Fort De Soto, FL

Jake snagged us two weeks in a campsite at Fort De Soto County Park just south of St. Petersburg Florida for late January through early February. For those who are unaware, this is a decently impressive feat. Garnering more than a night or two in a single campsite at Fort De Soto without playing the ‘sit at the computer 11 months in advance at 8 a.m. ready to hit the reserve button’ game is damned-near championship level.

Jake got us two full-weeks. In the same campsite. 2 weeks before our arrival.

Jake is cool.

Getting into the site at Fort De Soto… was a bit of a nail biter. We are big, so we have to be cautious, always, but especially when we book at a publicly managed facility. Fort De Soto is keeping it wild. Which we appreciate. Except for the damage to large rigs which wild hanging vegetation limbs are apt to cause. We wriggled ourselves into our campsite, however. It just took us a few more passes than normal.

The sites at Fort De Soto, like those at many publicly managed parks, were void of sewer hook-ups. The park offered coin laundry machines, which was a nice treat. Also, pretty important for our stench. The showers, while not ‘outdoor dream showers’, were clean, offered good pressure, and hot water – great for blowing off the stink. And since the park has access to really good running areas, we found ourselves pretty smelly on most days – so laundry and showers were important.

I was uninterested in leaving Fort De Soto for most other reasons during our stay. Fort De Soto provided plenty of built-in entertainment. Crazy looking birds. Freight ships cruising the shipping lanes. Dolphins playing in the wakes of the ships cruising the area. A fortress. Shells. Hermit crabs. Washed up sea creatures.

But, on occasion, I was able to be convinced to leave the wonders of Fort De Soto – for brief periods of time.

We spent a Saturday morning perusing the farmer’s market in St. Petersburg. It was decently sized and offered a surprising variety of items we were very interested in eating. There was an entire section dedicated to vegetarian items, which I appreciated. There was a Moroccan bakery, which Jake appreciated. Then we popped over to John’s Pass, walked around a bit, and had a beer.

Another afternoon, we met up with some fellow full-timers, Madeline & Dillon, for a rooftop drink up in Clearwater.

We spent a day visiting our friends Shelby and Sidney, who we met back in Sioux Falls while living at the fairgrounds. They are part of a traveling jousting troupe, but they winter in Sarasota. I got to enjoy the world from atop Millie for a bit, then we spent a few hours catching up.

Honestly, we didn’t explore too much outside of Fort De Soto during our two weeks there. I was just really really enthralled with the park itself. It’s just a really magical place.

Also, every time we left we had to pay $1.50 in tolls to traverse the roads into/out of the park. Which was really rude of Florida, because I need to save my quarters for laundry and gum ball machines.

So, another reason to stay. And not leave. EVER.

Except when we were forced to leave because two-week stay limit. And I nearly cried.

But not too much, because there is still more Florida to visit. I just hope most of Florida is like Fort De Soto which is not buggy, humid, or full of Florida man.

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