Park you car and forget about it for the duration! When everything you can imagine wanting is within .3 of a mile, who needs a car? Sitting as much as most of us do is like smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day, isn’t that the latest health warning designed to scare us into buying those standing desks?
Pass-a-Grille is often called one of Florida’s best kept secrets. With that powder soft white sand beach the west coast is known for, the Gulf of Mexico and the Boca Ciega Bay a block from one another, a quaint historic downtown with eclectic shops and restaurants, and people like us singing its praises we’re thinking it’s not much of a secret anymore. Our apologies to those who wish to keep it so.
Off the beaten path is another way Pass-a-Grille is often described, which makes it the perfect town for travelers. It’s close approximation to the helter-skelter, happy-go-lucky, honky-tonk touristy areas just north (for some reason ‘touristy’ seems to call up hyphenated descriptive words…) makes it just barely, but still very happily, off the beaten path.
No offense to St. Pete Beach: one of the best towns for bar hopping, and many mom-and-pops and independently owned places to stay with their own long list of charms and amenities. Read about two gems to the north of Pass-a-Grille, The Bungalows in Treasure Island and Sunset Inn in Sunset Beach.
Florida loves giving its towns names (ever heard of Couch, Florida? Mayo? Two Egg?) that make us pull out our phones and ask Google why, and Pass-a-Grille isn’t any different. No one seems to really know for sure, but it’s said the town is named after the French “grilleurs” who dried fish on its white sands. Thought to be the oldest resort town on this coast, Pass-a-Grille has more cool history than we have time to talk about here today, so click to read about the historied Pink Palace – the Don Cesar – the whale invasion, and more, at Visit Pass-a-Grille.
Now let’s go to the beach!
- PARK/WALK: We always advise you to park at your bungalow, mom-and-pop or B & B but if it’s not check-in time yet, Pass-a-Grille does have public parking along the beach front, with PayStations from 1st Avenue to 12th Avenue. Make note most other areas are permit only for residents, or no parking allowed. Parking is free along 8th Avenue, where most shops and restaurants are. For more information about parking, click here.
- GO/RINSE: Restrooms, outdoor showers, food concession and beach supply store at 10th Avenue.
- CROWD FACTOR: Depending on the time of year, you may have the beach to yourself. Weekends, holidays, and snowbird season bring more sun seekers.
- GUARDS: No.
- IMBIBE: No.
- BEST FRIEND: As of publication, we could not find if the proposed dog beach area, between 1st and 3rd avenues, has been voted into being.
- WE LOVE: The nostalgic, old-timey vacation vibe of this beach.
809 Gulf Way
St. Pete Beach (Historic Pass-a-Grille) FL 33706
Open Mon-Thurs 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri Sat 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Family owned and operated for over thirty years, with multi-level dining including a third level featuring 350-degree views of Pass-a-Grille and St. Pete Beach, and a pet-friendly first floor patio, The Hurricane checks all the boxes!
- VIBE: Friendly and laid back, with a bit of a party atmosphere upstairs (but not the spring-break kind, just welcoming and fun.)
- ARRIVE: By car or by foot. The Hurricane is located across the street from the beach.
- SIT: First floor outside deck or inside, second floor outside or in for a more upscale dining experience, or third floor rooftop bar with more limited dining options.
- SIP: Happy Hour is Monday through Friday 12-6 p.m.
- NOSH: We enjoyed their World Famous Fresh Grouper Sandwich and Mom’s 1945 Crab Cake Dinner. Choose from their varied menu with everything from sandwiches to gourmet dinner items.
- LISTEN: Live music in the rooftop bar, check their site for the schedule by clicking on their name above.
- WE LOVE: The sunsets watched from the rooftop!
1401 Gulf Way
St. Pete Beach (Historic Pass-a-Grille) FL 33706
You are in for a treat with this independently owned, recently renovated, fresh take on the traditional hotel experience. More of a boutique hotel with top-of-the-line amenities than a traditional Inn, this property offers bright and modern design well balanced with such extreme comfort that, when you do tear yourself away to leave, you will bring with you lovely memories and a strong desire to remodel your place!
- VIBE: Ultra clean and contemporary, beachy without being cliché-ish, every comfort provided. Shaded by palms with a welcoming center courtyard, you can gather with others or luxuriate in the peacefulness of your cheerful room.
- WALK: The beach is right across the street, the bay a block away. Inn on the Beach is located in a quiet, mostly residential area with shops and restaurants a five minute walk away.
- DECOR: Uber-updated with much attention to detail. Playful and colorful touches such as orange SMEG refrigerators in most rooms contrast with soothing neutrals of pale wood shelving and driftwood gray flooring.
- SLEEP: All rooms feature high quality mattresses, all-cotton bedding with Italian-finished sheets.
- EXTRAS: Deluxe complimentary continental breakfast served in the courtyard on Saturday and Sunday mornings, Wi-Fi, ceiling fans, full climate control, small coolers to carry your snacks and drinks to the beach, daily coffee service from a local coffee roaster. Free parking, use of beach towels, umbrellas, beach cruiser bikes and BBQ grill. Soaps, shampoo and lotions are natural ingredients and eco-friendly cleaning products are used. Partially used amenities are donated to Clean the World. Some rooms have full kitchens and others kitchenettes with Breville ovens (world’s most awarded compact oven.) Some rooms have private balconies and ocean views. Check the website by clicking their name above to choose the room perfect for your needs by scrolling through their beautiful photos with detailed lists of amenities and layouts for each room.
- RATES: Check the website for rates; at the time of publication rooms average $165-375 mid-summer, $245-450 in high season.
- WE LOVE: The upscale look coupled with homey welcome and comfort.
Enjoy our photo tour of many of the rooms: make note each room is refreshingly different.
And around the charming historic town:
Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, housed in what was the first church in Pass-a-Grille, built in 1917
Sea Horse Restaurant, originally a drive-in built in 1938, is still family owned and operated
We talk a lot about “walkable,” which neither my spell check nor my thesaurus recognizes. But isn’t the simple pleasure of abandoning your car for a few days immeasurable? The freedom of walking even short distances in a beautiful Florida beach town is best described by a poet –
“Now shall I walk or shall I ride?
‘Ride,’ Pleasure said
‘Walk,’ Joy replied.”
~ W.H. Davies
Florida is filled with such towns that inspire us – and enable us – to easily explore by foot, and Pass-a-Grille is one of our favorite examples. We’d love to hear yours! Please let us know your favorite Florida destination in the comments below.
Pass-a-Grille is considered part of St. Pete Beach, at the southernmost tip, on Florida’s Gulf coast, 31 miles south west of Tampa and 36 miles north of Sarasota.