Take a quick glance at Pass-A-Grille’s unspoiled Florida beachfront, expensive pleasure craft and high-end homes, and you might think a getaway to this hidden slice of heaven is out of your financial reach. Look a little deeper, however, and you’ll also notice smaller cottages, vintage homes that have been passed down and locals living in tinier, downsized apartments in order to score an affordable place to live near the water. All of this adds up to an incredible value for those travelers willing to search out affordable local experiences.
Activities: In addition to the expected paddleboarding rentals and ferry rides to nearby Shell Key Preserve, many of the best things to do in Pass-A-Grille are free. Shelling, fishing, frolicking in the surf and sunbathing are popular choices, along with dolphin and manatee watching or waiting around to see sunset. If you’re in the mood for a souvenir splurge, pop into the Evander Preston gallery in the historic district. A local artist, Preston produces his own line of modern jewelry along with other forms of art.
Appetites: If you find yourself needing to nosh, try stopping by for an ice cream at Paradise Sweets. A double scoop will sink you less than 5 bucks, and their front patio area has a number of the benches and Adirondack chairs that dot the main drag.
Breakfast lovers will want to catch the $6 buttermilk pancake plates at Paradise Grille, which boasts beachfront picnic tables with an unobstructed view of the waves.
If you are up for a splurge, head across the street to Hurricane. A seafood restaurant with three stories of old Florida flair, it has a rooftop bar with signature cocktails.
Bottom line: Whether you indulge in one of the abundant private vacation rentals for a week or simply make a day trip to Pass-A-Grille from another nearby destination, this sleepy little historic beach community provides an affordable respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life.