Shell Key Off Southern Tip of Pinellas County, St Pete

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.

Campfires
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.

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