Located at the southern end of St. Pete beach is a small gem of a waterfront town known as Pass-a-Grille. With its quaint laid-back vibe, Pass-a-Grille offers beautiful sugar sand beaches and pristine ocean waves, as well as local retailers and restaurants. Less than an hour from Tampa, you’ll quickly notice as you leave the busy city streets and hustle and bustle of the upper beaches, that the pace slows down considerably in this small, walkable beach community.
For over 10,000 years, Indians hunted and fished the waters of what later became Pass-a-Grille. Excursionists first started traveling there from Tampa in 1857, giving it the distinction of being the oldest resort city in the Central Florida West Coast, and Pass-a-Grille had it’s first hotel and a ferry boat in 1886. A visit to the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum (housed in Pass-a-Grille’s first church, built in 1917) will give you a glimpse of life as it was in the early development of the community. Ongoing exhibits include a huge collection showcasing the St. Pete Beach area spanning the past century. Fri & Sat. 10am-4pm, Sun 1-4pm; 115 10th Ave. Pass-a-Grille, FL. 727-552-1610.
Things to Do
A day in Pass-a-Grille can be as laid-back or as adventurous as you plan it. Get barefoot, go beachcombing, and relax under a cabana to the sounds of the surf and seagulls. Cabanas ($30 including 2 chairs) can be rented from the Paradise Grill shop, located near the south end of Pass-a-Grille (727-367-1495).
Hitch a ride on the Shell Key Shuttle for a trip to an untouched small barrier island just south of Pass-a-Grille. While there, enjoy sunset cruises, dolphin cruises or just wander around searching for sea shells on this dog-friendly island filled with sunny charm. $25/adults, kids 12/under are half-price. Call ahead (727-360-1348) for available days and times.
To take your adventure out to sea, book a fishing excursion on The Miss Pass-a-Grille. Or, spend a couple of hours on the water honing your stand-up paddle boarding skills with a rental from Paradise Grill (727-552-0433).
After a day exploring Pass-a-Grille, a tantalizing variety of dining and dessert options are yours to enjoy. Sip bloody Mary’s and share a crab pretzel at the Brass Monkey. Or if romantic fine dining is in your date night plans, explore the culinary artistry of Grace. Enjoy a breath-taking sunset from the rooftop deck at The Hurricane. Or, take an after-dinner stroll while you enjoy a delicious ice cream cone from Paradise Sweets (727-360-5830).
Don’t miss shopping along 8th Avenue in locally owned beach boutiques and art galleries housed in charming historic buildings. Stop in to Galene’s Paradise, which houses a gallery of work by local artists. (808 Pass-a-Grille Way). Every Friday and Sunday (weather permitting) the Paradise Bazaar Art Vendors set up booths with a variety of handcrafted items on the patio next to Paradise Grill (9am – 4pm). On Saturdays the SunTan Art Mart sets up next to Paradise Grill and features local artist members of the SunTan Art Center.
Turn your date into an overnight excursion. Take a romantic moonlit walk along the beaches then snuggle in to a one- or two-bedroom suite at an eclectic inn, or take an early morning dip into the ocean after staying in a spacious classically restored beachfront property. You won’t find any high-rise hotels in Pass-a-Grille. Small boutique hotels and historic inns await you and your date.
Parking can be difficult to find, and if you have a time-sensitive excursion planned, allow extra time to find a metered space along the beachfront. Want to take a ride anywhere between Pass-a-Grille and St. Pete? Free Beach Ride is exactly that … FREE, and the drivers work strictly on tips.
For more information on historic Pass-a-Grille or to explore other interesting things to do and see, visit: visitpassagrille.com.
Feature image credit: @PassaGrilleBeach