Updated: Oct 26
Egmont Key is situated at the entrance of Tampa Bay. The beaches on the gulf side are very pleasant to stop for a break.
Egmont Key is a designated wildlife refuge and a protected natural area. The island is home to a range of plants and animals, including gopher tortoises, sea turtles, and shorebirds. The island's beaches provide nesting grounds for tern and the black skimmers.
Supposedly there is buried pirate treasure in the island.
Getting here by kayak can be done either from fort DeSoto Park, or from Anna Maria Island.
Either way, you need to be prepared for fast tidal currents at both at the north and south ends the island. If the tide is flooding, then you will need to paddle out towards the gulf before you then turn east and head directly to the island. If the tide is ebbing, then head to the back of the island before turning around the north to hung the shore and avoid getting washed out. The peak current is about 3 knots.
Historically, Egmont Key has served as a military installation and a lighthouse station. The island was used by the United States military during the Civil War for coastal defense. Fort Dade, is a historic military fort built in the late 1800s, still stands on the island and is now a popular attraction but is is mostly in ruins.
Camping on the island is not allowed, but if no one catches you, then it didn't happen... otherwise you should camp in fort Desoto Park.
You should come and see the island while it still exists. The sea is quickly washing it away. A comparison on Google Earth from 1985 to the present day shows that the island is gone (a good chunk of the south end was eroded during hurricane Ian in 2022). Only the central ridge of the island remains.
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