This trip is one of a kind… If you want to travel to an uninhabited barrier island with white sand, warm water, and shelling galore, our ferry to Shell Key from the Fort De Soto boat ramp is a great choice for you and your family! Our ferry boat operates daily in the spring and summer and nearly every day in the fall and winter. The ride to the island is about twenty minutes and offers great chances to spot dolphins, sea turtles, and even manatees! We also often spot sea birds on the ride to and from Shell Key aboard the green ferry boat.
Once on the island, Shell Key offers great shelling and swimming. Shell Key is also home to a large nature preserve, where nearly half of the island is blocked to allow the native seabirds a section of undisturbed beach. Come out and enjoy a beautiful day of fun in the sun!
For camping enthusiasts, we offer an overnight experience on Shell Key! All you need is your “camper” ferry ticket, a camping permit from Shell Key, and all your camping gear to have an epic night under the stars! This is an unbelievably unique opportunity to camp out on a secluded island.
Tampa Bay Ferry is family owned and operated since 1928. We are the only official ferry service to and from Egmont Key and Shell Key.
In the early 1990’s, the sandbar just south of Pass-a-Grille Beach known as Shell Island joined with it’s neighboring island to the south to form one contiguous island. In 2000, Pinellas County acquired a lease from the State of Florida to establish Shell Key (a.k.a. Shell Island) as a Wildlife Preserve and today, Shell Key is a pristine white sand strip of Florida paradise.
Begin and end your Shell Key adventure at historic Fort De Soto, a military outpost constructed during the Spanish American War, listed in the “National Register of Historic Places”, and Pinellas County’s largest park. Fort De Soto Park includes 1,136 acres of five interconnected islands.. Explore the fort that is still equipped with 12-inch rifled mortars and two British breech-loading 6-inch Armstrong rapid-fire guns. Fort De Soto has been rated the number one beach in the entire United States.