Egmont Key State Park: Historical Florida Island Adventure
Egmont Key State Park is a functioning lighthouse and wildlife refuge, and is home to historical military ruins. Its gorgeous beaches are not crowded because the island is only accessible via boat. Your day on Egmont Key will be full of adventures and discovery that all ages will enjoy.
Fun: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (out of 5)
Difficulty: Very Easy EASY Moderate Hard Very Hard
Distance: 0.25 to 3 miles depending on where you go on the island
Elevation Gain: Flat
Time: Half a day
When to Go: Anytime of the year
Entrance onto Island is free, however it is only accessible by boat.
Egmont Key Ferry from Fort Desoto Park
Free Children (2 and under)
Dolphin Snorkeling Cruise to Island
$30 Children (4 – 12)
Free Children (3 and under)
No water, food or bathrooms located on the Island
Bathrooms on the Ferry or Dolphin Snorkeling Cruise Boat
THINGS TO BRING
Backpack to easily carry items on the island
Egmont key state park is a beautiful, serene and secluded historical island beach, perfect for swimming, exploring, shell collecting, discovering military history and viewing wildlife.
Getting to Egmont Key
Private boaters love Egmont Key because of the seclusion and beauty. However, most residents and visitors to Florida don’t own boats. The two companies I used to access Egmont Key are below. Each offer a different experiences.
This ferry departs from Fort DeSoto Fishing Pier usually mid-morning and returns mid-afternoon. On our boat ride we saw a sea turtle and a large school of Tarpans coming out of the water. There are snacks to buy and a restroom available on the boat. Reservations are highly recommended and a snorkeling option is available to add on to your ticket for $15. Using the Egmont Ferry Cruise option gives you three to four hours on the island.
This option is about four hours and is a great way to see dolphins, snorkel and get a quick tour of the island. Because of the activities offered by this cruise, time is minimal on the actual island, but it is still a fun adventure. According to the Dolphin Snorkeling Cruise 95% of the time dolphins will play and swim and jump close to the boat in the boat’s wake. I was able to see dolphins on my cruise but I was part of the 5% that did not see the dolphins up close.
The snorkeling was my favorite part of this cruise. I saw many fish in the sea grass area off the island. Snorkeling equipment is included if needed. The boat parks and stays on the island so there is a bathroom available here to those on the cruise.
On the Island
I am a lover of lighthouses and loved seeing a historical lighthouse still in operation.
My favorite part of the island was finding gopher tortoises. They were everywhere!
Egmont Key was home of early American military camps and was the home of Fort Dade until 1923. The old military town and fort remains were fun to explore.
The summer beaches on Egmont key are lined with private boats. Despite the many boats, the beaches still feel remote and not crowded. The water was clear and calm on both my visits to the Island. Because of the remoteness of the island there is better shelling than other crowded beaches in the Tampa area.
I wished that our boat options let us have more time on the island. I was a little jealous of the private boats that could spend an entire day enjoying all this beautiful island has to offer.
PROS & CONS
Wildlife viewing on Egmont Key and on boat to Key
Exploring old military ruins and town
No amenities on the Island, unless using the Dolphin Snorkeling Cruise
Would prefer to spend an entire day on the Island, not just a few hours.
Egmont Key is located at the mouth of Tampa Bay and is only accessibly via boat. Two options that I used for transportation to the Island are Egmont Key Ferry that departs from Fort De Soto Bay Pier at Anderson Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33715 and the Dolphin Snorkeling Cruise which departs from 4630 29th Ave S Gulfport, FL 33711.
OTHER NEARBY ADVENTURES
Fort De Soto Beach (just a few minutes from the Egmont Key Ferry depature point)
Tampa (45 mintues)
Anna Maria Island (1 hour)
Bush Gardens (1 hour)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I'm Corrine! I'm an outdoor enthusiast, mother of four, wife, nurse and runner. I believe God gave us this beautiful earth to explore, enjoy and protect.
My goal is to inspire you to get outside and create your own amazing memories as a family. Life is precious and there are too many adventures to be had to spend life on the couch or in front of a screen.
Join me and my family for "Adventures off the couch!" Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest @outdoorfamfun.