CP Campground Rating – Fort De Soto, Tierra Verde, FL

Getting back to reviews on some of our most recent campgrounds. We stayed at this County Park for 10 days. A lovely beach nearby, but very, very tight and a tad pricey.
Link to campground here: Fort de Soto, FL
Link to map here: Fort de Soto, FL

  1. Site Quality = 2.5/5
    I must say this is probably the single tightest campground we’ve been to in our cross-country tours. The sites themselves are decent. They’re flat compacted dirt (no issues there), in general quite long, have decent hook-ups (20/30/50AMP and water), but there’s *lots* of low-hanging trees which means many of the sites are extremely tight for access (tight trees in the road with some sites at almost 90-degrees), plus some simply don’t have the clearance for big rigs. For smaller campers this is no issue, but for a beast like us it can be really tough to get in, and nothing on the website mentions this or indicates height or rig-size/access restrictions. In the pet section the sites facing the open water, in general, have a relatively nice “sitting area” and view of the lagoon, but sites along the back are tightly forested, have noise from the road and dead pools of water behind them (not good for mosquitoes). In the non pet section the waterfront sites are the nicest. Pull-throughs are tight.
  2.  Facilities = 4/5
    Facilities are OK. They’re older, but kept decently clean and the showers are a good size with good water pressure and temperature. The campground itself has a small on-site store, a playground area, washer/dryer and a very small section of beach-front in the non-pet section (near the tent sites #9-28). There is water-access for kayakers at all the water-front sites.
  3. Location = 4.5/5
    Location is where this place gets bonus points. You come for Fort de Soto Park, and although it’s not directly accesible from the campground (it’s a short 15-min bike-ride or 5-mins in the car), it’s absolutely true that the beach is lovely. You’re also close to other beach towns in the area including St.Pete and Treasure Island which have shops and restaurants.
  4. Pet Friendliness = 4/5
    Pet friendliness is mxed here. On the positive side there’s a pet-specific-section in the campground, and they offer poo bags. However you’re not allowed to walk the pets around the non-pet section and the area to “hang out” with doggie is limited unless you’re lucky enough to get a water-front site, plus dogs cannot go in the water at the campground. The biggest bonus is the nearby off-leash dog-beach (1.5 miles away) which not only has a gorgeous stretch of beach, but also has 2 large enclosed dog-parks and rinse area for doggies.

Overall Rating = 3.75
BONUS ALERT = Lovely dog beach only 1.5 miles from the campground

Summary: Overall I have to admit we were slightly dissapointed in this campground especially given all the hype it seems to get, plus the elevated price. There’s no doubt the nearby beach (a few miles away) is lovely and the fact there’s a gorgeous off-leash dog-beach is a huge bonus, but the campground itself was not all there. It’s clearly an older park and the palm and oak trees are well overgrown which means lots of low-hanging branches, tight roads and difficult access for big rigs, despite long (and in general spacious) sites. It took us 40 mins to get into our first site (#93) which was almost at 90 degrees to the road with very tight trees and, once squeezed in, we got a standing ovation from the crowd that had stopped by to watch the show. In the pet section the beginning (sites 87-103) are the tightest and I wouldn’t recommend them for any big-rig. The road and sites are easier to access nearer the back (site numbers 109-116) and on the right-hand lagoon arm (#128-138). Also, I would definitely recommend booking water-side. The back pet-section sites are up against a dead stream and heavy in mosquitoes, and the pull-throughs tend to be very tight. On the positive side there’s decent hook-ups (20/30/50 AMP and water) and for the sites facing the water you have a really nice “sitting area” and view of the lagoon (where the sun sets too). The park does get fully booked on week-ends with locals, and a tad noisy, but is very calm during the week. The rest of the Island is also quite nice with lots of areas to kayak, miles of gorgeous beach and picnic areas. Overall, I would say we loved the dog beach, and we thoroughly enjoyed sitting in front of our RV and watching the sunset on the lagoon, but the tight acess took a few years off my life and for the price it doesn’t get into our favorites.

Extra Info:  Verizon aircard worked flawlessly. AT&T was weak, but worked. Sites are reservable $40/night for water-front with 20/30/50AMP & water. Separate pet section. On-site dump station. Laundry.

Our second site (#95) was a very tight squeeze. We were unable to pull further back due to tree limbs on the site.
Another site with low-hanging limbs (#97). We wouldn’t have clearance to get in here.
Yet another site with low-hanging limbs (#103)
View down main road of pet section (near site #100)
The green “sitting area” in front of our first site (#93)
View of the lagoon from pet section (near front of site # 113)
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  1. David says

    Ft. Desoto is in deed a wonderful Park. We love it. The reason it is more expensive is that it is not a State Park but is a Pinellas County park. We are Florida residents and truly love the state parks. They are a wonderful resource.

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