Questions & Comments

If you were unable to find what you were looking for on our website, please use the ‘Questions & Comments’ area located at the bottom of our articles to make your post. Since multiple people monitor the in-page discussions, your question is likely to be answered more quickly on those forums. Posting also lets other people to benefit from the information and discussion.

If your question is regarding a topic in an existing page or article, please post your question on that page.  For example of you have a question about boat navigation, post it on our page for Navigating a Boat around Shell Key.

If you don’t see an article pertaining to your question, you can post your question in the General Discussion board below…

If you need to contact us privately, you can email us here.

Questions and Comments

Article: Questions & Comments
90 comments on “Questions & Comments
  1. Carlton says:

    Lifetime Pinellas County resident, but never camped on Shell Key. I plan to camp Dec. 23rd. with grandson from Tenn. Please let me know if there’s any problem with launching a canoe from the north beach or picnic/fishing area at the north end of Mullet Key/Ft. DeSoto (parking there?) and paddling over to Shell Key.

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Carlton,

      You can’t leave your car at North Beach overnight. The only place in Ft. Desoto that you can legally leave your car overnight is at the Ft. Desoto Boat ramps. To avoid the busy channel, a lot of people also launch kayaks and canoes from the side of the road on the Tierra Verde Bayway. My preference would be to launch from the boat ramps and make a bee-line across the channel. From there, you can make it all the way to the island in safe shallow waters.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Steven says:

    Do you know how approximately far it is to paddle from the fort Desoto boat ramp to shell key?

  3. Mike says:

    I was wondering if there is any information on the coyote population on Shell Key or if any research has been done and is available about them.

    • Jack Coletti says:


      Pinellas County says they are conducting an impact study on the closing of the north pass. This study should include the effects of coyotes and other animals due to the new land bridge and should be completed later this year. Since sea turtles are currently the most impacted by the coyotes, you might contact the Blue Turtle Society – whose members are watching over the summer turtle nests. They are on the front line of impact regarding the land bridge and newly introduced animals.

  4. Jim says:

    I’ve seen it mentioned on the internet about the great snorkeling at shell key, but do not see anything mentioned on your website. Are you able to snorkel and is worth the time?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Jim,

      I love snorkeling around the island, but I would not characterize Shell Key as a particularly great snorkling location. Water clarity is hit & miss – and is usually better in the winter when there is less algae. The waters inside the island are almost always murky, but the gulf and pass sides are often clear. Most of the area is sandy bottom – so the sea critters are spread out and you have to cover a lot of area to find stuff.

  5. Hunter Jackson says:

    What do people do about showering? Do y’all bring your own, or go into town.. If going into town, where is the closest place?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Hunter,

      We usually bring one of those bag-showers available at camping stores or Walmart. If you leave them in the sun in the afternoon, they will remain warm for some time. You could get fancy and get one of those propane heated portable showers. I sometimes bathe in the Gulf with some of that salt water soap, but it is nice to have a freshwater rinse before hitting the sack. There are some showers at Ft. Desoto park and at the campgrounds, but going to the mainland is not something I would do while island camping.

  6. Desiree Vaughn says:

    Just an assumption, but wanted to make sure….you can fish off the island correct??

    Reservations for this evening on the preserve.

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Desiree,

      Yes, you can definitely fish off the island. If you are camping on the south end, I recommend anywhere on the Bunces Pass side. There is also a good spot with a deep channel on the inside of the southeast tip of the island. Good luck!

  7. Is there shade on the island?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Donald. I would not count on any natural shade. There are a few scattered trees on the south end – inluding some fairly thick upland mangroves but I would not count on them for shade. I always bring a big umbrella or a canopy of some kind. Hope this helps.

  8. Jenny says:

    I called they said they can take me but they r not allowed to drop me off. They have to bring me back. 🙁

  9. Jenny says:

    Hi jack we are here… Well almost.. Have a small problem. We think it’s a bit far to take the kayak from the boat dock to the beach. Do you know of anyone or any company that can take us towing our Kajeca and droping us off at the beach. We really want to make It out there to do some real camping. Or do you know wife a spot we can go to I the same area that is closer by Kayak or accesible by car. Please let me know we r here in St Petersburg driving around looking for help to get to shell key. Thanks

  10. Jen says:

    Hi Jack

    My 2 kids, husband and I, are planning a new years 2015 3 night camping trip to ShellKey.

    We have never been there so we are very excited and looking forward to this new adventure. Any special recommendations? Can we camp near the water/beach? and how is the beach area during this time of year? do we need water shoes? We are taking a tent and a small Propane Camp 2 burner Stove, plenty of water, and food. We are also taking a canoe. Are there any stores close by?

    Hope to hear back from you soon.

