Fun Things to Do in Pass-a-Grille On a Florida Gulf Coast Getaway

Fun things to do in Pass-a-Grille Florida include nightly US Gulf Coast sunset celebrations, chilling out to a relaxed Key West like community vibe, and just getting off the grid and recharging your emotional and physical batteries.

Pass-a-Grille Florida is frequently compared to Key West, by locals and visitors alike. Just like its big sister Key West, Pass-a-Grille is found at the end of the world (well, the southern tip of St Pete Beach), has cleverly quirky and quaint people and vibes, and has a long maritime history—but Pass-a-Grille is also considered Old School Key West, the way Key West used to be.

Not everyone has discovered Pass-a-Grille—heck, or even heard of it—and I urge you to consider this slice of US Gulf Coast paradise for your next Florida Gulf Coast getaway.

We were hosted guests of Coconut Inn in Pass-a-Grille, Florida but this content is carefully crafted with the McCool Travel audience in mind.

Fun Things to Do in Pass-a-Grille Florida

soft white sand of Pass-a-Grille FL beach
soft white sand of Pass-a-Grille FL beach

OK, I know you are wondering, as I was, why is it called Pass-a-Grille? The standard historical answer seems to be that fishermen used this area to grill their catches and the name Passe aux Grilleurs (Passageway of the Grillers) stuck.

Also in the 1850s (there is a lot of fun and interesting history in Pass-a-Grille), Pass-a-Grille was the location of the first “resort” on the central portion of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The Old Town Pass-a-Grille National Historic District designation was assigned in 1989 and includes 97 buildings between 4th Avenue and 12the Avenue. An additional section was designated in 2003 which includes another 350 structures.

For more history and local information, visit the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum. It is housed in the oldest church building in Pass-a-Grille and has free admission but limited hours.

Gulf Beaches Historical Museum in Pass-a-Grille
Gulf Beaches Historical Museum in Pass-a-Grille

Also visit the popular Pass-a-Grille Facebook Community page for reviews, event listings, and local suggestions (the best travel tips!).

In addition to the beautiful beaches (US Gulf Coast beaches are the primary draw), check out the cute downtown street with craft shops and places to eat and drink (our suggestions are below). A boat shuttle to Shell Key, fishing charters, and boat/kayak rentals allow visitors to see the beautiful Gulf of Mexico waters.

Sunset at Pass-a-Grille FL
Sunset at Pass-a-Grille FL

And like most US Gulf Coast destinations, sunsets are magnificent and amazing here. Make sure to celebrate a Pass-a-Grille sunset with a bell ringing at Paradise Grille at least once.

Where Is Pass-a-Grille Florida?

Located less than 45 minutes from Tampa and a two hour drive from Orlando airport, is the southernmost residential area of the coastal Tampa Bay Area. If you arrive by land, the palatial pink Don CeSar resort is your marker that you are almost there. Just another two miles south to downtown Pass-a-Grille and peace and solitude. If you arrive by water, well you are just a special pirate type of person and I appreciate that about you.

 

Day Trips From Pass-a-Grille FL

There are countless day trips close by when you are ready to explore more quaint US Gulf Coast towns and beautiful Florida Gulf Coast beaches. Sarasota, Naples, Captiva Island, and Indian Rocks Beach are easy day trips from Pass-a-Grille. Plan your Southwest Florida US Gulf Coast getaways with our guides:

Where to Stay in Pass-a-Grille

Coconut Inn was my choice Pass-a-Grille hotel because of its cozy, old Florida vibe and great location. The Inn’s attractive tropical decor and rooms are well maintained and comfortable. A member of Superior Small Lodging of Florida, Coconut Inn is located less than a block from the beach and a short walk to the few restaurants and bars. In fact, I counted 83 steps between the Coconut Inn office and the beach walkway.

Click here for best rates at Coconut Inn.

pool area at Coconut Inn in Pass-a-Grille
pool area at Coconut Inn in Pass-a-Grille

There are 11 rooms, ranging from studios for two people to a two-bedroom unit capable of housing six people. All rooms at Coconut Inn have full kitchens making it a convenient place for longer-term stays. The nearest Publix is only 2.5 miles away so it’s easy to stock up. Please see my video of our Coconut Inn room.

Studio room at the Coconut Inn Pass-a-Grille FL
Studio room at the Coconut Inn Pass-a-Grille FL
Coconut Inn Pass-a-Grille at night
Coconut Inn Pass-a-Grille at night

I absolutely loved the complimentary beach chairs, beach towels, free loaner beach cruiser bicycles, two free kayaks, and heated pool at Coconut Inn. When eating at Sea Critters, we saw two Coconut Inn bicycles parked outside and I was happy to know that other guests were using them.

Coconut Inn Pass-a-Grille beach cruiser bicycle
Coconut Inn Pass-a-Grille beach cruiser bicycle

The inn offers free parking for guests (very important when Pass-a-Grille is crowded). Next to the parking area, which is adjacent to the inn, are two swings, grilling station, corn hole game, and sitting areas. Fun place!

Where to Eat in Pass-a-Grille

Sea Critters Cafe is a local favorite Pass-a-Grille restaurant, right next to the bridge to Mud Key and the Vina Del Mar development. In fact, sit outside on the porch and you can practically touch the bridge. $3.50 margaritas for happy hour (until 6pm) are a big draw (and they are really good) but save room for dinner. The blackened grouper at Sea Critters is fantastic and the fish & chips are pretty good.

$3.50 margaritas at Sea Critters
$3.50 margaritas at Sea Critters

The Wharf Restaurant & Bar is next door to Sea Critters and the fish fry on Tuesday nights is a big hit. $8 for essentially all you can eat fried fish, with sides only on the first batch. The grouper at The Wharf was not as good as Sea Critters but the fish was better.

Gennaro’s is across the street from Sea Critters and The Wharf. The Hurricane, Paradise Grille, Brass Monkey, The Dewey Beach Bar and Grill, and Sea Horse are some local restaurants walking distance from Coconut Inn. Shadrack’s is the local dive bar.

What are your favorite things to do in Pass-a-Grille FL?

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