Lay of the Land: Soft sand, emerald waters and shady pines await you at TripAdvisor's #1 Beach for 2008 and 2009, which is made up of five separate islands. Ride, skate or jog on the 7-mile paved trail, or canoe and kayak through lush mangroves. Rover can roam at the Paw Playground and frolic in the surf at Dog Beach, while the kids explore the canons and jail cells of the old fort. Other amenties: showers, lifeguards, camping and fishing.
Little Known Facts: Built for the Spanish-American War, the fort was finished after the war ended and never fired a hostile shot. Fans of the hit television series "Prison Break" might recognize the park, since it acted as a stand in for the country of Panama for several episodes in the 2007-2008 season. Fort De Soto is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Why You Should Go: It's America's Best Beach of 2005 and 2008, you can camp directly on the water, fish from two free piers 24 hours a day, splash the boat, rent bikes---you name it. Just go!