Fort Island Gulf Beach is a family friendly beach with beautiful white powdery sand, restrooms, showers and ample parking, just 86 miles (138 km) north of Tampa, Florida. Unaffected by artificial illumination, the beach provides a dark and open sky for reasonable stargazing. There is also boat ramp and dock accessibility, and opportunity to stroll along the beautiful boardwalk and observe some of the natural wildlife or bring tackle box and fish off the pier. Please keep in mind, however, that the beach closes to the public at 9:30 p.m. Camping is also not permitted, although there are plenty of resorts and other accommodations around the area. For more information, please visit online or call 352-527-7540 between 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.