Coming in at just over 30 blocks long and one block wide, the bohemian village of Pass-A-Grille Beach is the southernmost of Pinellas County’s barrier beaches. It has a rich heritage dating back to the 1880s when Tampa cigar barons, homesteaders and lumber industry giants used the island as a weekend getaway. Today, Pass-A-Grille is an extension of St. Petersburg Beach and remains a popular spot for Tampa residents to escape after a long work-week. But with its laid-back vibe, proximity to the water and boundless activities, Pass-A-Grille is a place worth visiting for more than just a weekend.

So Near, Yet So Far – While downtown Tampa is just a few miles to the north, when you’re in Pass-A-Grille, it feels like you’re far away from city life. It’s a beach town with a much slower pace and friendly people who are full of suggestions on what to see and do here.

Inviting Waters – Rent a kayak to explore the bay, go deep sea fishing, cast a line off the Merry Pier, take a dolphin or sunset boat tour, or plant yourself on the beach for a few hours. You won’t be able to leave without spending time on or near the water.

No Hotels, Only Beach Cottages – You won’t find hundreds of hotel rooms here nor will you find any of the big hotel chains. Places to stay are modest and clean, and oftentimes offer a beach view. This is the real Florida, so soak it up!

8th Avenue – Most shops and restaurants on the island are clustered near 8th Avenue, making everything extra-convenient. Browse galleries featuring works by local artists, try on some fine jewelry, or look for a new swimsuit. Eateries here are casual with many specializing in seafood. If you’re in need of a coffee fix while on the beach, walk across the street to Paradise Sweets for a Pass-a-cino, a blended cold coffee drink made with very strong espresso and the customer’s choice of ice cream.

Sunsets – In 2010, Pass-A-Grille was named Sunset Capital of Florida. You’ll see why after experiencing one in person. If you want to sip on your favorite libation while watching the sun go down, find a seat at the Paradise Grill. A bell rings as the sun disappears over the horizon. So simple, yet very cool. You’ll get goosebumps.