Combine the Best of Florida Beaches and Golf

    By Tim McDonald

    So you look at those Florida springtime weather readings and think: road trip.You're thinking golf, but the wife and kids are thinking they want to loll on the beach. Easy solution.

    When it comes to combining the attractions of both beaches and golf courses, Florida is unrivaled. The state is 1,800 miles long, with about 1,200 miles of that sandy beaches.

    There are dozens of great golf courses close to beaches – some of them literally are beaches. It would be impossible to list all the great golf/beach trips in so short a space, so here is one of the best with plenty more to come in later blogs.

    Fort DeSoto's North Beach was named the best beach in the country in recent years by "Dr. Beach," whose real name is Dr. Stephen Leatherman, and whose world beach rankings appear every year.

    I used to live in St. Petersburg and can back that up. Fort DeSoto Park is 1,136 acres and involves five interconnected islands. Giant snook patrol the clear waters near shore, and the area is known among birders as being a great place to see all sorts of exotic birds.

    Dr. Beach described the beach as “set in a natural wilderness, but still close to all the amenities of nearby St. Pete Beach.”

    The park has an 800-foot boat-launching facility with 11 floating docks, as well as a 238-site camping facility and two fishing piers. The fort itself displays a 12-inch mortar battery and two British, breech-loading, rapid-fire rifles of 1890, among other relics. It's a very interesting place to visit.

    Now, about the golf. You've probably heard me crow about Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club. Sorry, I can't help myself. It's just a great place to relax and play some of the best golf in the state. It's a short drive from Innisbrook to Fort DeSoto, less than an hour.

    Click here for a video of Innisbrook.