If you’re clawing at walls to escape isolation, then it’s time to pack your bags! You need a Florida staycation on Pass-A-Grille Beach in St Pete Beach, Florida.
Pass-A-Grille Beach is, what I like to call, a peninsula on a peninsula on a peninsula. It’s the tucked away, hidden treasure of Florida’s Gulf Coast. This cozy beach town is at the southern tip of St Pete Beach. You’ll find a sign midtown that reads “Welcome to St Pete Beach”, yet locals know the area only as Pass-A-Grille.
Before I provide a full recap on where to eat, drink, shop and sleep during COVID season, let’s review some history.
Pass-A-Grille Beach History
Pass-A-Grille’s history includes Native Americans, fishermen, and European explorers. According to legend, Pass-A-Grille derives it’s name from the French Passe aux Grilleurs. Excursionists began visiting Pass-A-Grille in 1857.
In 1886, Pass-A-Grille’s first homesteader settled in this iconic beach town. And by the turn of the Century, Pass-A-Grille had it’s first hotel and a ferry boat service from, what is now, Gulfport.
The town of Pass-A-Grille Beach was incorporated into the city of St. Pete Beach in 1957. In 1989, a section of Pass-A-Grille was declared a National Historic District.
Where to Stay
There are several accommodation options on Pass-A-Grille. Most offer a laid-back, sleepy beach vibe.
If you’re looking for luxury, book a room at the Don Cesar on the north side of town. Sandwiched between the main strip of St Pete Beach and Pass-A-Grille, the “pink palace” is a sight for sore eyes. The majestic building is an iconic landmark.
The Don Cesar offers top-notch amenities, including two pools, several restaurants (the Maritana Grille being a favorite of mine), beach cabanas, spa services, gift shops, jazz nights and more. They even have an ice cream shop!
If high-end luxury isn’t your thing, but comfy, cozy and convenient is, then book a room at the Coconut Inn in Pass-A-Grille. This boutique hotel is a local favorite. With 11 units, including a mix of studios, one bedrooms, and two bedrooms, there are room options for everyone. This quaint beach cottage property also has a pool and is only 150 steps from the beach!
My recent visit to Pass-A-Grille included a night at the Coconut Inn in Room 5 (the corner unit with a water view). What a treat! While the property is in the process of upgrading all mattresses to memory foam, and my room had not yet received the new bed, I slept like a baby.
Owner Maggie Caruso, and her staff, are going out of their way to keep people safe. Before the cleaning crew arrives, rooms are left empty with doors open for several hours. Maggie also invested in a sanitizer spray and sprays each room prior to a guest’s arrival. Upon check-in, guests are asked to dial the property phone number for contactless access to their rooms.
Upon entering my room, I noticed a little sign on the table that read “Welcome! This room has been sanitized for your safety.” I also found a green reusable shopping bag with an instruction sheet titled “Remote Housekeeping Services”. The instructions outlined the steps that the property is taking to create a safer experience for guests.
The property offers several amenities to guests, including beach chairs, umbrellas, bikes, pool noodles, beach towels and lots more! And if you need assistance planning your visit, Maggie and her Coconut Inn team are more than delighted to make local suggestions.
Note: The Boutique Hotel Collection on Pass-A-Grille was originally made up of three properties: Coconut Inn, Havana Inn, and Sabal Palms Inn. It is now solely comprised of the Coconut Inn. Still, check out the video created a few years ago which provides a glimpse into the beauty of the town.
View more Pass-A-Grille accommodations here:
My favorite place in the world to watch the sunset is on Pass-A-Grille Beach. Every sunset is a unique experience. It never gets old. But while most people head to Pass-A-Grille for the sunset, I find that the morning is my favorite time to take a walk on the beach. With the sun to the east, the colors of the sky and water are intensely blue and the beaches less crowded.
My advice? Sneak over to the jetty for breathtaking views and quieter beaches. The rocks out to the jetty are photo worthy – the perfect spot for a selfie or professional photoshoot. I had a bit of fun using my cell phone with timer.
Where to Eat & Drink
From casual to contemporary and budget-free to budget-conscious, Pass-A-Grille has it all! For a full list of places to eat in Pass-A-Grill, click here.
