Fodor's Expert Review Egmont Key
In the middle of the mouth of Tampa Bay lies the small (350 acres), largely unspoiled but critically eroding island Egmont Key, now a state park, national wildlife refuge, national historic site, and bird sanctuary. On the island are the ruins of Ft. De Soto's sister fortification, Ft. Dade, built during the Spanish-American War to protect Tampa Bay. The primary inhabitants of the less-than-2-mile-long island are the threatened gopher tortoise and box turtles. The only way to get here is by boat—you can catch a ferry from Ft. De Soto, among other places. Nature lovers will find the trip well worth it—the beach here is excellent for shelling, secluded beach bathing, wildlife viewing, and snorkeling. Multiple ferry operators run trips here, including Hubbard's Marina, Dolphin Landings, and Island Boat Adventures.