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Fort De Soto Park Gets Two Dew Claws Up!

We have departed the lovely state of Florida and are making a beeline for Denver. Take a look at a weather map and you might question our sanity, but duty calls! We’ve been invited to speak about pet travel at the Colorado RV, Sports, Boat and Travel Show from March 3rd – 6th. So, we’re off. (If you live near Denver, come on down to the National Western Complex and visit us!)

We had a great time traveling down Florida’s Atlantic coast, stopping in St. Augustine, visiting friends in Ft. Lauderdale, and hanging out for a week in the Keys. Winter had pounced on us in Pennsylvania, and we’d spent weeks anticipating a hiatus in Key West, so we felt a little dejected when it was time to point the Winnebago north and head up the Gulf Coast – like somehow our “vacation” had come to an end. We had no idea of the  fun that was in store for us.

We prefer the scenic routes to the interstate highways. So, we meandered through Marco Island, Naples, Sanibel, Captiva, and Pine Islands – all of it gorgeous. And then we got to Fort De Soto Park, just outside of St. Petersburg.

Fort De Soto Map

Covering 1,136 acres and consisting of five interconnected islands, Fort De Soto Park sits where the Gulf of Mexico meets Tampa Bay. Spend the whole day here and you still won’t have time to see it all. You can take a self-guided tour of the Fort and other historical landmarks, explore the seven miles of paved trails, play a round of Frisbee golf, or paddle the canoe trail. Just be sure you leave plenty of time to enjoy the beach, named America’s top beach in 2008 and 2009 by TripAdvisor. The sand is like sugar, and the water is calm and clear.

Fishing Pier - Fort De Soto Park, FL Fort De Soto Consession Stand Tower and Nest at Fort De Soto Park

Sounds like paradise, right? Well, I haven’t even told you the best part … Fort De Soto Park is incredibly pet friendly! There is a 2.5-acre fenced dog park with separate areas for large and small dogs AND they’ve dedicated a quarter mile of their spectacular beach to the dogs! There are even doggy showers to wash the sand off before hopping back in the car. Buster was convinced the Winnebago had somehow found its way to heaven.

Dog Park at Fort De Soto Park Fort De Soto Dog Park Buster on the Beach at Fort De Soto Dog Beach at Fort De Soto Park

Side note #1: Buster’s great behavior continued at the dog park and beach. He did some super-long recalls, even with the distractions of the other dogs. YEA, BUSTER!

Side note #2: You don’t see pictures of Ty in the dog park or on the beach because he’s always looking for an opportunity to escape our “tyrannical clutches.” If he gets free he runs far and fast – he doesn’t even look back.

And, the icing on the cake … our friends, Rori and Laura, met us at the park, showed us around, and joined us for lunch. Buster and Girls

We drove to nearby Pass-A-Grille, a  historic, laid-back neighborhood where we’d like to spend some more time next time we visit. There were several pet friendly restaurants to choose from, but this sweet pooch at the Hurricane Cafe convinced us to give it a try.

Pup at Hurricane Cafe, Pass-A-Grille, FL

Big thanks to our Facebook fans Nancy, Laurie, and Julie, who suggested that we visit Fort De Soto. If not for them, we may have missed this fantastic spot! Tell us your “Can’t Miss This” spots. We’ll check them out when we make our way to your neighborhood.

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  • That’s the perfect name for Fort DeSoto, Dominic! I’m so glad you and Miss Scarlett enjoyed your trip – it’s still our favorite dog beach, and we’ve seen a lot of them over the years!

  • When we visited with Miss Scarlett and my lovely Pascale, we christened this place “Planet of the pooches”!

  • […] reading that relates to this blog’s activities and area: Life Jackets Travel Bags Go Pet Friendly […]

  • Michele says:

    I love the doggy showers! What a great adventure, and have fun in Denver!

  • Hmmm,

    Makes me think we should have joined the brother who has his winter home near St. Pete.

    Happy trails to you as you head north and west.

    BrownDog’s Momma

    • I definitely think you should at least visit the brother who has his winter home near St. Pete! The beaches are so beautiful, and though the day we were there was a bit chilly, in general the weather was perfect.

    • I definitely think you should at least visit the brother who has his winter home near St. Pete! The beaches are so beautiful, and though the day we were there was a bit chilly, in general the weather was perfect.

    • I definitely think you should at least visit the brother who has his winter home near St. Pete! The beaches are so beautiful, and though the day we were there was a bit chilly, in general the weather was perfect.

  • I have stayed a few days on the Treasure Island Beach, but we never went as far as Fort DeSoto. Aren’t Florida beaches lovely? So nice and clean :)

    • Yes, Karen. What amazed me most was how soft the sand is. If you picked up a handful and dropped it, it was almost powdery. One of the pics that didn’t make it into the post (because it was hard to see) was of two dolphins swimming right off the shore. We sat and watched them for quite a while. You might have to head back to Florida to check this park out! ;-)

    • Yes, Karen. What amazed me most was how soft the sand is. If you picked up a handful and dropped it, it was almost powdery. One of the pics that didn’t make it into the post (because it was hard to see) was of two dolphins swimming right off the shore. We sat and watched them for quite a while. You might have to head back to Florida to check this park out! ;-)

    • Yes, Karen. What amazed me most was how soft the sand is. If you picked up a handful and dropped it, it was almost powdery. One of the pics that didn’t make it into the post (because it was hard to see) was of two dolphins swimming right off the shore. We sat and watched them for quite a while. You might have to head back to Florida to check this park out! ;-)

  • Peggy Frezon says:

    Great shot of Buster running on the beach. I’m humming Chariots of Fire (as in the Marley and Me movie trailer!)

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