Shell Key

Shell Key Preserve - Overview

Shell Key Preserve was established in 2000 through a lease agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The 2000 Shell Key Preserve Management Plan was adopted in October 2000 by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and the FDEP. The lease agreement requires that the property be managed "only for the conservation and protection of natural and historical resources and for resource-based public outdoor activities and education which are compatible with the conservation and protection of these public lands."


This 1,800-acre Preserve includes one of the County's largest undeveloped barrier islands (Shell Key) as well as numerous mangrove islands and expansive seagrass beds. Shell Key has been designated as one of the State's most important areas for shorebird nesting and wintering. It also is an important area for recreation. A balance for both uses was established by restricting public use to the northern and southern ends of the island. A central core area for conservation is off-limits to the public. Boating, camping, and beach-going activities are permitted in public use areas of the Preserve.



General Information:
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• Camping by permit is allowed in the

southern “Public Use Area” only. Call

(727) 453-6900 or visit our website for more

• Campfires must be extinguished and the

site cleaned up before you leave.

• Bring your own sanitary facilities with

you; none are available on the island.



• Hiking is allowed on Shell Key except in

the “Bird Preservation Area,” which is

clearly posted.

• The “Beach Closed Area” within the “Bird

Preservation Area” extends to the waterline

and is denoted by pilings. Please do not

walk on the beach in this area.

• Two walk-throughs, which allow access

from the east side of Shell Key to the Gulf

side, are clearly marked.



• Respect the posted “Aquatic Use Zones,”

and obey all signs.

• Do not block navigational routes to the

shallow areas, especially in the “No

Anchoring Area” on the north end.

• Do not enter the “No Entry Zone” located

on the east side of Shell Key.

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If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at:

Pinellas County Environmental Lands Division

3620 Fletch Haven Drive

Tarpon Springs, FL 34688

phone: (727)-453-6900





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