Like all proper paradises, Egmont Key is a little removed from the everyday world, a splash away from noise, bustle and traffic.
Nestled in the mouth of Tampa Bay, the island’s windswept beaches are accessible only by boat. It’s a place where nature celebrates, providing a haven for gopher tortoises, sea turtles, and nesting shore birds. Visitors enjoy its recreational activities as well as viewing its historic lighthouse, a towering white sentinel that is still used today.
But the Key is more than a soul-soothing escape: it has played an important part in America’s history as well as Florida’s.
Exploring the Key is always fascinating, but especially during Discover the Island, Nov. 2-3, 2013. This weekend-long event features an opportunity to learn about Egmont Key’s rich history, its lighthouse, and its wildlife. Experts on its native plants will also be on hand.
And that’s just the tip of the sandbar.
Civil War re-enactors, both Union and Confederate, will don authentic uniforms and equipment. Experts will dish on the role the Key played in the Spanish American War. The event boasts a Silent Auction, kids games, local artists, music, souvenirs, items made from recycled plastic bottles by USF art students, self guided walking tours, plus the chance to nosh on what have been declared the best hotdogs on the island.
I don’t know about you, but I want to go – I could stand a little slice of paradise!
Ferry Pass Prices and Sales
Day Pass sales will be at the boarding site at Fort DeSoto on the days of the event. To get to the boarding area, go to the parking lot for the Gulf Pier (not the usual ferry boarding area at the Bay Pier.) At the Gulf Pier parking lot, look for the white museum building. That's the start of the short walk to the beach boarding area and day pass sales tent. Cash, major credit cards and checks are accepted.
Ferry Service Departure Times (two ferries will be on site)
The first ferry leaves Ft. DeSoto at 9 a.m. and will continue shuttle service as they fill with passengers. The last boats will depart Ft. DeSoto at 2 p.m. The last ferries will leave Egmont Key at 4 p.m. This allows later arrivals at least two hours to enjoy the event.
Day Pass Prices (includes ferry service to/from island)
- $18 for Adults, ages 12 and up
- $15 for Active Duty/Retired Military with proper I.D.
- $5 for Children, ages 5 to 11 years
- Children under 5 are free