Copyright. Barefoot Beachcombers Club.  All rights reserved

After an afternoon at the beach, we'll load up the buses at @ 5pm, stopping at North Beach first for any members there and ending at the marina to pick those up who ventured to Shell Key.  (There is a restroom at the marina where they can change.)  Then we will all head for dinner at the St. Pete Pier about 25 minutes away.  Directly on the Pier (which is a destination all by itself), you can choose from these restaurants:

Doc Fords Rum Bar & Grill they offer a seafood based menu which is quite extensive and are reasonably priced.

Fresco's Waterfront Bistro  Lots of seafood, but also pasta dishes, steaks and handhelds.

Teak  Located on the 4th floor at the end of the Pier, elevated casual dining.

Pier Teaki;  rooftop bar that overlooks the water.  A full service, high-end bar with light appetizer fare that you might be able to turn into dinner. 

Driftwood Cafe -; service sandwiches, pizza, breads, muffins & pastries with mochas, lattes, teas, and 20 flavors of shaved ice.

Spa Beach Bistro  No spa in sight, so no foot rub while you dine.  This is an outdoor cafe in the middle of the pier serving pizza, specialty fries, salads and desserts.

Or you can wander across the street, but no more than a couple of blocks from the Pier and find these spots:
Bella Brava They serve pizza and fine Italian meals.  Don't look at this menu if you are has pop up photos of the entrees!

Parkshore Grill A bit more upscale in menu and pricing

Stillwaters Tavern Dinner fare and 20 brews on tap

Tryst Gastro Lounge  Mediterranean fare; farm to table philosophy, prime beef sliders....the menu is making me very, very hungry.
We'll make sure that you have plenty of time for dinner and maybe even dessert, before we hop back onto our buses and head home.

2022 Beach Trips

The ferry to Shell Key is offering us a group discount from their regular fare of $35.40 ($30 + 18% tip).  The total cost will be $29.40 per person and we DO need to collect this in advance to make your ferry reservations.  You will be on the noon ferry to Shell Key, leaving the Key at @ 4:30, pulling into the marina by 5pm.  There is an extensive write up about Shell Key on the Pass-a-Grille trip page (June 2022) which we will not repeat here.  However, this is your best chance to travel to an uninhabited barrier island with white sand, warm water, and shells galore. Bring your own snorkeling gear if you want to snorkel.  The ride to the island is about twenty minutes and offers great chances to spot dolphins, sea turtles, sea birds and even manatees!  

The later departure accommodates those who wanted to go to Shell Key during our trip to Pass-a-Grille, but were foiled by an unannounced early closure of the vendor offering that ferry trip.  Shell Key to me, seems an area worth a little time shifting.  We've also been offered a group rate for the ferry. 

But first let's talk about Fort De Soto...

which has already earned a 2022 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award.  It’s a sad commentary that the early settlers could find no better use for this 1100+ acres of gorgeous land, with 7 miles of soft, white sand beachfront than putting up a fort on it.  But that’s what they did prior to the Civil War.  The upside of that decision is that the 5 keys that make up this area, Mullet Key (the v-shaped portion of the island), St. Christopher Key, St. Jean Key, Bonnie Fortune Key and Madeline Key are now all owned and maintained by Pinellas County.  We’re also fortunate that between 1933 and 1937, the Florida Public Health Service launched an aggressive mosquito eradication effort on Mullet Key that was successful. 

When we arrive at Fort De Soto, those who want to ferry to Shell Key will be dropped at the marina on Madeline Key, just inside the park entrance, to catch the noon ferry.  We'll continue to the southern end of the island which hosts the 1000' Gulf Pier, beach, Historic Fort and the concession stand.  At this location, you have the option of the beach, fishing from the Gulf Pier, bicycle and surrey rentals and taking a self-tour of the Historic Fort and Quarter Masters' Museum.  Download your map at 

Or.....the bus can drop you at the North Beach, a bit more secluded and known for being a great spot to collect sand dollars. If you snorkel out a bit from shore, you’re likely to find huge beds of live sand dollars in addition to the ones already on the beach.  North Beach is about a 30 minute walk from the Gulf Pier if you decide to come back to the Gulf pier area before the bus retrieves you.  The concession stand at North Beach will be open.


