Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1974 and protects a diverse community of animals and plants, many of which are either threatened or endangered, including nesting sea turtles, gopher tortoises, over 40,000 pairs of nesting birds, and other spectacular wildlife. In recent years the number of sea turtles nesting on Egmont Key has been greatly reduced due to severe beach erosion. Visitors are asked to be mindful of staked out sea turtle nests on the beach - please do not disturb the nests!
Do you want to experience Egmont Key? Hubbard's Marina runs a daily ferry service from the Fort De Soto boat ramp. Book a ferry ticket here.
Strategically located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, this island refuge was once the site of the United States Army's Fort Dade, and abundant reminders of this unique military past can be found scattered throughout the island today. Silent gun batteries testify to a time when mighty battleships reigned supreme on the world’s oceans, and a brick carriage road meanders across the island recalling the days when mules and horses carried military personnel and their dependents on sunny picnics to the beaches. Over 4 miles of trails allow visitors to discover the interior of the island, as well as the beautiful north side and west side beaches. Along the trails you may encounter gopher tortoises, box turtles, yellow rat snakes, and of course many species of birds including ospreys, herons, skimmers, egrets, bald eagles, and more.
Visitors to Egmont Key can view the abundant wildlife, walk the roads of the abandoned town, explore the ruins of the gun batteries and visit the Guardhouse (when open), admire the historic lighthouse, or simply enjoy the Gulf of Mexico from Egmont's beautiful beach.
Please Note: the entire southern half of Egmont Key is a federally protected bird sanctuary, and is closed to the public. NO boat landing or foot traffic is permitted anywhere on the southern half of Egmont Key!