Beautiful remote beaches, historic gun batteries, nature trails, a lighthouse and more are all waiting to be discovered at Egmont Key State Park. This state park can old be reached by boat or ferry and is the perfect day trip from the Tampa Bay area. Keep reading to plan your day!
Egmont Key State Park – The Basics
- Address: 4905 34th St. South #5000
- Please note this state park is accessible only by boat or ferry
- Driving distance to the Hubbard’s Marina Ferry located at Fort De Soto Park from select Florida cities:
- St. Petersburg: 20 minutes
- Tampa: 40 minutes
- Fort Myers: 2 hours
- Orlando: 2 hours 15 minutes
- Jacksonville: 4 hours
- Miami: 4 hours
- Hours: 8 AM to sunset daily
- Entrance fee: Free for park entrance
- See below for cost of ferry
- Activities: Birding, boating, fishing, hiking, shelling, snorkeling, picnicking, wildlife refuge
- , no restroom facilities
- Pet friendly: No
Getting to Egmont Key State Park
It is important to note that Egmont Key State Park is only accessible by boat or ferry, but it was well worth the extra effort to visit! I recently visited during the spring and took Hubbard’s Marina Ferry to get to the park. The total duration of the trip is 5 hours with a 1-hour ferry ride each way leaving you approximately 3 hours to explore Egmont Key.
TIP: Reserve your ferry ticket ahead of time and arrive 30-60 minutes in advance of your departure time to allow adequate time to check-in and take a last-minute stop in the restroom.
The ferry leaves from Fort De Soto Boat Ramp which can be found by using the Fort De Soto Park address: 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verda, Florida 33715. The parking lot for the ferry will be the first parking lot on the right and you should see a sign for the boat ramp. Make sure you park in a designated parking spot for Hubbard’s Marina ferry.
Once you have arrived be sure to check in with Hubbard’s Ferry Marina and they will provide you with your ferry ticket and parking pass. Once you are on the ferry you can relax and enjoy the ride out to Egmont Key!
Egmont Key Ferry Information
- Daily departures at 9 AM, 11 AM, and 2 PM
- Ferry departures may vary depending on time of year
Hubbard’s Marina Egmont Key Ferry Pricing
- Adults 12 years and older: $40
- Youth 3 to 11 years: $20
- Infant 2 years and under: Free
More information on Hubbard’s Marina Ferry can be found here.
What to bring for a day trip to Egmont Key?
What to bring is going to depend on what you want to spend your day doing. I knew I wanted to see a little bit of everything and the lighthouse, nature trails, and beach were all on my list of things to do. Based on what I wanted to do I wore a bathing suit with a tank top and shorts and my Teva sandals. I also brought my hiking backpack to bring food, drinks, and anything else I needed for the day.
The most important thing I recommend bringing is plenty of water for the day as well as lunch or snacks depending on the time of day. Since the state park is remote, there is no drinking water or food available so you must bring all your food and drink for the day. The ferry also has water, soda, and snacks available for purchase. It’s crucial to ensure you pack out any food or beverages you bring with you. If you need any ideas for easy to pack hiking snacks check out this post.
Item to bring with you:
- Snorkel gear
- Trash bag
You could also bring beach chairs or a book if you want to spend most of your time relaxing on the beach.
What is there to do at Egmont Key State Park?
There are a variety of activities that can be enjoyed while you visit Egmont Key State Park. While I visited, we hiked the nature trails, relaxed on the beach, took pictures of the lighthouse, and explored the historic gun batteries. More information on each of these activities is listed below.
Hike the Nature Trails
There are several miles of nature trails throughout the middle of the park. The trail initially takes you past the historic gun batteries and then moves into the “ghost town.” There are informational signs throughout which describe what used to be in each area and you can see any of the structures that remain there today. One thing I found especially interesting was the signs include the cost of each structure at the time it was built.
Another highlight of hiking through Egmont Key State Park is the famous red brick road. It was found towards the middle of the island and makes for great photo opportunities.
The south end of Egmont Key is designated a bird sanctuary and you are unable to access this area. It is important to be aware of signs posted throughout the park to ensure you do not disrupt the refuge area.
We hiked all the nature trails and took a stroll along the beach for a total distance of just over 4-miles before relaxing on the beach and eating our packed lunch.
Relax on the Beautiful Beaches
Egmont Key State Park has some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever visited. The water is a blue-green color, and the sand is a pristine white. The west side of the island has a lot of area to relax on the beach and the further you walk away from the ferry the less crowded the beaches tend to be.
Swimming or snorkeling can also be enjoyed while at the beach. Be sure to ask on the ferry for the best snorkeling spots and if there are any current conditions to be aware of.
Take in the sight of the Lighthouse
The ferry drops you off very close to the lighthouse and you will be able to see it as you approach Egmont Key. The Egmont Key Lighthouse was originally built in 1858 and is the oldest working structure in the state of Florida.
When I visited the top of the lighthouse was missing. It was removed when they needed to replace the light and it was never put back in place. Currently, you are unable to climb to the top of the lighthouse, but it’s worth walking around the ground and taking a few pictures of the lighthouse.
Explore Historic Gun Batteries
There are three-gun batteries on Egmont Key that you can explore. You can climb to the second floor of two of the gun batteries, which was a unique experience. The three-gun batteries are Battery Macintosh, Battery Melon, and Battery Charles. The views from the top of Battery Charles of the beach are breathtaking.
Recap of How to Spend a Day at Egmont Key State Park
If you choose to take the ferry from Fort De Soto you will have a total of 5 hours to experience Egmont Key State Park, but 2 of those hours will be spent on the ferry. This leaves you with 3 hours to explore the park!
- Enjoy the 1-hour ferry ride from Fort De Soto Park
- First, take in the views of the Egmont Key Lighthouse
- Next, follow the trails and climb on the historic gun batteries
- Continue along the trails and see the remains of the ghost town of Egmont Key
- Be sure to snap a picture of the famous brick road
- After exploring the nature trails return to the beach to relax and have a snack
- Finally, spend the remainder of your time swimming in the ocean or lounging on the beach
- TIP: Be sure to keep an eye on the time and be back at the ferry prior to its departure
- Relax on the 1-hour ferry ride back to Fort De Soto Park and keep your eye out for dolphins, we got to see several on our return trip
Final Thoughts on Egmont Key State Park
This was one of the best day trips I have taken from the Tampa Bay area. Egmont Key State Park has a little bit of everything which makes it fun for almost anyone! I highly recommend checking out this park out if you haven’t been there yet. Let me know in the comments below what you would do first at Egmont Key State Park!
Looking for other Florida beaches to Explore?
Check out these posts:
The information above was accurate at the time of publishing to the best of the author’s knowledge. Information will be verified and updated periodically. If you are planning to visit Egmont Key State Park, I recommend verifying the most current information with the Florida State Park website.