Think of it as your ticket to island paradise as you hop aboard the scenic ferry ride to Egmont Key, a secluded island at the mouth of Tampa Bay that’s home to pristine beaches, a wildlife preserve, historic fort, working lighthouse and lots of wildlife. Egmont Key is wonderfully peaceful, and you’ll likely feel like you have the island to yourself – that is, you and the abundant wildlife that calls the island and its waters home, including osprey, gopher tortoises and dolphins.
If You Go
While the Fort De Soto Park Bay Pier is under construction, the ferry departs from the Fort De Soto Park boat ramp multiple times a day, depending on the season and the day’s weather. Call 727-393-1947 for the latest information. Depending on the weather and currents, there’s a snorkeling option available on the day of the trip. Keep in mind that the boat ramp and the island are not wheelchair accessible.
Enjoy the Ferry Ride
On the 30-minute ride to Egmont Key, the boat captain will relay insightful and fun facts about the area. Keep an eye out for wildlife including shorebirds, sea turtles and dolphins, who like to swim in the boat’s wake. The pontoon-style boat offers covered seating, a bathroom, and snacks and drinks for purchase.
Exploring Egmont Key
Once on the island, visitors will have about three hours to explore. Head to the guard house to watch a short movie detailing the history of this fascinating island. Unfurl a towel on the white-sand beaches, take a swim, comb the shoreline for shells and even shark’s teeth, or look for wildlife including the endangered gopher tortoises that make burrows in the sand. Wander the island’s nature trails and deserted brick roads and check out historic Fort Dade, which was built during the Spanish-American War. The snorkeling trip explores the marine life in the grass flats and the sunken portions of Fort Dade.
What to Bring
There are no restrooms or other amenities on the island, so visitors should bring their own food and plenty of water, as well as collapsible wagons, coolers, chairs, sunscreen and hats. The ferry rents beach umbrellas and snorkel masks. The ferry trip costs $45 for adults, $25 for children 3-11 and free for 2 and under.
- Group Discount
- Hours 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Time to Experience Activity Half day