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Jen,

      What passes for “winter” around here is certainly the best time to camp. You will definitely want to camp near the beach – since that is where there are fewest sandspurs. Just make sure you do not camp too close to the water or you may find yourself swamped when the tide comes in. Water shoes are a good idea – but land shoes are critical due to the sandspurs. You will want to wear shoes most of the time on the island. There are no facilities of any kind on the island, so bring everything you need – including a toilet (which is technically required). A bucket with sand or kitty litter works fine. Since you will be on the south end of the island, I assume you will be launching from Tierra Verde or the Ft. Desoto Boat docks. The closest store would be the 7-11 on Tierra Verde. But you need to paddle to land and then drive to it. If possible, it would be best to bring all your supplies out on the first day. Hope this helps. Have fun and feel free to share some pics on our Facebook page. 🙂

  11. Chris says:

    I understand that dogs are not allowed on Shell Key and/or the surrounding shallow water bars. But, am I in violation of the law if I’m fishing the flats around Sister and Sawyer key with my dog in the boat?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Chris,

      You are *technically* in violation of the law if you have a dog anywhere within the preserve boundaries. That being said, the ONLY reason for the law is to protect nesting birds and turtles on Shell Key itself – during the summer months. There is no reason whatsoever to consider dogs in your boat a threat to the preserve. The law was written to be overly strict because, quite frankly, the county felt that people could not be trusted to use good judgement. Law enforcement knows this and is VERY unlikely to site you for having your dog in your boat if you are not near the island. Also, You are far less likely to see any law enforcement in the preserve during the winter months because 1) there are no nesting critters to protect – and 2) there are not enough people visiting the island in the winter to justify the cost of regular patrols. So, there’s no guarantee that you won’t get a ticket – but it’s enough to make an informed decision about whether to take Fido fishing with you.

  12. Heidi Bibey says:

    Are there bathrooms on Shell Key?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hello, Heidi. There are no facilities of any kind on Shell Key. If you are camping, you are required to bring a portable toilet. There are no defined rules for day visitors, but this would seem to fall under the auspices of the “leave no trace” ethic required of all visitors to the island. If anyone in your group wanders into the interior of the island to relieve themselves, they should dig a deep hole and leave no trace in the sand (a small hand trowel works great for this). Dig it deep enough that you don’t leave toilet paper tags sticking out of the surface. Just remember that your bathroom will be someone else’s nature walk a short while later 🙂

  13. Andrea says:

    Hello! We’re planning a short camping trip to Shell Island for September 18-20, 2015. And I’m reading that no campfires are permitted on these dates. Is a small BBQ device permitted with charcoal? I apologize if seems a silly question, but just want to know how we can cook on the island?

    Thanks, Andrea

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Andrea. Yes – You can definitely use a Charcoal Grill for cooking. You will be there at the very end of the nesting season – so you are unlikely to disturb turtle nests. You should be fine.

  14. vanessa says:

    needs to know if you have a newletter email.

  15. Sharon says:

    Hi Jack,
    When is the best time for an abundant amount of shells for collecting? I live in Florida and have wanted to visit Shell Key for some time now. Thank you

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Sharon,

      In general, I find that whole shell specimens are more plentiful in the winter. The reasons being that 1) there are fewer people on the beach looking for them and 2) the cold weather can cause greater mollusk mortality and 3) the winter storms tend to kick up a lot of new shells from Gulf bottom. Hope this helps 🙂

  16. Alix J says:

    Hi there
    We’re hoping to visit Shell Key in 2016 from the UK. Can you tell us whether there is a source of fresh water on the island, or do we need to being all our water with us?
    Also, which is the best month in spring to visit – we’re from the UK so are used to colder temperatures(!) – but we’d like to avoid the bad times for mosquitoes and no-see-ums. Thanks in advance for your help,

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Alix,

      There is no source of fresh water on the island – so you should definitely be prepared to bring plenty of it. This actually addresses part of your other concern about the mosquitoes. Since there is no fresh water, there are not really any mosquitoes to speak of. However, the no-see-ums are out in force in the summer time. You didn’t mention if you would be camping, but my favorite time to camp on the island is in February when it’s the coolest and the no-see-ums are not-to-be-seen (or felt). I, personally, am comfortable camping on the island from about October until May. By May, it can be hit or miss – with most nights being quite comfortable – but the swampy warm fronts are getting more frequent. A good shade canopy also becomes more important toward the end of spring.

      Please feel welcome to let us know how your trip is going – either here or on our Facebook page. Here’s wishing you a safe and fun journey!

  17. +2 says:

    Here is a blog post I wrote about Shell Key! Beautiful place. 🙂 Feel free to share.

  18. sima damijan says:

    hi, was looking for the nearest place to put a canoe in to get to shell key. Any suggestions?

  19. Lilene says:

    Hi Jack. Is there a time of the year that is best for finding sand dollars and other sea shells?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Lilene. Although there are shell on the island all year round, I believe winter has the most shells since there are more mollusks that die off in the colder weather.

  20. Todd says:

    Hi there,

    Just wanted to let you all know that the guide images on your boat navigation page are not showing correctly:

    They aren’t showing because the image url for each one is pointing to See the difference between the two:

    Remove “dev.” and they will show again 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Our Sponsors

Shell Key Store

Error: cache '/home4/n8g6a4g1/' is not a directory.

See More