphins and manatees in spring and summer,” Beth says.
Fort De Soto Park offers ferries to Shell Key and Egmont Key, but these ferries are not wheelchair accessible.
Here is some additional information about beach accessibility at Fort De Soto Park:
- Location: 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715, 727-582-2100
- Parking: There are several beach parking lots at Fort De Soto, and they all offer disability parking spots (2-6 spots) with access lines. The park recently went to a kiosk or app-based paid parking system, but note that visitors with disability plates or placard can park in a disability spot for free.
- Ramp and beach access: There are ramps from the parking lot to the sidewalk. There are no Mobi-Mats.
- Beach wheelchairs: There are five beach wheelchairs at Fort De Soto Park. During the week, visitors can call 727-582-2100, ext. 2 to request a beach wheelchair. On weekends, you must go to the campground office to request one.
- Bathrooms: The bathrooms are ADA-compliant and have grab bars.