Questions & Comments

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Questions and Comments

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

    Is snorkeling allowed on the island for kids?

  2. rowellcf says:

    Can I park at the boat ramp all day and overnight for maybe two nights, so I can paddle out to Shell Key for camping? How does this work? Do I have to purchase a permit for 6 months, just to do this one or two nights?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      The payment kiosk at the boat ramp should have an option for multiple days. If you do not have a trailer, make sure you park toward the back of the lot in the small spaces. You can get a ticket for parking in the trailer spots without a trailer.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  3. Sharon says:

    I have never been to Shell Key. Would this be a good place to do some shelling?

  4. Tara Johnson says:

    Planning to visit Shell Key at the end of July during our vacation. What type of fishing is permitted, and where is the best location so as to not disturb snorkelers?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Tara,

      I believe the best spot to fish would be the south end of the island at Bunces Pass. The water is deep in this area and I usually see people fishing along that coast. There is not usually a great deal of snorkling going on, so that should not be a problem.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  5. Ian says:

    It’s clear that campfires are banned at this time. Does this include grills for cooking?

    Very helpful site. Thanks!

  6. Beth says:

    I have a Service animal and want to make sure there is not a problem with it being on the island with me? Also, are you aloud to have a grill on the island?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Beth,

      Florida law gives you the right to access any public location, including Shell Key, with your service dog. There are no specific requirements to prove that your dog is a service animal, however, I would recommend having a copy of any training certificate on hand in case you are questioned by Law enforcement. The ‘leave no trace’ rules for the island would still apply – and you should be prepared to pick up any droppings just as you would elsewhere.

      You can definitely bring your grill and any other gear to the island.

      Hope this helps!

  7. Brett says:

    This past weekend I was with a small group that parked at Billy Stone’s and walked out onto Shell Key via the pathway to the inlet beach immediately north (across the road) from the restaurant. I also launched my inflatable kayak from the inlet beach.

    Immediately left and right of the pathway are no trespassing signs. Is the pathway an easement or did we trespass? Who posted the signs? If it’s not an easement, how are you supposed to get out there? Thanks.

  8. jason says:

    I’m interested in becoming a sponsor. I would love to talk to you about it.

  9. Nick says:

    Hi – great website for Shell Key info! Quick question – I will be traveling to Shell Key at the end of the month and plan to have some photos taken. In your opinion, what open-to-public part of the island is the most scenic? Is that location normally busy or quiet/low-key? Thanks in advance!

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Nick,

      My preference for the more scenic area of the island would be the south public use area. Particularly the estuary shallows on the inside of the island. This area is also generally less busy than the north end. The north end has views of Pass-A-Grille Beach and the neighborhoods on Tierra Verde – whereas the views from the south end of the island tend to have fewer signs of civilization.

      Hope this helps!

  10. Debbie says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful information. I’m planning on staying a night or two on shell key. I don’t have a kayak or boat though. I’ve looked through tons of the information and Q & A, but couldn’t be certain if there are any ferry’s or charter boats that drop off and pick up to the south public camping area. Would I need to rent a kayak and transport my tent, small cooler, etc in that, or can I hop on a boat that goes over at certain times a day?

  11. Veki says:

    Is spearfishing allowed near the island?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Veki,

      Yes, spearfishing is allowed within the preserve waters. You might not have a lot of visibility to work with, but there are no rules to stop you from trying.

      Hope this helps!

  12. Derek says:

    A buddy and I are coming from Indiana in a couple of weeks. One question: 1) Do we need to get our Kayaks registered to be able to use them around Shell Key?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Derek,

      You do not need to register a kayak in Florida – and (as long as you are not camping) there is no permit needed for you to explore the Shell Key Preserve. If you are camping, you just need to get a free online permit.

      Hope this helps. Have fun!

      • Derek says:

        Awesome, thanks! Yes, we already got our camping permit and are ready to go. One last question. Are there any companies that will rent you a kayak by the week?

  13. Alex Sanchez says:

    I fish shell key all of the time. I don’t own a boat, so without the land-bridge the key would be inaccessible to me. I fail to see the problem with foot traffic. I am a responsible angler, I only keep whats in slot and in season. I never leave trash and pickup all I walk by. Is there some sort of kick back that the ferry service pay to the preservation council? Whats the point in having this beautiful fishery if only accessible by a select few? Shell Key gets lost in the white noise of Fort Desoto, and I would prefer that dredging doesn’t happen. The reason the land bridge exist is mother natures response to all the other shady dealings in the name of tourist dollars, so if you “fix” your problem with foot traffic, what other problem are you going to open up. If you let her be she will fix herself, mother nature has proved this time and time again.

  14. Kim says:

    Hello! Wondering if Shell Key is only accessible by boat?

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Kim,

      Technically, the “island” is only allowed to be accessed by boat. Since the closure of the north pass, the island has connected to the mainland – so it is possible to access the north end directly from Tierra Verde – but you would need to break the rules by walking around the fence. Also, there is no public parking in that area, so you risk being towed if you leave your car there.

  15. Chrissy says:


    I would love an update to the Jedi Sign Trick. Did you implement new signage? What does it look like? Is it more effective? What resources did you use when designing?

    Thank you!

    • Jack Coletti says:

      The county commission praised the idea of better signage on the island – but unfortunately they never came up with the funds to make it happen. At this time, the signs are still the same ‘ol hideous designs.

  16. MD Boyle says:

    I was wondering if you are able to hold a wedding on the island there. Do you need a beach permit?? Any help would be appreciated.

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Marla,

      Yes, many people have had weddings on Shell Key. If you are staying overnight with over 50 people, you would need a special permit from the county. Otherwise, no permit would be required for a day event. As long as you stay within either the north or south public use areas, weddings are definitely permitted. As always, you should “leave no trace” and pack out everything that you pack in.


  17. Troy Schuerman says:

    I am curious if it is possible/ allowed to camp on the south side of bunces pass. “The sandbar” closest to the gulf

    • Jack Coletti says:

      I’m fairly certain that it’s not permitted to camp on that sandbar. That area is part of Ft. Desoto park – and there is no wilderness camping anywhere in the park – only civilized camping at the campgrounds.

  18. LuLu says:

    Hi Jack,

    I know for Month of November the winds average out at 15mph with gusts up to approx 20mph. How bad are the winds on the Island?? Should I be concerned camping/Canoeing for a few days. Any tips would be great!!

    Thank You

    • Jack Coletti says:

      Wind speed and vary greatly this time of year. I was out last weekend, and it was calm and beautiful. My advice is to check the prevailing wind direction and locate your camp accordingly. In my experience, the winds usually come from the NW to NE this time of year. A common pattern at this time of year is to see winds coming from the W/NW at sunset – and swinging around to the NE through the night.

  19. edgar says:

    hey im planing on camping there nov25 but i wnat to known if i need a special permit to park at the boat ramp or are there paying stations for over night parking thanks

  20. Walter says:

    How are the mosquitos on Shell Key Island during late Sept/early Oct. I am planning a group kayak and camp trip. Thanks for any good info.


    • Jack Coletti says:

      Hi Walter,

      I have almost never been bothered by mosquitoes on the island – most likely thanks to the lack of any standing fresh water in the area. On the other hand you may still encounter some no-see-ums (biting midges) on the island. They are usually more prevalent in late summer (july/august), but it is still warm enough that you may encounter some. A bug repellent with Deet should keep the no-see-ums at bay. Hope this helps!

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