Accessible only by private boat, Egmont Key has a unique natural and cultural history, including a lighthouse that has stood since 1858. During the 19th century, the island served as a camp for captured Seminoles at the end of the Third Seminole War and was later occupied by the Union Navy during the Civil War. In 1898, as the Spanish - American War threatened, Fort Dade was built on the island and remained active until 1923.
After touring the historic sites and trails, visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, wildlife viewing and picnicking. Located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, southwest of Fort DeSoto Beach.
Closed to the public, the south end of the island is a shore bird refuge. This nesting area is home to future generations of osprey, brown pelicans, white ibis, royal and sandwich terns, black skimmers, American oystercatchers as well as a colony of laughing gulls.
Egmont Key is only accessible by boat. Use the ferry service from Fort DeSoto or travel here with your own watercraft to enjoy our beautiful island.
Boaters with pets, please remember that due to the sensitive nature of the island, pets are not allowed on Egmont Key.
Fishing is allowed in designated areas only. These are prime spots for reeling in seatrout, tarpon, snook, grouper and snapper, just to name a few.
All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. A fishing license may be required. More information is available at the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Fishing in Florida.
Walk through the historic ruins of Fort Dade or along the brick paths that remain from the days Fort Dade was an active community with 300 residents.
Gopher tortoises or Florida box turtles can sometimes be seen as you walk the six miles of historic paths. Many visitors are treated to the sight of hummingbirds and other seabirds the reside in the Shore Bird Refuge at the south end of the island.
Picnic tables and a shaded area are available at the north end of the island. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.
Shell collecting along the beaches is a favorite activity year round. Collecting of live shells is prohibited.
Although the historic nature of Egmont Key is a main attraction, the beautiful blue green waters will keep you coming back for more. If you dare to venture out snorkeling, keep your eyes open for the beautiful sea life that inhabits the dilapidated structures that have sunk into the sea.
In addition to a wide variety of shore birds visitors may be treated to sightings of box turtles, gopher tortoises, dolphin and manatee.
Beach lovers swim, play, sunbathe, shell or just relax on our beautiful beaches.
Although this park is primarily a wildlife refuge, Egmont Key has a unique natural and cultural history. That history includes a lighthouse that has stood on the island since 1858. During the 19th century, the island served as a camp for captured Seminoles at the end of the Third Seminole War and was later occupied by the Union Navy during the Civil War. In 1898, as the Spanish - American War threatened, Fort Dade was built on the island and remained active until 1923.
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