Shell Key Preserve Camping Review

A few weeks ago my wife and I did a kayaking/camping trip to Shell Key Preserve near Fort De Soto park.


The key is only accessible by boat which makes it a great adventure and a much less populated place to visit for the day as well as for camping!

We parked our car at the Fort De Soto park boat ramp for $6 for the night and then paddled across the channel and out toward the key.  In all it was about 1.5 miles from the boat ramp to the camp site.


You can only camp along the South side of the key but are free to walk up and down the West side as well as kayak along the East side of the key.

After we set up camp we took a kayak trip along the East side and found a great spot to string up our hammock among the mangrove!

Mangrove Hammock!

By the time we got back it was getting dark so we hit the hay.  The next morning we were greeted by an incredible sunrise at our campsite!

After breakfast we made our way up the West coast where we saw lots of wildlife ranging from manatees and dolphins to rays and starfish.  The best part is, we had the entire beach all to ourselves!!!

This was a fantastic trip!  Finding something so close to Tampa that was so private and inexpensive made this one of our favorite spots to camp that we’ve found so far.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jenifer says:

    I’m interested in the bugs. My family loves camping spoil islands but depending on the temp and foliage the no see um can be a problem. How did you find them on this island?


    1. mmatern23 says:

      Hi Jenifer! We didn’t have any problems with the bugs at all. We were there in mid-late May and had about a 5-10 mph wind. I imagine if there was no wind it probably would have been more buggy.


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