VIBE: Relaxed, Family Friendly
200 1st Ave, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
Updated: December 24, 2023. What makes Pass-a-Grille Beach so special? We explored this white sand paradise located on the southern end of St. Pete Beach. This place is magical with its emerald water, activities and dog beach.
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Traveling to Pass-a-Grille
If you are coming from Tampa International Airport, and renting a car, it's a really nice drive to the beach. Make sure you read all the terms and conditions from all companies involved in the car rental process. That way you get the car, the terms and price you want.
Tampa Bay is a beautiful sight whether you use the Howard Franklin Bridge or Courtney Campbell Causeway. The causeway has a small beachside area you can stop at if you need to stretch your legs.
Driving to St. Pete is always fun even in the traffic, especially when you know you are getting closer to a great beach. Coming from Bradenton, we have crossed over the Sunshine Skyway bridge many times. Considered the gateway to Tampa Bay, the view is spectacular. Clearwater Beach is nearby. As you drive across the Pinellas Bayway you will see the magnificent, pink Don Cesar hotel. Head south until you reach the end of the peninsula and you will find Pass-a-Grille beach!
If you are coming over the Skyway bridge, a fun thing to do is exit the bridge and explore the small beach park underneath it. It is a popular spot for wind surfers and kite surfers. Skyway Beach is a tiny park where you can watch water sports. Quite a few professionals practice there and give lessons. It's not really a swimming beach, due to grass, but you can set up your chairs and watch the action on a windy day.
Pass-A-Grille is a public beach located on a barrier island. One of the first things that you'll notice when you step onto Pass-A-Grille Beach is the shells. Although the sand is light and powdery, there are also tons of shells, just like Sanibel Island. Some people may find it difficult to walk on. Solution: water shoes. We always keep them in the truck for beaches with shells. What is great is this is one of the very few Florida beaches that have almost no buildings on the sand. It's also very clean, thanks to the efforts of the local community to keep the beach free of litter and debris.
The Water at Pass-a-Grille Beach
The water at Pass-a-Grille Beach is clear and calm, making it perfect for swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking. The beach is situated on the Gulf of Mexico at the very end, which means that the water is warm year-round. It feels like you are on a tropical island since the turquoise water surrounds you on three sides. You will likely spot dolphins and other marine life swimming in the waters off the coast.
Beach Parking and Amenities
One of the challenges of visiting a popular beach like Pass-a-Grille Beach is finding parking. However, there are several options available. There are many metered spots along the beach, as well as parking lots located within walking distance. Check out this link which tells you, in real time, how many parking spots are available and where to find them. If you're willing to walk a bit further, you can also find free parking on some of the side streets. Get there early to find a spot!
TIP: Per the St. Pete Beach Code of Ordinances 82-207, back in and pull through parking is illegal in metered parking spaces. The license plate must be clearly visible from the drive lane.
For those who want to bring their furry friends along, Pass-a-Grille Beach has a designated dog beach. The dog beach is not on the Gulf side, it is on the Passe-a-Grille channel. It is a small beach and is a fenced-in area where dogs can run and play off-leash. We love this beach: it is just as nice as the beach for people! Just be sure to follow the rules and regulations, such as keeping your dog leashed and cleaning up after your pet. It is always nice when a dog beach is available like in Juno Beach and New Smyrna Beach.
Pass-a-Grille Beach Activities
Pass-a-Grille Beach offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. You can rent a paddleboard or kayak and explore the waters off the coast, or you can take a dolphin watching tour. If you're feeling adventurous take out a pontoon boat.
Shelling is popular on this beach. You can spend hours just searching and finding your own personal treasure direct from the sea! Again, watch those feet because some of the shells are sharp. You'll be surprised at what you find: clams, conch, whelks and sand dollars!
If you feel hungry take a walk over to the Paradise Grille which offers great food and amazing slushy drinks right on the beach. It's patio and tropical vibe can be enjoyed all day long including beef and wine.
Shell Key Shuttle
The Shell Key Shuttle is a boat service that operates from Pass-a-Grille Beach in Florida to Shell Key, a nearby barrier island located in Pinellas County. The shuttle offers a convenient and enjoyable way to access Shell Key, which is only accessible by boat. The shuttle service offers multiple trips per day, and the journey takes approximately 10-15 minutes. The licensed captains provide commentary and information about the local wildlife and ecology during the trip.
Once you arrive at Shell Key, you can explore the island's pristine beaches, hike the nature trails, or go shelling. The island is home a ton of wildlife, including nesting shorebirds, sea turtles, and dolphins. The Shell Key Shuttle is a popular activity for visitors to Pass-a-Grille Beach, and tickets can be purchased at the shuttle's kiosk on the beach or online in advance. It sells out during peak season.
Look Out! This Could Happen...
Pass-A-Grille Beach can get crowded, especially during peak season. However, the beach is long enough that you can usually find a spot to set up your beach gear without feeling cramped. If you're looking for a quieter experience, consider visiting during the week or early in the morning.
Red Tide is a recurring problem in Florida, and its impact can vary from year to year. While the bloom can affect beaches all along the Gulf Coast of Florida, some areas are more susceptible to the harmful algal bloom than others. Here are some links to help you check beach conditions before you leave your hotel or home:
You can also download the FWC Red Tide App: The FWC has a Red Tide App that you can download to your smartphone. The app provides the latest updates on Red Tide conditions and allows you to view interactive maps and receive push notifications when conditions change.
What We Really Think about Pass-a-Grille Beach
Pass-a-Grille Beach is a true gem of Florida's Gulf Coast. It is often less crowded than St. Pete or Clearwater Beach. Its unique sand with shells and emerald water make it the perfect spot for swimming, being lazy, or water sports. And while parking and crowds can be a challenge, it's worth it to experience this beautiful beach. Going to Shell Key is an added bonus. Whether you're looking for a relaxing day in the sun, fun with Fido or an action-packed adventure, Pass-a-Grille Beach has it all.
Hotels near Pass-a-Grille Beach
Pass-a-Grille Beach Restaurants
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Susan and Bruno are travel bloggers. We write about Florida beaches on every coast. Our opinions only.