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Things to do in Pass-a-Grille, Florida

This small, quaint beach town located at the southernmost end of St. Pete Beach on the gulf coast is the perfect location for your next Florida vacation. If you’re on the hunt for things to do in Pass-a-Grille, Florida, you’re in luck, because there are so many fun activities to keep you busy! From its white sand to turquoise waters and local shops, Pass-a-Grille has everything you’d wish for in a beach trip. In this post, we’ll go over all of the best activities for your trip to this beautiful Florida beach town.

Text: Things to do in Pass-a-Grille: Neighbor to St. Pete, Florida. Image: a deserted white-sand beach.
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Note: This article was written by a guest writer, Wayne, whose blog is Always on the Shore.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I (Rachel) will receive a small commission. This will not affect your price.

1. Visit Pass-a-Grille Beach

This long stretch of white sand on the Gulf of Mexico is located at the southern end of St. Pete Beach, which is a popular destination for tourists. Extending for four miles to the very tip of the barrier island, this award-winning beach offers plenty of space for beachgoers. Sit back and relax on the soft white sand as you listen to the sounds of waves crashing into the shore, birds chirping above, and kids playing in the sand.

Either bring your own towel and umbrella or rent one of the cabanas and spend some time in the shade. Being so close to St. Pete Beach, the Sunset Capitol of Florida, you’re likely to see some of the most beautiful sunsets of your life, so be sure to stay to watch the show!

Long stretch of white sand with no one on it and dunes on the right.
Pass-a-Grille Beach.

2. Visit the historic Merry Pier

This historical stop along Pass-a-Grille Way was created back in 1902. It’s now a world-renowned location for fishing and boating. It was opened by the Merry family, and was originally just a general store, selling bait, tools, and rental boats. Today, you can still shop at the store, which also has a fresh fish market with fish caught from the Gulf of Mexico. Alternatively, you can head out into the water to experience some world-class fishing for yourself! Book a fishing charter with the Offshore Hustler and make some lifetime memories. You can also hop aboard the Miss Pass a Grille deep-sea fishing boat and try your hand at fishing for grouper, sea bass, mangrove snappers, and more.

Just a simple pier: wooden boards on piles extending in a zigzag shape over the water. Buildings visible far away across the water.
Merry Pier.

3. See the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum

Not only will this small museum teach you about the history of the Gulf Beaches, but you’ll also get to learn the history of the building itself. What was originally the first church on the Gulf Beaches, built in 1917, has now become this historical museum, after being saved from destruction by Joan Haley. She turned the building into her home and then dedicated it as an island museum after her passing. Today, you can visit the museum and check out artifacts from World War II, local island churches, Haley’s life, and more.

4. Get a drink at Shadrack’s

Shadrack’s is a popular local dive bar, located just off 8th Avenue, steps from the beach. It’s the perfect spot to stop into and grab one of their variety of unique drinks as you spend time on Pass-a-Grille Beach. Many people who visit Shadrack’s love the laid-back atmosphere that most anyone feels comfortable in. Whether you’re a local coming in for the first time or just a visitor, the staff are welcoming and ready to serve you a drink.

Side of a building painted with a mural that shows the face of a woman and also a sailing ship, with the word Shadracks.

5. Eat at Paradise Grille

When you’re on the hunt for something good to eat for either lunch or dinner, head to Paradise Grille. This beach bar is located right off the sandy beach of the Gulf of Mexico, giving you the opportunity to enjoy your meal as you watch the beautiful blue-green Gulf water crashing on the shore. The menu is filled with delicious foods, including everything from pizza to burgers to seafood. Oftentimes you’ll also find live music, making it the perfect place to watch the sunset as you listen to some tunes. Plus, a unique ritual happens every night at sunset, when one of the bell-keepers rings the Pass-a-Grille sunset bell. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to help him ring it! 

If you’ve spent enough time on the beach, head out for a bit of shopping at the local boutiques in the area. There are several small shops along the streets of Pass-a-Grille Beach where you can find souvenirs to bring home. You’ll find everything from clothing to holiday ornaments and snacks. There is also an art gallery in town, A Little Room For Art, which showcases the art of over 20 different artists. Along with the permanent art store, there is also a pop-up art market on weekends year-round, where local artists have their art up for sale, right near the beach.

