Located at the mouth of Tampa Bay and accessible only by private boat, Egmont Key has a unique natural and cultural history. Named for John Perceval, the second Earl of Egmont, the Key has had both Spanish conquistadors and nuclear submarines pass its shores. In the 1830s, as shipping increased so did the number of ship groundings leading Congress to authorize funds to construct a lighthouse — the only one between St. Marks and Key West, Florida. In 1848 the Great Hurricane, with tides 15 feet above normal washed over the island, damaging the lighthouse. A following storm prompted Congress to appropriate funds to rebuild the lightkeeper’s residence and a lighthouse that would ‘withstand any storm’.
At the end of the Third Seminole War, the island served as a camp for captured Seminoles and was later occupied by the Union Navy during the Civil War. In 1898 as the Spanish-American War threatened, Fort Dade was built and remained active until 1923. In 1926, the Tampa Bay Pilots Association set up operations on the island to assist approaching ships to navigate the harbor, helping to decrease groundings and protect the bay from environmental damage.
After touring the historic sites and trails, you can enjoy swimming, fishing, wildlife viewing, and picnicking.
Pets are not allowed on the beach due to the sensitive nature of the island. There are a few charters or day trips that offer transportation to the island. Check out our Boat Rentals & Charters for more information.
Visit: #1 Causeway Boulevard, Dunedin, Florida 34698