Fort Desoto is for you

20 10 2008

Does your idea of a great beach include clean sand, miles of beach and plenty to do? Then Fort Desoto Park is for you. It is Located in Tierra Verde on the southern most part of the Pinellas county peninsula.

Unlike the other beaches in the area, the park has a variety of water fronts and is never packed. It is essentially an island with miles to explore. The beach has gentle waves and was named the number one beach in America in 2005. 

Sunsets are beautiful from atop the fort. The fort walls still have four mortars and two giant guns. The park has a pier, 238 camping sites, boat ramps and over 2,000 miles of hiking and canoe trails. 

The park has many different activities and some you can’t get anywhere else. For example, the pier offers a ferry service to Egmont Key State Park. A wildlife refuge, it is only accessible by boat. It is free to visit and has a light house from 1858. The key’s wide variety of birds draws visitors.

Camping at this park is so popular that visitors need to make reservations weeks in advance. For example, in the summer the park is at it’s busiest. The best of the sites are waterfront, and if you have a boat you can pull it right up to your site.

There are rumors about the park being a nudist colony. After 10 years of efforts to turn part of the park into a nude beach, today the park still requires clothing. Nevertheless it is a great place to spend a day or a weekend.

Photo by Hailey Petway

Photo by Hailey Petway


Kayaks 101

15 09 2008
a sit-on-top kayak

a sit-on-top kayak

Want to get around on the water? Try a Kayak.

Kayaks are not as cumbersome as canoes and can be maneuvered easily by anyone.

The vessels can be broken down into a few simple groups. There are standard kayaks that are specialized for a couple different applications. Whitewater kayaks are made of stronger material to withstand hitting rocks. Racing kayaks are lighter and longer for speed.

Recreation kayaks are the most commonly used. These are less expensive. Their bodies are typically wider and shorter. In this category there is what is called a “sit-on-top,” which is a kayak that is solid and has a well seat instead of having a hollow body.

If you have ever rented a kayak at a lake or river then this is probably what you used. They are made of durable plastic and are equipped with holes to drain water that may splash into the cockpit. These kayaks are wider than the other styles and are considered slower.

The benefit to recreation kayaks is that they are unsinkable. They are also versatile. They can be used anywhere. They are harder to tip over and easier to maneuver for a beginner or someone who values stability over speed.

So for those of you who are curious about kayaks, or are considering buying one, take a look at the “sit-on-top”. 

These are tips for choosing a kayak.

  • Choose a comfortable seat. Look for good back and hip support, and take the kayak out for a try before buying it.
  • Fit to your weight. The kayak for a 150 lb male will not be the right size for someone 220lb.
  • Rent a kayak. If you can rent different models, you will have a much better feel for what works best for you