A chill is in the air in the northeast USA, with autumn temperatures reaching down to the 40s. That means that winter is not that far away.
I don’t know about you, but with even colder weather on the horizon, I start to think like a snowbird, wanting to fly south during my life after 50 (and now after 60).
One of my favorite warmer spots to vacation between January and March is Pass-A-Grille, a quaint beach town on a barrier island on the southernmost end of St. Pete Beach, Florida.
Like its website says, “In Pass-A-Grille you separate yourself from daily stresses because you are in paradise.” There are no large high-rise hotels, except for the grand Don CeSar Hotel at the entrance to the town. Instead, you’ll find small inns lining the beachfront with views that are perfect for watching the sunset over the Gulf. You’ll also find Airbnb accommodations in the neighborhood that can accommodate families or even large multi-generational groups.
There’s a historic district where you can find restaurants, boutiques, fishing piers and an outdoor art market. Plus, if you want to venture into Downtown St. Pete for more activities, a daily trolley is ready to take you with stops along the way at various St. Pete beaches.
Ten Things to Do in Pass-A-Grille
There are many things to do in Pass-A-Grille and simple ways to have fun. Here are my recommendations on 10 ways to enjoy your time from morning to evening in this relaxing beach town:
1- Take a walk on the beach
The beach in Pass-a-Grille is long and narrow so you don’t have to walk far to the water. It’s lovely in the early morning or at sunset. There are a few benches near the walkways onto the beach.
2- Collect seashells by the seashore
Bring a pail and shovel or just a baggie when you walk the beach. You’ll find a wide selection of small shells and if you’re lucky you might even find a sand dollar.
3- Eat breakfast outdoors
Order coffee and an egg sandwich at the counter of Paradise Grille. Place your number on your table and the waiter will bring your breakfast when it’s ready. Then enjoy your meal while watching the waves roll in.
4- Stop by the outdoor art market
Right next to Paradise Grille, you’ll find local arts and crafts vendors selling their artwork. If you like sterling silver jewelry made with sea glass, pearls and semi-precious stone check out Gatherings By Angel. Her artisan jewelry is so pretty and quite reasonably priced.
5- Eat lunch outdoors at Seahorse Restaurant
Seahorse is a casual restaurant overlooking the bay that serves fish sandwiches, salads and burgers.
6- Go birdwatching by the Merry Pier
Take a seat at the Merry Pier after lunch or breakfast and watch the gulls perch near the fishermen. The visitor guidebook, made available at the pier, provides an overview of the different birds you can see. You can also rent fishing gear if you like to fish.
7- Get an afternoon treat
The ice cream at Paradise Sweets is yummy, especially in one of their waffle cones.
8- Shop on 8th Avenue
Said to be “The World’s Shortest Main Street.” the historic buildings on 8th Avenue house clothing boutiques and galleries displaying local artwork.
9- Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail
10- Did I say to watch the sunset?
There is nothing quite as beautiful as a Pass-a-Grille sunset. We stayed at the Inn on The Beach a few years ago. The view of the sunset from The Heron Room was absolutely amazing.
There’s more to do in the surrounding areas of St. Pete Beach and Downtown St. Pete. But Pass-A-Grille is a great place to stop, breathe and just be. If you’re looking for a lovely long-weekend get-away, I think you’ll like it.
What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?
- The weather is warm in the winter and it’s usually sunny. (Disclaimer: Yes, it can go down to the 40s at night in this part of Florida but it warms up during the day.)
- The beaches are long and narrow so you don’t have to walk far to get to the water.
- It’s good to have a car, but you don’t really need one on the island. You can walk most places or rent bicycles. And there’s a trolley to get into Downtown St. Pete and other St. Pete beaches. Uber is available.
- Pass-A-Grille is about 15-20 minutes from Downtown St. Pete by car, which has cultural things to do such as museums, good restaurants and more shopping.
- Caution: I know there have been recent issues with red tide in Florida this summer. I’m hopeful it will be all cleared up in time for the 2019 winter tourism season. If you are concerned about the red tide reported along the beaches, contact the local tourism board to find out about the situation before booking. Usually, the red tide dissipates in the winter months.
- Because there aren’t any large hotels on the island, make reservations in advance as the inns can fill up during the winter months. The Don CeSar Hotel is a luxury hotel if you do want to treat yourself. The Beach House Suites by the Don CeSar is another nearby alternative but they are not in Pass-a-Grille.
- Sometimes parking on the streets with meters can be challenging. Most inns provide parking spots but make sure and check when you are booking.
If you run out of things to see, do (and eat) in Pass-A-Grille, be sure to read the author’s article on Great Places to Eat in St. Pete, also on GettingOnTravel.
All photo credits: Judy Freedman
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