Many people visiting St. Pete Beach and Clearwater miss out on visiting this paradise, but once here people love it and want to return. Because it's such an impressive place people assume it must be a state park, but it's actually a county park. The main attraction is North Beach, Dr. Beach's number one beach for 2005, although swimming is available at East Beach, as well. If you just have an hour or two take the short tour. Enter the park (fee $5) and turn left when you get to the flag. Drive to the end of the road and check out the view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Return the same way you came but go past the flag and keep driving west. The road will bend to the right. Drive north until you reach the Arrowhead Picnic area and turn right there. Drive slowly through the wooded area. Note that there is a nature trail at one point on the right. If you do the entire trail, including the spur trail, it will take about a half hour at a brisk pace. As you drive further you will see picnic benches overlooking the water. As you exit the picnic area just turn into the parking lot for North Beach. Park your car and take a walk on the beach. Go right and keep following the beach until you can't walk any further. Turn back and walk south this time until you reach the bird sanctuary area. Fort DeSoto is home to a diverse bird population, both resident and migratory. It's very important to obey the signs and not to bother the birds. Get back to your car and drive to the fort area. You can explore the fort and even walk on top of it. Nearby is the Gulf Pier-take a walk on the pier and watch the fishermen or look for dolphins. There's a nice gift shop and snack bar in this area, too. Snack bars are on the Gulf Pier and at North Beach, but the main one is north of the fort. Traveling east you pads the Bay Pier on the right, this is shorter than the Gulf a Pier and you can get shuttles to Egmont Key State Park from here. East of the Bay Pier is the dog park and dog beach. If you're interested in an easy, accessible nature trail park at the ranger station by the flag and watch for the trail entrance on the right. There's another nature trail that is never very busy; access to that is at the a East Beach parking lot. There are so many things to do at the park-ride bikes in the miles of trails, kayak or canoe, swim, picnic, fish, walk the nature trails, exercise your dog, explore a fort, bird watch, watch sunrises over the Skyway and sunsets over the Gulf at North Beach.
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