Offshore southwest of Fort De Soto, Tierra Verde, FL 33715
Alcohol: No alcohol
More in this neighborhood: South Pinellas beaches
Accessible only by boat, Egmont Key State Park offers fishing, beach access, swimming areas, picnic areas and a historic lighthouse. Visitors can also walk through the remains of Fort Dade.
This unique barrier island that guards the mouth of Tampa Bay also is a critical nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles and numerous threatened and endangered species of migratory shorebirds.
Even though there is no public transportation to the 400-acre island, thousands of people visit Egmont Key every year. It is an important stopover for recreational anglers and boaters, as well as birders and other nature lovers.
Federal officials declared Egmont Key a national wildlife sanctuary in 1974. For thousands of years it has been a haven to animal life, including the gopher tortoise, a species of special concern.
In addition to its natural wonders, Egmont Key has historical significance. During the Third Seminole War, captured Seminoles were imprisoned there. It also served as a Union Naval base during the Civil War.
The park is open from 8:00 a.m. to sundown.