Side of a building painted light yellow, with a mural depicting a 1940s woman in a bathing suit and the words "We've been laid back since way back" and "Keystone Motel Est. 1945."
In downtown Pass-a-Grille.

7.  Walk, ride a bike or take a golf cart around town

One of the best things to do in Pass-a-Grille Beach is wander around the town by foot, bike, or golf cart. The tiny historic core of Pass-a-Grille is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The small town offers the perfect opportunity to explore on your own time and really experience the beauty of Florida. Many of the local boutiques, galleries, and beaches are within walking distance of each other and a block from the beach. If you want to go a bit further, rent a bike from Merry Pier or a golf cart and spend time wandering the streets of the small area. You could also head north to see some of the St. Pete beach attractions.

Side of a building with an image of a mermaid and also a woman in a t-shirt leaning in a doorway. Her t-shirt and the sign on the building read "Freaky Tiki Surf Shack"
In downtown Pass-a-Grille.

8. Take the Shell Key Shuttle

Shell Key Preserve is a beautiful sanctuary for nesting and migrating birds, and is home to sea creatures of all sorts. Located just south of Pass-a-Grille Beach and right at the mouth of Tampa Bay, it’s a great place for day trips from Pass-a-Grille. To reach Shell Key, you must take a boat, such as the Shell Key Shuttle, which departs from Merry Pier. During your ride on the shuttle, keep your eyes open for dolphins and other marine life that may be playing in the water, and watch for them on the island as well! At Shell Key, try a kayaking tour in a transparent kayak! If you’d like to see one of the world-famous sunsets from the water, you can also book a sunset cruise aboard the Shell Key Shuttle.

9. Check out Fort De Soto Park and Egmont Key

The beautiful Fort De Soto Park is located just south of Pass-a-Grille, not too far from Shell Key, and makes for a perfect day trip from Pass-a-Grille. At the park, you’ll find five interconnected islands that are home to a variety of plants, wildlife, and more. During your visit, spend some time relaxing on the beach, kayaking along the shore, and walking on the nature trails. If bird-watching is your thing, sign up for this half-day private bird tour of Fort De Soto.

You can also take the ferry to Egmont Key from Bay Pier in Fort De Soto Park. Egmont Key is one of Florida’s state parks and offers fishing and opportunities to watch for marine life.

10. Visit St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, and Madeira Beach

Not far from Pass-a-Grille Beach, there are several other beautiful beaches that are worth visiting. Follow the shore north and you’ll stumble upon the cities of St. Petersburg (a.k.a. St. Pete), Treasure Island and Madeira Beach. Within these cities are St. Pete County Beach, St. Pete Municipal Beach, Upham Beach Park, Sunset Beach, and Madeira Beach. Each of these beaches has its own gorgeous white sand and teal water to enjoy. You’ll also find unique restaurants, shops, and parks around each of them. From Madeira Beach you can try parasailing or take a helicopter tour! It’s also a good place to take a sunset boat trip.

View down a white-sand beach, buildings on the right, people lying on beach chairs on scattered across the beach.
Madeira Beach.

11. Visit the shops at John’s Pass

While you’re exploring to the north of Pass-a-Grille, make a stop right between Madeira Beach and Treasure Island Beach, where you’ll find the waterfront John’s Pass. It makes for the perfect place for some shopping and wandering during your Florida vacation. The Village and Boardwalk at John’s Pass has over 100 merchants selling their unique items, as well as a large variety of restaurants to choose from. If you want to get out on the water, there are a number of dolphin-watching and fishing tours (all day or half a day) available from John’s Pass. As the sun begins to set, spend some time exploring the local bars, which often have live music.

A shopping street lined with palm trees, single-story shops on either side.
John’s Pass.

12. Take a day trip to Clearwater Beach

Just under an hour north, Clearwater Beach is one of the most popular destinations for spring breakers and families taking vacations. A trip to Clearwater is the perfect way to spend a day away from Pass-a-Grille, if you’re looking for something a bit different. Enjoy the sugary white sand, turquoise waters, Pier 60, and the many local restaurants lining the shore. In the evening, take a sunset sailing cruise on a schooner!

View from a walkway over the beach: rail across the foreground, the white-sand beach stretching out as far as the horizon, a scattering of people and umbrellas and beach chairs. A few tall appartment buildings partly visible on the right, the sea on the left.
Clearwater Beach

13. Grab Dinner and Drinks at the Local Restaurants

When you’re ready to grab a bite to eat back in Pass-a-Grille, head to one of the popular local restaurants.