The park offers a wide variety of activities - hiking trails, bicycles, surreys, kayaks, paddle boards for you adventuresome types....and of course, the beach.

The one thing it doesn't have is a great restaurant.  The concession stand offers hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken & fish sandwiches, so this is a good trip to pack your lunch at home or swing by the Fresh Market deli before hopping on the bus.

We're finding that nothing is quite the same as it was pre-Covid, so we're going to deliberately change this one up a bit. On Monday, September 19, we’ll explore Fort De Soto, two of its beaches and Shell Key Island from 9:30am until 9:30pm 

To join us on this trip, if you are fully vaccinated prior to September 1st, print the reservation form (click on green button below) and mail it along with your check (made out to the BBC) for $28 per person to the address below. On September 4th*, we will conduct our lottery and you will be notified shortly thereafter of your seat confirmation or waitlist status.  * This means we will collect all of the mail from Safe Ship just before 2pm on Saturday, 9/3. 

Photo credit: ebyabe

**To open the printable versions, move your cursor to the left hand side of the blue or green button.  Your cursor will then turn into a hand.  Once it does, click on the button and the print version will open in a new window.

Copyright. Barefoot Beachcombers Club.  All rights reserved

Although the huge guns placed in the fort were never fired in defense of Tampa Bay, some of them remain for visitors to experience. 

Now to the fun part of Fort De Soto!

Sep 19

Fort De Soto Park and Shell Key
Oct 17-20
Fort Myers and vicinity
Nov 14*
Siesta Key Sand Sculpting Festival & Turtle Beach
Nov 14*

*SECOND Monday of the month

Dec 19
Shopping at Mazzaro's, St. Pete +? 

Rental costs:  2 chairs + 1 umbrella = $26.73 (single umbrella is $16.05, chairs are $8.02) tax included.

We will phone in a total count of chairs & umbrellas and they will be set up for you and waiting on the beach of your choice.  However, we are not collecting ahead for any beach equipment rental.

Single Kayak - $23 + tax for 1 hour; $40 + tax for 2 hours; available by the concession stand, as are

bicycles - $11 for one hour; additional hour is half price;   Beach surrey - $27 for one hour

Barefoot Beachcombers Club (‘BBC’ will also suffice)
333 Colony Blvd. #110
The Villages, FL 32162

You could instead hand your addressed envelope to a person at the counter at Safe Ship in Colony Plaza, saving you the stamp and ensure its timely arrival.

I/we would like to go to I/we would like to go to Fort De Soto Park with the BBC on September 19th.  Enclosed is my $28 check (pp). 

Print your name(s):   _______________________________________________________________________________________________

I/we wish to be on the bus with these friends (name up to four) ________________________________________________________________________________________________


I/we still have a credit with the BBC and I would like to use that credit. ________

I/we live in the Village of ________________________________

I/we will be fully vaccinated by September 5th _______________

During the trip, I can be reached at this phone number: ______________

I plan to stay at the beach by the Gulf Pier ____________ or the North Beach ___________.

I am interested in renting chairs & an umbrella.  I want __________ chairs and ________umbrella.
 (You can pay for them in cash, credit card or Apple Pay on the beach.)

I/we want to go to Shell Key and have added $29.40 per person to my trip check. ______________

(While the ferry reservation could be transferred to another person, it will be non-refundable.)

I/we are interested in fishing at Fort De Soto and would like more information._________________


Liability Waiver:  The BBC has a revised Liability Waiver specific to our club.  Even if you have signed a liability release form in the past for our club, we are asking that you sign the revised one. This will only need to be done one time; not every trip or annually.  Please click on link below, print and sign, and give the form to your bus leader on this trip. 

Before you click on the waiver, one of these is good for your lifetime.  PLEASE do NOT submit these for every trip!!!


Photo credit: