Fort DeSoto has been one of our favorite campgrounds since we first tent-camped there in 2010. It’s lovely and well-maintained, the sites are private, many have wonderful views right on the water, and we’ve found great watering holes in the surrounding communities. We always look forward to our stays.
The best camp sites at fort DeSoto are the waterfront tent sites. This is where we first bonded with the park, and this video from out first camping there tells it all.
There are three camping loops at DeSoto: the tent sites loop, which is the best; the non-tent sites loop w/ no dogs which is still pretty good, and then the sites that are OK for pets, which is not the best but we still love it. Definitely try to get a waterfront site, which will give you lovely views and in some cases will allow you to launch kayaks directly from your site.
This year year we were in the dog loop, but we had a lovely waterfront site (#105) that offered wonderful sunsets and pleasant views all day. The full campground circumference is about 2 1/4 miles, so walking it two or three times a day gave us good exercise. On top of that there are miles and miles of multi-use trails for walking and biking throughout Fort DeSoto, plus historic fortifications and one of the best beaches in the US.
We enjoyed some excellent local watering holes. Nearby is the brand new relocated and expanded Island Grill and Raw Bar with indoor and outdoor dining and bars and restaurant seating, and it is dog friendly, which we love. Salads are good, and the tuna tower was excellent!
Our all-time favorite dining spot is about a half-hour drive up the beach: Wahoos in Redington Shores. It’s a total dive bar so be forewarned, but the local vibe is excellent and the fish – grouper sandwiches, seared tuna, grouper cheeks and burgers are all excellent. If you sit at the bar, you will probably be sitting next to one of the guys who caught the fish you are eating — and they are friendly and fun.
Last but not least, we really like Sea Critters Cafe in Pass-a-Grille, south of St. Pete Beach. Pass-a-Grille is a quaint, old St. Pete Beach community with funky shops and restaurants and a lovely beach. Sea Critters has great blackened grouper sandwiches, their house salad with sun dried tomato dressing is excellent, and the dockside seating is dog-friendly. Across the street is an excellent meat market for great BBQ supplies.
And don’t miss Merry Pier in Pass-a-Grille, which has the freshest fish in St. Petersburg. You have to call them in advance and place an order, but you can watch them fillet your fresh catch on the spot before taking it home to the BBQ for dinner. Don’t miss it!
We love hanging out at the campground and cooking our meals on the Big Green Egg. Sometimes friends will even come down to join us. This year Julie and Bryan came down from their home nearby, and prepared rare tuna nachos for us, seared quickly on the Big Green Egg Mini-Max. It was outstanding!
Anyway, there are a lot of great ways to enjoy Fort DeSoto. You really can’t go wrong.