Parks & Preserves Frequently Asked Questions
General Park Questions
Are the parks ever closed?
All County-governed parks and preserves are closed the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The exception is Fort De Soto Park, which is open all year, excluding shelter reservations.
Do I need a fishing license for lake or saltwater fishing at any of the County parks?
Fishing regulations are enforced by Florida Wildlife Commission. Some County parks require a fishing license. Refer to each park’s web page for fishing license requirements.
Is overnight parking allowed on the County boat ramps?
Overnight parking for boat ramp use only is allowed at the boat ramps at Belleair Bridge, Park Boulevard Bridge, Sutherland Bayou and Fort De Soto Park. The proper fees must be paid and daily receipt or annual permit appropriately displayed. No overnight vehicle storage is allowed.
Is one annual boat ramp pass good at all County-managed boat ramps?
What do I do if I want to have a wedding or other kind of private event at a County park?
All weddings require a permit even if you have a shelter reservation. This also includes gatherings at the County beach parks.
Mobile Parking Technology
What payment options are available for paid parking at beach and boat ramp locations?
The implementation of mobile parking technology will enable patrons to have multiple options to pay parking fees using either the Flowbird mobile app, pay-by text, existing parking terminals or an annual pass.
Are there fees associated with using the mobile app or pay-by-text?
There is a $0.35 cent convenience fee for submitting your payment using the app and/or pay-by-text option. There is no convenience fee for using the parking terminals or annual pass
Can patrons still pay cash at the Fort De Soto Park entry booth?
The implementation of mobile parking technology transitions Fort De Soto Park to a cashless system. The booth is no longer used to accept payments. Additional machines were relocated to Fort De Soto Park to increase their inventory of pay stations. The entry booth will be staffed for two weeks following the launch to assist providing directions to terminals and handouts with mobile app assistance.
How will volunteers be impacted by this change?
Volunteers will need to provide Parks & Conservation Resources their license plate data in advance of their arrival for any volunteer projects.
How does mobile parking technology impact annual parking pass holders?
Annual pass holders will not be impacted by mobile parking technology. Their license plate data will be uploaded daily. Decals will no longer be used for annual passes. There will be a 1 to 2 business day turnaround for new requests and renewals to be uploaded.
Will the mobile application apply to the Madeira Beach Access?
The Madeira Beach Access location/zone will be configured for an hourly rate.
How will disabled veterans with, or without, an annual pass use the mobile app?
Those with state-issued disabled parking placard, registered disable license plate, or a Disabled Veterans plate, can park in any designated disabled parking space or any parking space free of charge. Annual pass holders license plate data is updated daily.
How will patrons without a smart phone pay to park?
Several parking terminals are located at each location. Additional parking terminals were added to Fort De Soto throughout the park. Pay-by-text is also available.
How does mobile parking technology impact campground guests for beach parking?
Registered campers must check in at the campground office to confirm or update their attending vehicle license data. Only one vehicle per campsite is allowed for complimentary entry to the park during park operation hours of 7 a.m. to sunset. This will ensure the attending vehicle’s license plate data is uploaded successfully into the pay-by-plate software daily.
Does my SunPass work as an accepted form of payment?
No, SunPass is valid for road tolls and not paid parking.
Where can you take your pets in County parks and preserves?
Pets are welcome in most areas of the County parks with the exception of Fort De Soto Park Historic Fort, beaches, swimming areas, piers, boardwalks, picnic shelters, restrooms, beach showers, playgrounds or where food and drink are sold. Pets must be on an adequate leash not longer than 6 feet. Other exceptions are the County dog parks.
No pets, except horses accessing and using trails designated for horseback riding, are permitted in any environmental land.
What are the dog park rules?
You can find our dog park rules here.
What do we do if someone brings an aggressive dog into the dog park?
Signage at all dog parks indicates aggressive dogs are not allowed. If it’s an emergency, call 9-1-1 or report the incident to Pinellas County Animal Services.
Are dogs allowed on County beaches?
Dogs are not allowed on our beaches EXCEPT the dog beach at Fort De Soto Park. It is accessible by a path that runs along south side of the dog park or by walking through the dog park and exiting the gate at the southwest corner (small and large park both have exits to beach). The dogs can play on the beach without the confines of a leash, but pets need to be under voice control. The dog park at Fort De Soto has areas for small and large dogs to run leash-free in an area just less than three acres. For other dog parks within the county park system, please visit our dog park page.