  • The bright-colored building where you’ll find The Hurricane Seafood Restaurant is hard to miss! Grab a drink at the rooftop bar and enjoy the spectacular view of the Gulf. They also serve seafood to enjoy with your drinks.
  • The Brass Monkey serves delicious seafood with a spectacular waterfront view and welcoming atmosphere.
  • The Wharf Restaurant is on the intracoastal side of town, offering a different view and tasty seafood.
  • And if you’re looking for somewhere to grab a drink on the beach, Red, White, & Booze, also called Sea Critters Cafe, is a bar and grill that offers great seafood and a wide drink menu. 
View down a street, Brass Monkey in a large building on the right with round windows on the upper floor that forms a covered walkway over the lower floor.

Getting around in Pass-a-Grille

Pass-a-Grille and St Pete have a bus system, and there is also a free electric shuttle service that serves both beach communities. Alternatively, rent a car to get around.

Where to Stay in Pass-a-Grille

To fully enjoy Pass-a-Grille, find accommodations there, rather than staying in the busier St Petersburg next door. Everything is a short walk to the beach, and some places have views even if they’re not directly on the beach.

  • A great place to stay in Pass-a-Grille is the Don CeSar Hotel, a large luxury resort that looks like a pink castle. It has its own private beach, an outdoor pool, and an on-site wellness retreat. You can also enjoy water sport rentals, on-site restaurants, and more.
  • Coconut Inn is a three-star right in the Historic District, with a pool and excellent reviews.
  • There are plenty of other accommodations nearby.
The hotel is about 6-7 stories and pastel pink, with several turrets.
The Don CeSar

If you want to stay right on the beach, though, without even dunes between you and the water, choose a place on the southern end of St Pete Beach. That way you can reach the quieter Pass-a-Grille beaches easily.

  • Try the Bellwether Beach Resort, for example, a beautiful resort, complete with beachfront views, water sport rentals, beachside food service, and newly renovated rooms. 
  • If you’re looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, check out the Dolphin Beach Resort. It features 400 feet of beach, a heated outdoor pool, and a beach bar.
  • Again, there are plenty of other accommodations options nearby. Use the map view so you can choose a place at the south end of St. Pete Beach.

Final Thoughts: Pass-a-Grille, Florida

Found in one of the most popular areas in Florida, there are many things to do in historic Pass-a-Grille, making it the perfect beach vacation. Whether you’re visiting by yourself, on a romantic vacation, or with family, there is something for every type of trip in this small beach town.

Wayne is the creator of Always on the Shore and loves to travel, take photographs, and write about the best attractions, beaches, restaurants, and resorts in Florida and the Atlantic Coast. You can also find him on Instagram.

Have you been to Pass-A-Grille? Do you have any recommendations to add? Add a comment below!

Text: Pass-a-Grille, Florida: Things to see and do. (and the Rachel's Ruminations logo). Image: a shopping street lined with palm trees.

My travel recommendations

Planning travel

  • Booking.com is the company I use most for finding accommodations. If you prefer, Expedia offers more or less the same.
  • Discover Cars offers an easy way to compare prices from all of the major car-rental companies in one place.
  • Use GetYourGuide to find walking tours, day tours, airport pickups, city cards, tickets and whatever else you need at your destination.
  • Bookmundi is great when you’re looking for a longer tour of a few days to a few weeks, private or with a group, pretty much anywhere in the world. Lots of different tour companies list their tours here, so you can comparison shop.
  • Get a Priority Pass if you fly a lot so that you can use airport lounges while you wait for flights. Plan your visits around meals and/or drink times and it’s definitely worth the investment!
  • I’m a fan of SCOTTeVEST’s jackets and vests because when I wear one, I don’t have to carry a handbag. I feel like all my stuff is safer when I travel because it’s in inside pockets close to my body.
  • Wordery isn’t specifically about travel; it’s a bookstore, but they do carry all of the most popular travel guidebooks.

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about Rachel

Hi, I’m Rachel!

Rachel’s Ruminations is a travel blog focused on independent travel with an emphasis on cultural and historical sites/sights. I also occasionally write about life as an expatriate. I hope you enjoy what I post here; feel free to leave comments! Read more…

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