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, it is easy to have a perfect day here.
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. Let’s plan a perfect day in Historic Pass-a-Grille.
Updated July 2022 by Dani Meyering
What is Pass-a-Grille beach known for? Let’s take a look at the best things to do, plus restaurants, and boat excursions and more.
Top Pass-a-Grille Activities
- Gulf Beaches Historical Museum
- Shell Key Shuttle
- Sunset and dolphin cruises
- Merry Pier
- Fishing excursions
- Suntan Art Center
- Pass-a-Grille Art Market
- Bike rentals
- Beachside dining
A day in Pass-a-Grille can be as laid-back or as adventurous as you plan it. Get barefoot, go beach combing, and relax under a cabana to the sounds of the surf and seagulls.
Gulf Beaches Historical Museum for some Pass-a-Grille History
For more than 10,000 years, Native Americans hunted and fished the waters of what later became Pass-a-Grille. The name is thought to be derived from the French term Passe aux Grilleurs (passage of the grillers). There are a lot of stories and legends about Pass-a-Grille’s name, so expect to see and hear different versions during your visit.
The town of Pass-a-Grille Beach was incorporated into the city of St. Petersburg Beach in 1957 and in 1989 a section of Pass-A-Grille was declared a National Historic District.
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. The original church property was saved by Joan Haley, a widowed journalist who moved to the beach in 1952 from Washington, D.C. This little fact immediately makes the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum so special.
The timeline display from 1500 to present is a great place to start. And be sure to browse the hundreds of photographs and maps, postcards, local school yearbooks, a WWII exhibit, artifacts from island churches, and a special Don CeSar Hotel display.
The museum also has a gift shop featuring books, local art, vintage-style wares, and island-inspired items for visitors of all ages.
Thur-Sat. 10am-4pm, Sun 1-4pm
115 10th Ave. Pass-a-Grille, FL
Pass-a-Grille Boat Tours
What’s the point of being in a beach town if you don’t get in the water? A boat tour in Pass-a-Grille is a must do!
Top pick: Head to Shell Key. 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 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.
Shell Key Sunset Cruise
Make reservations for a one and a half hour Sunset Cruise available by reservation only. The pricing is the same as the regular Shell Key Shuttle. The difference being the sunset cruise is booked at a specific reservation time based on the time of the sunset. Usually sunset cruises begin approximately one hour before the actual sunset.
Dress comfortably and bring a light sweater in case the wind kicks up. Increase the romance factor and bring snacks (even dinner if you desire) and your own beer and wine.
This tour includes five residential islands and takes you from historic cypress beach cabins to modern multimillion-dollar mansions. Enjoy views of unspoiled barrier islands with numerous shorebirds, usually dolphins and (in summer) sometimes manatees. Narrations, questions and answers provide an educational and sometimes humorous aspect to each cruise.
To take your adventure out to sea, book a fishing excursion on The Miss Pass-a-Grille. Or visit Merry Pier – the hub of fishing and boating in Pass-a-Grille. You can also rent bikes here at Merry Pier.
If you prefer to fish the shoreline, there are big snook as well as occasional schools of pompano and redfish. Flounder are common in Fall and Spring. The Jetty, located at the southwest tip of Pass-A-Grille, is a fantastic fishing spot. The Jetty is often crowded on weekends, so be courteous to your fellow anglers.
After a day exploring Pass-a-Grille, a tantalizing variety of dining and dessert options are yours to enjoy.
- Paradise Grill
- Brass Monkey
- The Hurricane
- Seahorse Restaurant
- Paradise Sweets
Enjoy a breath-taking sunset from the rooftop deck at The Hurricane. This historic building is brightly colored and totally photogenic. The rooftop deck is a must, but also super popular, so get there as early as possible (restaurant opens daily at 11:30am).
If you prefer a one-stop shop for all your dining needs, Paradise Grill is a massive Pass-a-Grille restaurant. It is a destination itself with live entertainment, multiple bars, and plenty of outdoor seating on the water.
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 Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting) the Suntan Art Center hosts the Pass-a-Grille Art Market and artists set up booths with a variety of handcrafted items on the patio next to Paradise Grill.
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.
Additional Pass-a-Grille Information
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.
Other Things to Do
If you’re searching for more stuff to do – fun events, activities and more – our constantly updated list of top things to do in Clearwater, Tampa and St. Pete is a great resource!