Why is one side of a dog park sometimes closed?
The dog parks are closed several times a year for maintenance.
General Fort De Soto Park Questions
Is there a shuttle to Egmont Key State Park?
Yes. See: Ferry Service to Egmont Key
Can I rent a canoe, kayak or bike at Fort De Soto?
Yes. See: Rentals – Kayaks & Bikes
Are there concessions at Fort De Soto?
Yes. Concessions are provided by United Park Services.
Are there trails for biking?
Fort De Soto Park offers a paved 6.5-mile multipurpose trail (hiking, biking, inline skating) that can be accessed at various locations throughout the park.
Where can you swim?
Swimming is only permitted from the beach. Please check signs for lifeguard availability (seasonal).
Fort De Soto Camping Questions
Are we allowed to bring a golf cart to the campground to tour the fort?
Electric carts are allowed in the campground only. They are not permitted in other areas of the park. Gasoline-powered carts are not permitted within the campground or the park.
Do you provide fire rings at the campsites?
No. We do not provide fire rings at our campsites. We do permit small fires in the provided grills. Campfires are permitted in the campsites as long as you have the fire in a container. You can use a “cut off” 55–gallon drum or a portable fireplace that can be purchased at a home improvement store or department store. Camp rings are also available for rent or purchase at our camp store.
Is the camp store run by the County?
No. The camp store is privately owned and operated by our contracted vendor, United Park Services.
What kind of electric hookups are provided?
Area #1, sites 1-85, has only 20 amp and 30 amp service. Areas #2 and #3 have 20, 30, 50 amp service available on each site. Appropriate plugs are required for each with 20 amp using the standard household type plug. You will need to bring your own hose for the water hookup. We do not have television or full hookup sewer. We have two dump stations and seven restrooms in the campground.
Do you have Wi-Fi?
There’s wireless service provided at no charge in and around our camp office. This service is brought to you by Pinellas County and the Friends of Fort De Soto Park.
How do you make reservations to camp in the primitive area of Fort De Soto?
We accept reservations by phone up to three months in advance. There is no charge. You may call (727) 582-2100 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. It is very popular and is usually booked exactly three months in advance and can accommodate up to 90 people.
Are you allowed to camp in Area #1 with a 15-foot trailer?
Yes, trailers smaller than 16 feet are permitted to camp in Area #1.
Boating around Fort De Soto Park
Where are we allowed with our boats?
The water surrounding the campground is Mullet Key Bayou. We do NOT permit boats with internal combustible engines in the water to the eastern side of Area #1 or in the water between Areas #1 and #2. We DO permit boats with internal combustible engines in the bayou on the western side of Area #1. However, please be advised that the water on the western side of Area #1 is very shallow.
Where do we launch the boat?
You must launch your boat at the boat ramp that is close to the entrance of the park. Parking is $6 daily for boat trailer parking and $5 for vehicle parking. Annual parking permits are available. The water to the eastern side of Area #3 is the boat channel. If you are camping on the eastern side of Area #3 you can tie your boat off the seawall in front of your site. We also permit patrons to tie their boats in the boat channel just behind the parking lot and camp store no matter where you are camping in the campground.
Where can you canoe or kayak?
Canoes and kayaks are permitted in all waters around the campground.
How to Help
Is there a volunteer group just for Parks & Conservation Resources?
Yes! For information see opportunities available.
Is there a lot of paperwork involved if I want to volunteer?
No. It’s a simple process. Contact Pinellas County Volunteer Services for information. They are in downtown Clearwater at the Courthouse Annex, 400 S. Fort Harrison Ave., Annex Building, Room 121, Clearwater, Florida 33756. Ph: (727) 464-8477 / TDD: (727) 464-4063. Volunteer Application Form
Can I make a monetary donation to the Parks & Conservation Department?
Yes. Donations can be made by making your check payable to Pinellas County BOCC and sending it to Attention: Finance Manager, PCR, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, Fl 33774. We do not permit memorials of any kind. Questions regarding monetary donations can be sent through our contact form or by calling (727) 582-2100 and selecting 2 from the phone menu.
How are we doing?
How can I thank the staff or comment on my experience at a park?
Our staff is here to serve and appreciates your feedback. Use our contact form or send your comments by mail to Pinellas County Parks & Conservation Department at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33774