The following are a few of my favorites:
Maritana Grille at the Don Cesar
As mentioned, the Don Cesar sets the standard for luxury in the Tampa Bay region. The Maritana Grille is no exception. To view my full write-up of the Maritana Grill, click here.
For finer beach dining with local flavors, then The Dewey Beach Bar & Grill at the Berkley Beach Club gets my vote for top restaurant. While the menu offers everything from sandwiches and wings to grouper and Angus Bistro steak, the dishes are created with finesse and flavor. Chef Marty Blitz and Chef Tony Bruno go out of their way to offer unique dishes for every palate.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the soft-shell crab sandwich, salmon BLT, fried Brussels sprouts, cage free wings and, OF COURSE, any of their homemade desserts. YUM! And if you love a good cocktail, you can’t go wrong with the Old Fashioned.
Another fine dining option is Grace Restaurant. Owners Chef Marlin Kaplan and Lisa Masterson have been restaurateurs for more than 30 years, having owned 10 restaurants collectively, ranging from casual bistros to fine dining establishments. The duo work tirelessly to provide the residents and visitors alike a unique dining experience. And both have impressive resumes to boot. Together, they offer the very best local flavor presented in an inviting atmosphere designed with their own special flair.
The decor is also fun and whimsical with colorful umbrellas hanging overhead.
I asked my server, safely donned with a mask, who Grace was. I learned that Grace Restaurant isn’t named after anyone in particular, but rather the term “Grace” is a reference to the blessing before a meal. Food for thought!
Grace Restaurant offers an extensive menu with traditional American dishes elevated by local seasonal seafood fare. I recommend the duck, octopus, and scallops. And my wife recommends the burger, if you’re looking for something simple and delicious.
The Brass Monkey
As a born and raised Maryland girl, I give The Brass Monkey high marks for their crab cakes. And according to Google, nearly 1500 people agree!
This Pass-A-Grille sports pub is a local favorite. Whether you’re watching the game or looking for good grub, make sure to add this to your “places to eat” list when visiting the region.
The views from the balcony are also worth the visit and perfect for a sunset dinner. Who says wings and beer can’t be romantic?
Other menu favorites include the Blackened Tuna Wrap, Crab Pretzel, Fiesta Poppers, and Assawoman Breast sandwich. Yes, we realize the name is dirty, but the sandwich is messy and delicious, so it’s fitting.
The Hurricane Seafood Restaurant
While this is not a place I recommend for top-quality seafood, it’s still a must-visit place for drinks and a sunset view. Don’t get me wrong – the food is good. I really like their Peel & Eat Shrimp and the Fresh Grouper Po’Boy, although I’m not 100% convinced that it’s grouper. Still, it’s tasty.
The Hurricane may not be the first place I’d suggest for dining while in town, but the sunset views from the rooftop can’t be beat! The Hurricane also offers breakfast most days of the week. With everything going on, make sure to call ahead to make sure they’re open!
Added note: the restaurant is a big supporter of our LGBTQ community and hosts Sunday tea dances when life is operating like normal.
This is my breakfast place of choice! The Seahorse has a traditional American diner menu. If you’re craving pancakes, eggs, grits or an omelet, you’ve come to the right place. The selection is endless. I highly recommend the shrimp and grits.
In my opinion, Paradise Sweets has some of the best ice cream in the region. Locals flock to Pass-A-Grille on hot summer nights to get a scoop or two of one of two dozen flavors.
Paradise Sweets is also a favorite morning spot for coffee. I am a decaf girl and only good coffee shops can make a strong decaf coffee (an oxymoron, I realize). But this spot does decaf justice! And when they offered me an ice decaf packed with a non-caffeinated coffee flavor punch, I was tickled pink – OutCoast pink of course!
Plan Your Florida Staycation
Are you packing your bags yet? Why wait? We all need to get out of the house right now. So go ahead and make plans to spend a long weekend in one of the prettiest places on Florida’s Gulf Coast for a safe, socially isolated and serene getaway.
For more information on what to do and where to go during your Florida Staycation on Pass-A-Grille Beach, click here.
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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.