There is actually a Fort on Fort De Soto so we spent the afternoon looking around it and visiting the museum, as well as wandering down the (extremely windy) pier. We saw some huge boats while we were walking around, some seemed rather close to the shore but sailed by without incident.
The Fort was built between 1898 and 1906 and was one of the most least desirable billets for soldiers. The temperatures made being inside the small buildings almost unbearable but being outside was equally as awful, due to the high number of mosquitoes. It was also extremely remote and cut off from civilization, with one boat arriving once a day as the only means of communication and provider of 'goods'.
There were some enormous guns still on display but apparently they were never actually shot in battle, shot many times for practice, but never was this area attacked. By 1920, it was all but left unmanned and its usefulness was exceeded. It was used again as a training outpost for World War 1 and 2 but is now somewhat of a ruin, thanks to some awful hurricanes in the last 80 years.
In the evening, we left our little 'Key' and headed back to the mainland, past the huge pink palace (Don CeSar's Hotel) and onto Pass-A-Grille. As we were driving towards the restaurant, Becca suddenly shouted: "Dolphins!" We knew there were dolphins in the area but had yet to spot any, so we were all very excited. Dave quickly parked the truck and we all jumped out, in plenty of time to see a small pod of dolphins swimming around in the bay, flipping fish between them - it was awesome. Obviously it was tough to get a good photo...
We enjoyed a lovely meal at the Black Palm restaurant, certainly a more upscale ambiance than we've been used to recently (more $$$ too!) but great service, beautiful artwork and delicious food, the kids are still raving about their molten chocolate cakes - Jake practically licked his plate clean, I'm shocked there was any pattern left!
States visited: 49!
visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800
Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)