Insider: Egmont Key State Park Is a Slice of Real Florida Hidden in Tampa Bay

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A short ferry ride from one of Florida's most populated, sprawling urban areas is Egmont Key, an island smack dab in the middle of the channel at the mouth of Tampa Bay. As you approach you can't help but see the lighthouse — the island's been home to one since the 1800s. You'll stroll over the remains of an old military outpost. (Egmont Key was held by the Union Navy during the Civil War.) And you'll walk out of the history books into a peaceful preserve, home to all the wildlife that calls Tampa Bay home. 

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