Fort DeSoto Park Beach: Island Beach Paradise Close to Orlando and Tampa

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Fort DeSoto Park Beach: Island Beach Paradise Close to Orlando and Tampa


If you are looking for a vacation…while you are on vacation, then spend a day at Fort DeSoto Park Beaches! While it’s not the closest beach to Orlando, Fort DeSoto has more than most Orlando beaches have to offer. From gorgeous hiking/canoeing trails to two doggy parks all the way to the historic Fort itself, Fort DeSoto Park is the closest beach to Disney World to boast such a wide array of activities. So if you are looking for beaches near Orlando with a little more than just sand and water, we have your day planned out for you. Let’s take a look at the nonstop fun Fort DeSoto Park Beaches has to offer.

Self-Guided Tour

History, relaxation, and recreation. Fort DeSoto has even more to offer than most of the award-winning beaches near Orlando. Expanding over five interconnected islands, Fort DeSoto Park Beaches spreads out over 1,136 acres! With that much space, you know there’s a lot to do!

On site you will see Fort DeSoto in all its glory. Construction on this landmark began during the Spanish American War in 1898. Luckily for the locals, this Fort never saw battle. Therefore, many historical artifacts and landmarks are still in great condition.

With everything still intact, you can take a self-guided tour of the historic grounds. By following the brick road between Battery Laidley and the parking lot, walk amongst rich culture such as:


  • Explosives Storehouse
  • Stables
  • Fire Apparatus House
  • Mess Hall
  • Barracks
  • Guard House
  • Quarantine Wharf
  • And More


You can spend a whole day just walking the grounds. Nevermind the fact that you are a stone’s throw away from open water!

Boating Made Easy

One of the greatest perks of Fort DeSoto is that it is the most convenient for boaters looking for beaches near Orlando or beaches near Disney World. Spanning over seven miles of waterfront, there are plenty of opportunities to launch off or dock your boat.


On site, Fort DeSoto Park Beach has an 800-foot long boat launch. This area is home to 11 floating docks. Easy access is why DeSoto Park and its two piers are a hot spot when it comes to fishing at beaches near Orlando. One pier spans 500 feet overlooking the Tampa Bay, while the other extends 1,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico waters. You get two diverse ecosystems of fish and hours of relaxing fun!

Campground Sites

Everything you need for a day of fun in the sun (and delight at night) is available at Fort DeSoto Park Beach. This park accommodates 238 sites and comes with the works.


Included on site are:


  • Concessions/Snack Bar
  • Dump Stations
  • Electricity
  • Grills
  • Picnic Tables
  • Potable Water
  • Showers


Not only does this make Fort DeSoto Park the best option for beaches near Disney World, but for campgrounds near Disney World as well!

Dogs of All Size Are Welcome

There’s no doubt that pets are part of the family. In fact, we probably prefer them over some of our members. That’s why so many families travel with their dogs. They deserve a vacation too! If you are looking for beaches near Orlando, you want to make sure that they are pet-friendly.


Not only is DeSoto Park pet-friendly, but it’s accommodating for your four-legged friends. This area hosts not just one dog park, but two. To avoid conflict and injury, the furbaby play area is broken into distinct sections. One houses bigger sized dogs while the other is designated for smaller pets.

Nature Trails

Not only can you take a self-guided tour through the Fort, but there are also two gorgeous hiking trails at Fort DeSoto Park. Just follow the one-mile trail near the Arrowhead Picnic Area for a scenic stroll. If you are looking for a bit of a shorter hike, you can also opt for the ¾ mile trail located at the Soldier’s Hole Area.


Not keen on seeing the closest beach to Orlando by foot? Then how about canoe? Fort DeSoto also boasts a serene 2.25 mile canoe trail. This water sport attraction makes Fort DeSoto stand out against other beaches near Orlando.



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