Shell Key Management Plan 2007- boundaries and use zones.
Hey Jack…..I have been camping on shell island for over twenty years and know the waters good. The sandbar outside of bunces pass keeps growing and is not included in the maps of the area. Is this considered part of the park? I will be camping on this sandbar and am not sure if it is subject to park rules. Also, is sister key off limits to camping?
Sister Key is definitely off limits for camping – but the sandbar west of the preserve boundary outside Bunces Pass is fair game as far as I know. Since it is not within the preserve boundaries, it should not be subject to the rules in the Shell Key Management Plan. I have seen plenty of folks on that sandbar with dogs and booze. Of course, I can’t guarantee that Law enforcement will leave you alone. I would carry a printout of the preserve boundary map with me just in case. That sandbar is technically owned by the State of Florida – and not Pinellas County. So you would only be subject to the laws which govern unincorporated land in our state. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that a “leave-no-trace” ethic is always appreciated in any natural area.
Hope this helps.
Hi! How clear is the water there? Is there much sand?
Water clarity in our area varies greatly, but in general, they are not as clear as some other areas like the Florida keys. Even on a good day, your visibility near shore is not usually better than about 10 feet. As you head out into the gulf, the water clarity improves. I have seen a variety of conditions while scuba diving many miles out in the gulf – ranging from over 30 feet to almost no visibility at all. Sand, in particular, is not a cause of poor visibility because it sinks to the bottom quickly. The major cause of murky water in this area would be algae and plankton. As a result, the water clarity is usually best in the winter time when algae growth is at a minimum.
Hope this helps!
Are there any volunteer opportunities available on the island?
We are planning a cleanup later this summer and appreciate any and all help. We will post the event here and on our facebook page. You could also contact Tampa Baywatch to see if they have any events planned. As always, you are encouraged to pick up any trash from the island and post your efforts on social media to share 🙂
if you Kayak to shell key and want to walk around or snorkel, Can the kayaks be secured somewhere?
I suppose you could try to lock your kayak on to some mangroves, but I have never heard of anyone swiping a boat on Shell Key 🙂
Thanks for a great website. Can we get to the bird preservation area/idle wake speed ? From the map it isn’t very clear since the north area is restricted so trying to understand how we get on the inner side from north / pass a grille ? Thanks again
You are not allowed to access the bird preservation area at all. The best way to get to the inside of the island is from the south end by boat – or from the east by kayak.
I’m a first timer here. Where are some spots to launch a kayak from…..and how long is the paddle to get to some good shelling areas?
I usually go paddling over to Caledesi to go shelling since it is closer drive for me….but it sounds like the shelling is much better at shell key.
Thanks for any advice!!
A lot of people like to launch from the side of the Bayway at Tierra Verde. This spot on the side of the road is popular for day visitors. You can get all the way to Shell Key without entering any large boating channels.
Coming down the Intercoastal water way from the north what is the best way to get to north beach without running a ground this will be our first trip to shell key
You will be coming in through Pass-a-grille and there should be well marked channels all the way to the island. If you stay inside pass-a-grill, you can pretty much drive your boat right up to the island. If you go out of the pass into the gulf, there are sandbars to avoid. Here is a navigation page with maps and images to help. If you need any help navigating the intercoastal waterways to the north, please let me know. Have fun!
Where is the snorkeling areas and charter trips that may be
Here is a reply to an earlier post about snorkeling locations …
You might try one of the shuttle services (Shell Key Shuttle, Island Ferry, etc) to see if they offer any guided snorkeling trips.
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