A longtime favorite haunt of visitors and locals alike, Fort De Soto Park (pictured) welcomed nearly 3 million guests last year. But in January, the area’s most popular park shook things up by instituting an entry fee for cars.
“We had been hearing for years from visitors that they didn’t understand why there wasn’t a fee for entry,” Wilson explained. Most similar beaches and parks in the area require some form of payment for parking, says Wilson, so visitors have accepted the new policy, which is $5 per vehicle.
Along with the fee, park officials began offering annual passes in January. Those passes can be purchased for $75 for guests age 65 and under and $55 for those over 65. Each pass permits unlimited entry for one household (one car) for a year.
The money will help offset the 2012 budget reduction and assist in keeping Fort De Soto a beautiful environment.
“The idea is to keep the regulars regular,” says Wilson, who notes that many people who live in Tierra Verde especially moved there to be close to Fort De Soto.
Over the years, Fort De Soto’s North Beach has been a magnet for awards and accolades, garnering “Best Beach” titles from Dr. Beach, TripAdvisor.com and Parents magazine.
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