Fort Desoto Beach is not really in Tampa. It's closer to St. Petersburg. I don't remember the name of the town, but it's considered a Tampa Bay area beach. Fort Desoto was voted the #1 beach in America in 2005. Since we were visiting Orlando, I just had to visit a Gulf Coast beach. Since Fort Desoto is #1 we went there! It really was a lovely beach. The water was warm, the sand was white and clean. There were a lot park/picnic areas. You could rent bicycles or buy an ice cream. The waves were pretty calm. I hear that the gulf coast has warmer water and less waves than the Atlantic Ocean side of Florida. I never got to see the famous Gulf Coast Sunset. I was bummed about that. We were there on a cloudy day. Oh, and it's only 1 1/2 hrs from Orlando. Not too bad.