Shell Key is Beautiful

Shell Key Sandbar and Camping

By Published On: October 16th, 2020

Shell Key Off Southern Tip of Pinellas County, St Pete

Published on 10/16/20: While we’re on the sandbar theme, if you have yet to check out Shell Key, it’s certainly worth the stop! Shell Key is only a 20-minute boat trip from Downtown St Pete, closer than previously mentioned Passage Key. Very easy to pull up and enjoy frisbee, football, building sand castles and so much more. The channel can be busy, though most of the activity is on the other side where Bunces Pass is located.

Date Day’s at Shell Key

I also include sandbars in my “Date Night” category as they certainly make for a perfect backdrop for a date. Of course most often a date “day” not night.

We truly live in paradise, where others vacation!  (Note that no alcohol is allowed on Shell Key)

Camping is allowed on Shell Key, though there are a number of rules to follow. From the Shell Key Website:

Overnight Camping  the South Public Use Area Only
Primitive camping is allowed only on the South Public Use area of Shell Key. 

Camping Permits
Camping Permits are required for any overnight activity on Shell Key. Permits can be obtained for a $6 fee from the county.

Leave No Trace
We are required to remove absolutely all trace of our camp – including food, refuse and anything that came with us on our boat.

You must remove all trace of your campfire before you leave.  This means removing (not burying) all the charred wood from the fire.  Remember that you are not at a permanent campsite.  You are in a nature preserve and are required to leave no trace at all.

NEVER Cut Any Native Vegetation for Firewood
This is perhaps the worst thing that people can do to the island – because it can’t be cleaned up.   Besides the fact that freshly cut wood on the island will barely burn,  it is a blemish on the land that will take years to regrow. Please bring plenty of firewood with you and remove it from the island when you are done.

No Bottles Or Cans In The Campfire
As cool as it may be to watch your beverage bottles melt in the campfire, these things leave a nasty mess in an area where people regularly walk barefoot.  And again, please remove all trace of your fire – even the partially burned wood and coals.  Burying it is not good enough.  Erosion will expose a buried campfire in no time.

Portable Toilets Required
The county requires all campers to bring a portable toilet for overnight activities. A simple DIY toilet can be made with a 5 gallon bucket, a trash bag and some sand.  Place the trash bag in the bucket as a liner, put in a scoop of sand and use the toilet.  When done, put another scoop of sand on top.  Some people even bring some scented cat litter to use instead of sand.

Your brother’s keeper
We are asking you to, whenever possible, take a little extra trash off the island – even if it is not yours. The overwhelming majority of visitors to Shell Key are conscientious and tidy. Yet, a few inconsiderate visitors to the island have the ability to ruin it for the rest of us.  Also, trash drifts onto Shell Key from the gulf and bay on a regular basis.  If we don’t do it, it won’t get done.  Keep a few garbage bags on the boat and grab a few items as you are strolling the beach or exploring the pines. You will feel great about making a difference.   If a lot of people make a little effort, we can sustain this resource despite our growing local population..

No Pets or Alcohol
It doesn’t seem fair to leave the member of the family that would perhaps get the most joy out of island wilderness camping.  However, pets are completely banned from the entire preserve including all of the aquatic boundaries.  Read more about the pet ban.  Alcohol is also forbidden within the preserve boundaries.

Camping Etiquette
Please be considerate of nearby campers and keep loud noise or bright lights to a minimum at night.

Address: Off the southern tip of Pinellas county.

Interested in buying or selling a property in the St Pete Area? I’m a local St Pete Realtor serving the Tampa Bay Area. I started LovingStPete on Social Media as a guide to help clients and others learn about our area and it’s now followed by over 25 thousand people! If you have any real estate questions, simply contact me. You’ll receive up to $10K at closing when you buy or sell with my LovingStPete Team! I love the industry so much I even developed a vacation rental advertising business and ran it for more than a decade before VRBO/HomeAway acquired. I’d love to earn your business!

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Written by : St Petersburg Realtor, Mike Braswell

Mike Braswell is a Tampa Bay Realtor, serving St Petersburg, Clearwater, all nearby beaches and more. Mike started LovingStPete in October of 2020 after a difficult year took its toll on local businesses. After being cooped up for portions of 2020 (lockdown) Mike and his son decided to get out and explore, helping spread the good word about the local area he loves so much. Often even doing gift card giveaways to support local. LovingStPete is now followed by over 48 thousand people on social media! The majority of posts are informative on fun parks, activities, day trips, great restaurants, and in general provide a comprehensive tour of the area!

Soon after receiving his bachelors in Management Information Systems, Mike developed and then operated a vacation rental advertising business for 10+ years as CEO/Owner. The business was eventually acquired by VRBO. Mike has earned the trust of many large clients over the years. Such as NFL, Wynn Resorts, Blue Cross Blue Shield, VISA, Genuine Parts Company (NAPA Auto Parts), AT&T, and other Fortune 500 companies.

When not spending time with his beautiful wife and energetic son, Mike enjoys boating and is also an avid tennis player. An interesting fact about Mike is that he grew up on an avocado farm with over 15 varieties, some of which you can find in our local Publix/Winn Dixie as his dad still farms the same farm at 87 years old!

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