Overnight Camping the South Public Use Area Only
Primitive camping is allowed only on the South Public Use area of Shell Key.
Camping Permits are required for any overnight activity on Shell Key. Permits can be obtained for free from the county.
Leave No Trace
We are required to remove absolutely all trace of our camp – including food, refuse and anything that came with us on our boat.
You must remove all trace of your campfire before you leave. This means removing (not burying) all the charred wood from the fire. Remember that you are not at a permanent campsite. You are in a nature preserve and are required to leave no trace at all.
Portable Toilets Required
The county requires all campers to bring a portable toilet for overnight activities. A simple DIY toilet can be made with a 5 gallon bucket, a trash bag and some sand. Place the trash bag in the bucket as a liner, put in a scoop of sand and use the toilet. When done, put another scoop of sand on top. Some people even bring some scented cat litter to use instead of sand.
No Pets or Alcohol
It doesn’t seem fair to leave the member of the family that would perhaps get the most joy out of island wilderness camping. However, pets are completely banned from the entire preserve including all of the aquatic boundaries. Read more about the pet ban. Alcohol is also forbidden within the preserve boundaries.