Fort De Soto Park

If I had to describe Fort De Soto Park in just one word, it would be “CRABBY”.

Fort OfficeUpon arriving to the park we headed into the office to check in. We were told at the counter that they needed our names, credit card, licence plate number, shoe size, the name of our 3rd grade teacher, what day of the week it was when we lost our first tooth, how many trees are in the forest….OK maybe I’m getting a little carried away. They did ask more than they needed to especially since we gave them all of this information online when we made our reservation.

While we were checking in, we asked if there happened to be a grocery store nearby. With a snippy tone of voice we were told ” you passed at least 3 of them on the way in”. Trying to win him over with a little light humor I replied “I think it may have been a few more than that since we are from Michigan”. Ol’ grumpy face just turned his head and looked away. He never did tell us how to get to a grocery store. Sure wish his mom would have been there to smack him up. Sure is nice to have people like that to meet and greet you.

As we pulled up to our campsite, first thing we noticed is that it was wrong. The number was right, but the site looked nothing like the photo of it on the website. The photo showed a beautiful view of the bay. In reality we were going to be looking at a bunch of swamp brush also known as Mangrove Trees. We were very disappointed. In fact the words “wanna just get out of here and forfeit our prepaid reservation?” were used more than once. Following a bit of discussion, we decided to stay and see if we could find something positive about this place. After all, it seemed to be a quite popular place to camp. We just needed to find out why.

Photo of our Campsite on the Website

Website Photo
Website Photo

Photo of our Actual Campsite

Actual Campsite Photo Actual Campsite Photo

After we got camp set-up we headed to the beach. The beach was nice. The water was warm. The waves were a little higher than I thought they would be and the sky was a bit darker than I think it should be. After a bit of playing in the water it started to rain. Then the wind picked up. The temperature outside dropped dramatically. We headed for the truck. On the ride home we turned on the local radio and heard “Tornado Warning for this area will expire at 5pm”. It was now 4:59pm. Ya know in hindsight we wondered why no one else was out playing on the beach. Guess that answers that question.

FriendThe next morning I found a path out to the water from our campsite. I sat in my chair and enjoyed the morning. The weather here is perfect in the morning. I watched as a little bird came up to greet me. Off in the bay I watched as birds would dive into the water. I then noticed fish jumping out of the water. Not just jumping but you could see their little tails wiggling as if they were swimming in the the air. I thought to myself this place not only has birds that swim but it has fish that can fly.

I returned to the trailer. I then told Terri about my wonderful experience down by the water and said she should check it out. A few minutes later I went back out to join her. She wasn’t out by the water. When I asked why, she informed me that the beach was moving. I looked out onto the sand and sure enough the whole area was active with what looked to be very small crabs, each with one huge claw. They were making little tiny sand balls. As I walked out onto the sand they would scurry into little thumb sized holes in the sand. Each had it’s own little house. Some were a little further away and it took them a bit longer to get home. They only went to their own homes. Seems as if they did not like visitors.Crabs

In the evening we wanted to watch our beloved Red Wings play in the playoffs. Since we only had a TV antenna, we needed to find a place to go. Due to our current location we thought it may be hazardous to our health to go to a sports bar and watch with the local fans. Remember that we are just outside of Tampa! We chickened out and never went.

The next day we took a ride to John’s Pass Village and  Boardwalk. This area has lots of shops and restaurants located right on the water. I would highly recommend a visit to this place if you can find a place to park.Pier

We next headed to Anna Maria Island. This is where we fell in love with the area’s beautiful clean beaches, quaint little stores and shops, home-style mom & pop restaurants and laid back atmosphere. We will be returning to this area again, you can bet on that.



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